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Cold Granite (Logan McRae, Book 1)
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Cold Granite (Logan McRae, Book 1)

3.8 391
by Stuart MacBride

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Stuart MacBride’s Number One bestselling crime series opens with this award-winning debut. 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


Stuart MacBride’s Number One bestselling crime series opens with this award-winning debut. 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. Three-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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Cold Granite:‘Ferocious and funny, this is Tartan Noir at its best’ Val McDermid‘A riveting and gruesome debut’ Telegraph‘A gripping debut’ MirrorPraise for Stuart MacBride:‘Fierce, unflinching and shot through with the blackest of humour; this is crime fiction of the highest order’ Mark Billingham‘MacBride is a damned fine writer – no one does dark and gritty like him’ Peter James
Publishers Weekly
Relentless rain reflects the tormented mood that permeates MacBride's impressive debut set in Aberdeen, Scotland. Det. Sgt. Logan MacRae, back from a lengthy convalescence caused by a crazed suspect's knife attack, is plunged straightaway into the investigation of a brutally murdered child. To make matters worse, the victim's family learns of the death from a reporter before the police have a chance to inform them. Angered and embarrassed by the press leak, Logan, aided by WPC Jackie Watson, vows to expose the source within the precinct. Enter Colin Miller, flashy journalist, who befriends Logan, causing suspicious stares from Logan's superiors. More children go missing, and soon the populace of Aberdeen is screaming for blood. Further inciting the rabble, a notorious defense attorney earns acquittal for a habitual child molester. As a result, a hapless, ruined scholar-turned-street sweeper becomes a scapegoat for the chilling fear that grips the community. Logan must eliminate the distractions caused by the sensational publicity and summon his barely restored strength to anticipate the killer's next move. MacBride allows his characters their humanity, while weaving intriguing subplots in this edge-of-your-seat page-turner. Agent, Philip Patterson. (July 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
MacBride's debut is a tense police procedural/mystery set in Aberdeen, Scotland, amidst the cold and rain of a dark December. Det. Sgt. Logan McRae, recently recovered from a knife attack, is called on his first day back to investigate the killing of a three-year-old. Within days, the number of murdered or missing children in Aberdeen rises to five, and McRae and the Grampion police are scrambling to find the missing children and a serial killer. To make matters worse, the national press is focused on Aberdeen, and someone within the force is feeding a local reporter confidential information, with McRae high on the list of suspects. MacBride introduces a very likable and human protagonist whose past adventures are only hinted at in this book, leading us to hope that another McRae novel is in the works. A suspenseful and compelling mystery, this is strongly recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 3/1/05.]-Lisa O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Libs., Winnipeg Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
Logan McRae Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Two

It was pissing down outside. The rain battered against the blue plastic SOC tent's walls and roof, clattering in the confined space, fighting against the constant drone of the portable generators, making conversation impossible. Not that anyone was feeling particularly chatty at a quarter past midnight on a Monday morning.

Not with David Reid lying there. On the freezing ground.

At one end of the lopsided tent a four foot stretch of ditch was cordoned off with blue police tape. Dark, greasy water glinted in the spotlights. The rest of the tent was taken up by riverbank, the winter-yellow grass beaten flat and muddy underfoot.

It was crowded in here. There were four constables from Aberdeen's Identification Bureau, wearing white paper boiler suits: two covering everything with fingerprint powder and sticky tape; one taking photographs; and the fourth videoing the crime scene for posterity. Add to that one decidedly green-looking PC, the duty doctor, a detective sergeant who'd seen better days, and the guest of honour. Little David Brookline Reid. Three months short of his fourth birthday.

They'd had to drag him out of the cold, water-filled ditch before death could be declared. Not that there was any doubt about it. The poor little sod had been dead for a long time. He was lying on his back on a square of blue plastic, exposed for all the world to see, an X-Men T-shirt pulled up around his shoulders. He wasn't wearing anything else.

The camera flashed again, burning away all detail and colour, leaving an imprint on the retina that refused to go away.

