Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Cold Granite

Cold Granite: Stuart MacBride, July 17—30, 2013
My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

ColdGraniteStuart MacBride’s stunning debut novel Cold Granite propels DS Logan McRae into the detective hall of fame in no time at all.

McRae is a likeable protagonist with a genuine back story: allusions to his professional and personal life pre-novel make this clear. He is haunted by an injury sustained in a previous case and is burned from the breakdown of a relationship.

The star is presented as fundamentally human. He has hope, ambition and refreshing optimism when it’s warranted, despite his demons. He isn’t an alcoholic or a divorcee. He forms genuine opinions of people and situations, which evolve over time. He has highs and lows and no insanely outlandish eureka moments.

The supporting cast are an equally excellent bunch. Detective Inspectors Insch and Steel steal every scene they appear in, particularly the single-buttock-perching, sweetie-munching, ever-ranting Insch who brings colour with each appearance. Journalist Colin Miller, lawyer ‘Sid the Snake’ Moir-Faquarson, pathologist Isobel and WPC Jackie ‘Ball-Breaker’ Watson are other stand outs.

As the novel continues, the supporting cast also develop where lesser writers leave their extras to stagnate in the background. Interpersonal relationships between the factions also adjust as the story unfolds.

Onto the case, and the chilling, sometimes gruesome, abductions and mutilations of children are investigated by Aberdeen’s police force. A secondary investigation involves the knee-capping and dumping of an Edinburgh chancer. It’s incredibly well-plotted, with red herrings and misdirection all along the way. Instead of your run-of-the-mill “someone’s a serial killer” thread, there are genuine suspects who are counted in and counted out like some sort of judicial hokey-kokey which makes a genuinely interesting and often surprising read.

McBride’s writing style is excellent. With dry wit and enough black humour, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments both inside and outside of the dialogue – genuine audible guffaws. The Aberdeen McBride paints is authentic and consistent, with the weather becoming a de facto character and amusing running theme. The pace is also perfect, with no fillers yet always enough time to see the effects of various twists play out and think about what might happen next.

My only quibble is with the very last page. A surprise twist in the denouement was weak. It seemed unnecessary and added nothing to the plot, causing what would have been a perfectly acceptable closing scene to end with an anti-climax. It would have been better omitted, but takes nothing away from what preceded it.

In short, McRae is set up for a long and brilliant series in Aberdeen’s police HQ. MacBride’s story and patter are second to none, and he never misses a moment to develop his characters and plots. The only thing more inevitable than reading the next book, is not visiting Aberdeen ever again!

  • Thanks to Liz Bain for the recommendation.
Advertisements

4 comments on “Cold Granite

  1. Pingback: Looking Good Dead | Simon's Bookcase

  2. Pingback: The Blood Tree | Simon's Bookcase

  3. Pingback: Dying Light | Simon's Bookcase

  4. Pingback: Broken Skin | Simon's Bookcase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on July 30, 2013 by in 5 star, Logan McRae and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare