"DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets. Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather!
It's DS Logan McRae's first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn't get much worse. Four-year-old David Reid's body is discovered in a ditch, strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he's only the first. There's a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are baying for blood.
Soon the dead are piling up in the morgue almost as fast as the snow on the streets, and Logan knows time is running out. More children are going missing. More are going to die. And if Logan isn't careful, he could end up joining them..."
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"Aye? Shame. He was fucking tasty in his day. Quite the lady-killer.
But we couldn't prove it." - Detective Inspector Steel
There is a lot to like in Stuart MacBride’s police procedural, Cold Granite. To start with, the story is sprinkled with humorous lines like the one above, delivered by likeable, almost quirky, characters. Some moments actually made me laugh out loud, which I found surprising as I didn’t expect it to be filled with such dark humor. The author does a great job of balancing the humorous moments with the more serious, and quite gruesome, aspects of the main story.
Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, the MC, is also very likeable. I liked that he was human—sometimes he got things wrong and sometimes he got things right. He was also just a man trying to do his job. One thing I would have liked, though, was a little more insight into his personal life. We do get a backstory involving a case he worked prior to the events of Cold Granite, but I would have liked to learn more about his family, parents, friends (outside of the police force), etc. It would have been nice to have seen a bit of interaction with them. I think because of this, Logan initially felt like a bit of a void to me. But, of course, this changed as the story progressed. And I assume we’ll get more of this in later books of the series.
Another aspect of the story I liked was the setting. It takes place in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the city itself truly becomes like a secondary character. The author intertwines the city, the weather, the regional slang, etc. with the story, and makes it come alive.
The main mystery/crime was really well done. Some things I caught quickly and then had to wait for Logan to catch up, but the main part of the mystery kept me guessing until the very end. Just a word of warning that MacBride doesn't hold back when it comes to the horrifying aspects of the murders. There are minor descriptions of autopsies, and detailed descriptions of the children’s injuries, as well as other horrors endured by these poor kids. So just keep that in mind.
All in all, an extremely enjoyable read. Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals.
Final Rating: 4 stars