Standing in the corner Detective Sergeant Logan McRae closed his eyes and tried to think what he was going to tell little David Reid's mother. Her son had been missing for three months. Three months of not knowing. Three months of hoping her child would turn up safe and sound. While all the time he'd been lying dead in a ditch.

Logan ran a hand over his tired face, feeling the stubble scritch beneath his fingers. Christ, he could kill for a cigarette. He wasn't even supposed to be here!

He pulled out his watch and groaned, his breath coming out in a plume of white fog. Fourteen hours since he'd reported for duty yesterday morning. So much for easing back into the swing of things.

A frigid gust of wind whipped into the tent, and Logan looked up to see a sodden figure hurry in out of the rain. The pathologist had arrived.

Dr Isobel MacAlister: thirty-three, bobbed hair, brunette, five foot four. Makes little mewing noises when the inside of her thigh is nibbled. She was dressed immaculately in a fitted grey trouser suit and black overcoat, the effect only slightly spoiled by a huge pair of Wellington boots flapping about up to her knees.

She cast a professional glance around the crowded tent, freezing when her eyes locked onto Logan. An uncertain smile flickered onto her face before sliding away. Not surprising considering how much of a state he must look. Unshaven, bags under the eyes, dark brown hair which was wild, unkempt and frizzy from the rain.

Isobel opened her mouth and closed it again.

Rain hammered on the tent's roof, the camera clacked and whined as the flash came back up to speed, the generators growled. But the silence was deafening.

It was the duty doctor who broke the spell. 'Aw shite!' He stood on one leg, shaking a waterlogged shoe.

Isobel put on her professional face.

'Has death been declared?' she asked, shouting to be heard over the din.

Logan sighed. The moment had passed.

The duty doctor stifled a yawn and pointed at the small, bloated corpse in the middle of the tent. 'Aye, he's dead all right.' He stuffed his hands deep in his pockets and gave a loud sniff. 'If y'want my opinion: he's been dead for a good wee whilie. Least two months.'

Isobel nodded and placed her medical bag on the groundsheet next to the body. 'You're probably right,' she said, squatting down and peering at the dead child.

The doctor rocked back and forth for a while, squelching in the mud, as Isobel snapped on a pair of latex gloves and started unpacking her instruments. 'Aye, well,' he said, 'give us a shout if you need anything, OK?'

Isobel promised she would and the duty doctor gave a small bow and excused himself, squeezing out past Logan into the rain-soaked night.

Logan looked down on the top of Isobel's head, thinking of all the things he'd planned to say the first time he saw her again. To make it all right again. To fix what fell apart the day Angus Robertson got sent down for thirty to life. But whenever Logan pictured this moment there wasn't a murdered three-year-old lying on the ground between them. It kind of put a damper on things.

So instead he said, 'Can you give me a time of death?'

She looked up from the decaying body and blushed slightly. 'Doc Wilson wasn't far off,' she said, not meeting his eyes.

'Two, maybe three months. I'll know better when I do the post mortem. You got an ID?'

'David Reid. He's three.' Logan sighed. 'Been on the Misper list since August.'

'Poor wee sod.' Isobel pulled a slim headset out of her bag, slipped it over her hair and checked that the microphone was working. She inserted a fresh tape into her Dictaphone and began her examination of little David Reid.

Half past one in the morning and there was still no sign of the rain letting up. DS Logan McRae stood in the lee of a twisted oak, using the tree as a windbreak, and watched as the photographer's flash filled the SOC tent with staccato lightning. Every time the flash went off, the figures within hurled silhouettes against the blue plastic like a grizzly shadow play.

Four high-powered spotlights sizzled in the torrential downpour, bathing the area around the tent with harsh white light while the generators chugged away in a haze of blue diesel smoke. Cold rain hissing on the hot metal. Outside that circle of light it was pitch black.

Two of the spotlights were trained on the ditch where it emerged from beneath the SOC tent. The late November rains had filled the ditch to overflowing and grim-faced police divers, dressed in dark-blue neoprene dry-suits, groped around in the waist-high water. A pair of bodies from the Identification Bureau were trying to swear a second tent into place over the divers, fighting a losing battle against the wind and rain as they tried to preserve any forensic evidence from the storm.

