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.
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.
From the Publisher
“[An] edge-of-your-seat page-turner [and] impressive debut...MacBride allows his characters their humanity, while weaving intriguing subplots.” Publishers Weekly
“Macabre...MacBride's impressive first outing has plenty of atmosphere, subversive humor, and a sinuous plot reminiscent of fellow countryman Ian Rankin.” Booklist (starred review)
“Stuart MacBride is most likely to be compared to Ian Rankin, but this unbelievably assured and accomplished police story aims even higher.” Flint Journal
“McRae is an interesting and subtle detective, and his investigation is both inventive and imaginative.” Dallas Morning News
“Newcomer Stuart MacBride joins an illustrious roster of Scottish crime writers…by tangling together a half-dozen competing plot lines, MacBride keeps readers off-balance, even those who think they can see the tripwires.” Houston Chronicle
“Cold Granite is never as dark and dangerous as the work of Mina and Rankin…a solid police procedural…no sooner is one crime solved than another comes up to keep you turning the pages, and through it all, the police procedural gains a warmth and camaraderie that tougher and more cynical novels lack.” Rocky Mountain News
“Logan--a troubled man but blessedly not a suicidal booze hound like other Scots coppers of recent and current memory--does his job with skill and humanity.” Chicago Tribune
“The book's grim setting, plus the gallows humor, mordant introspection…draw inevitable comparisons to talented Scotsman, Ian Rankin. But MacBride has some neatly distinctive touches, not least among them hefty does of Aberdonian dialect and that wonderfully foul weather.” Seattle Times
“MacBride's debut is a tense police procedural/mystery set in Aberdeen, Scotland…MacBride introduces a very likeable 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.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Cold Granite is a powerful reminder that the best contemporary crime fiction is coming out of Scotland. Ferocious and funny, this is Tartan Noir at its best.” Rocky Mountain News
“Atmosphere, dazzling, and completely compelling, Cold Granite marks the debut of an amazing new voice in crime fiction. Scotland's Stuart MacBride is one of the best writers to come out of the UK in a long time.” Deborah Crombie, author of In a Dark House
Read an Excerpt
I was pissing down outside. The rain battered against the blue plastic SO C 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 cornerDetective 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.
Copyright 2005 by Stuart MacBride