Less than eight feet away, the River Don surged past, silent, swollen and dark. Flecks of light danced across its surface: the spotlights reflecting back off the black water, their shapes shattering and reforming beneath the torrential rain. If there was one thing Aberdeen did properly, it was rain.

The river had already broken its banks in a dozen places upstream, flooding the surrounding countryside, turning fields into lakes. Down here it was less than a mile to the North Sea and the water was moving fast.

On the other side of the river the tower blocks of Hayton rose behind a screen of bare trees. Five featureless rectangles punctuated with cold-yellow lights, sheets of rain making them swim in and out of view. It was a horrible night.

A hastily cobbled-together search team was picking its way carefully along the riverbank by torchlight, working out in both directions, even though it was far too dark to find anything. It would look good on the morning news.

Sniffing, Logan dug his hands deeper into his pockets and turned to look up the hill, towards the blistering white television camera lights. They'd gathered not long after Logan had arrived, hungry for a glimpse of dead meat. To begin with it had just been the local press, shouting questions at anyone in a police uniform; then the big boys had arrived. The BBC and ITV, with their cameras and serious-faced presenters.

Grampian Police had issued the standard holding statement, which had been completely devoid of any detail whatsoever. So God only knew what they were finding to talk about up there.

Logan turned his back on them and watched the bobbing torches of the search party as they struggled along in the dark.

This shouldn't have been his case. Not on his first day back. But the rest of Aberdeen's CID were either off on a training course or off getting pissed at someone's retirement bash. There wasn't even a detective inspector on the scene! DI McPherson, who was supposed to be easing Logan back into the swing of things, was busy getting his head stitched back together after someone had tried to take it off with a kitchen knife. So here was Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, heading up a major murder enquiry and praying to God he didn't screw it up before he could hand it over to someone else. Welcome back.

The green-faced PC lurched out of the SOC tent and joined Logan under the twisted tree, squelching all the way. He looked like Logan felt. Only worse.

'Jesus.' The PC shivered and jammed a cigarette in his face as if it was the only thing keeping his head from unravelling. After a moment's thought he offered one to the DS standing next to him, but Logan declined.

The PC shrugged and fumbled a lighter out of the breast pocket of his uniform, setting the cigarette glowing like a hot coal in the darkness. 'Some fuckin' sight for your first day back, eh, sir?'

A plume of white smoke blossomed into the night and Logan took a deep breath, dragging it into his scarred lungs before the wind could whip it away.

'What's Iso . . .' He stopped himself. 'What's Dr MacAlister saying?'

The SOC tent flashed again, the shadow puppets caught in frozen motion.

'No much more than the duty doc, sir. Poor wee bastard was strangled with somethin'. She says the other stuff probably happened later.'

Logan closed his eyes and tried not to picture the child's swollen body.

'Aye.' The PC nodded wisely, the red-hot tip of his fag bobbing up and down in the darkness. 'At least he was dead when it happened. That's something to be grateful for.'

Copyright &169; 2005 by Stuart MacBride

Meet the Author

Stuart MacBride is the No.1 bestselling author of the DS Logan McRae series. His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 crime thriller awards. Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories. He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and cat, Grendel.

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Cold Granite 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 391 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't understand why some people are rating THIS BOOK 1 or 2 stars because they dont like Harriet's reviews. She didnt write this book so why ruin the real author's rep by blasting on Harriet.....A rate and review is for the author ... not another reviewer. If you dont like her reviews, simply skip them, dont take it out in the author ... geez people! So for the person (s) who rated this book a 1 based on a dislike of another reviewer ... here's my 5 ... read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read, and an author well worth following. I'm a great fan of this type of book and this style writing and I wasn't disappointed. I think you'll enjoy this book, go for it after all it's free!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, not in any way is it making child abusers look like heros, if people would actually read the book they would see that! Its about an investigation trying to capture the ones responsible for hurting children. Maybe people would read the book before they write reviews it wouldnt make the writer look like a perv, this book in no way does that
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book very disturbing and hard to take from Page 1. There were graphic descriptions of autopsies and horrible murders; nasty perpetrators; sickening scenes; and a lot of foul language. The scenes described in Scottish slang were hard to understand but I caught the gist. I guess I’ll need to avoid the UK murder stories. It had a large number of typos, and missing paragraph separations, so that the action ran together when there should have been a passing of time shown. It does have appeal if you like gore and disgusting murders.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book! Had several mysteries in it, not just the main serial murders!! Definately a must read!!
mensageek More than 1 year ago
This book was a Free Friday offering. What a pleasant surprise: good writing, captured my interest from the first several pages, interesting characters. This is a great marketing tool to introduce readers to an author. An insatiable reader, I read everyday, across many genres including history, biography, politics, science and research. Reading mysteries, particularly forensics and procedurals, provides sheer diversion from my stressful job and more serious reading. How delightful to find a new detective set in a city I've read about only infrequently. Imagine getting to learn new idioms (wheelie-bins), foods (butteries), geography (River Don) and weather patterns ("Don't lie to the poor constable: this is Aberdeen...it never stops f*****' raining.") and all for free! I will gladly pay for the next Logan McRae book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 40 pages in and am very frustrated because of all the acronyms the author assumes we know. I have given up and for the most part guess or just don't bother as it is usually just a police officers rank or type of command center they had set up so it does not affect story line too bad in my opinion. Just would be nice to see proper procedures followed where an acronym is explained fully first before using in its shortened form. Oh well....still enjoying the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kimk1999 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. This was my first nook book. I'm hooked. The characters are developed nicely. Great scene detail. Only problems are the differences between American terms for things vs. English Terms. For the most part I knew most of the slag words, but there are a few I didn't know. I would recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to follow. Too much trivial detail. Very slow read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay, but not really my type. I would reccomened it, and it has a good vocabulary and plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book and highly recommmend to anyone who likes murder mysteries. The main character is very likeable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i still have not finished this book--i'm finding it difficult to read--doesn't hold my interest--i will finish it eventually because i would like to know who dit it but it's not an enjoyable read
McDr More than 1 year ago
Excellent book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not really my genre, but it was a interesting enough read. Serial killers and such. Good beach reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a little to graphic for me. The description of some of the murders was a little disturbing, one autopsy made me want to throw up, but if you could get past them you would enjoy the book. All in all it was a decent story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read but not for those with a low gag threshold. Not just a whodunit but a whodunwhattowhom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading both this book and Dying Light (Book 2), I've decided on a five-star rating (usually I don't rate anything at the top level). Beware, MacBride's gritty, but humorous, prose includes much swearing and vulgarity among both men and women of the Aberdeen police. However, rather than sounding gratuitous, it comes across as realistic. Beware, also, that his descriptions of victims and their autopsies are also realistic. His character development is seamless, without long, tedious descriptions. Although I'm not accustomed to the Scottish idiom and vernacular, in most cases it was easy enough to figure out what was being said. All in all, a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got cold reading this. Between the weather in the story and subject matter its a chilling combo. Very interesting and didn't expect the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy police procedurals and English mysteries. Fans of Elizabeth George's novels will probably enjoy it. It can be a bit graphic in places but no more than Patricia Cornwell's books. I will defiinately read more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love legal thrillers, suspense, etc. It took me a while to get into this book, though, because of it being written by a Scottish author. However, once I got used to the language being written, I really got into the book. The author takes the book in a million different directions looking for the person responsible for the missing children, making the reader believe that it could be anyone, before he brings it all together with a wonderful climax in the last few chapters. He even adds one final surprise at the end. What stared out as a hard read, one that I almost gave up on, turned into one hell of a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although storyline was interesting, I grew tired of the foul language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a pretty awesome book. Trust me, you won't get bored reading this one. It had a very interesting plot, some crazy characters, and once you start getting into the story (especially in the end), you won't be able to put the book down. P.S. not suitable for youngsters, this is more of a mature read, due to language, graphic scenes, and violence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago