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Dying Light (Logan McRae Series #2)

Dying Light (Logan McRae Series #2)

4.2 75
by Stuart MacBride

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With this follow-up to Cold Granite, deemed an "impressive debut" by Publishers Weekly, Stuart MacBride proves himself to be a rising star of crime fiction—and in Dying Light, the action is more explosive than ever…

On the coast of Scotland, in the "Granite City" of Aberdeen, Detective Sergeant


With this follow-up to Cold Granite, deemed an "impressive debut" by Publishers Weekly, Stuart MacBride proves himself to be a rising star of crime fiction—and in Dying Light, the action is more explosive than ever…

On the coast of Scotland, in the "Granite City" of Aberdeen, Detective Sergeant Logan McRae is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Bumped to the homicide department's "Screw-up Squad" after a sting operation gone wrong, Logan will do anything to prove that he doesn't belong there…even if it means working overtime on two baffling cases: a fatal act of arson in a squatter's apartment and the murder of a prostitute in the city's notorious red-light district.

But when it rains in Aberdeen, it pours—and soon Logan is up to his neck in danger. Turns out the two cases might have something dangerously in common. Now, enlisting the help of his former D.I., his forensic-pathologist ex-girlfriend, and his fellow "no-hopers" on the squad, Logan is charged not only with solving a series of vicious crimes but saving his own life—and reputation—in the process.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Well-written…savage, darkly comic.” —Publishers Weekly

“Inventive and imaginative.” —Dallas Morning News

“Riveting.” —Booklist (Starred Review)

Publishers Weekly
In this savage, darkly comic second American outing for the newest member of the "Scottish noir" school, the action begins with a particularly gruesome crime: a madman has sealed up a squatter's apartment and set it-and the six people partying inside-afire. That same evening, a prostitute is found beaten to death, and Det. Sgt. Logan MacRae, the ambitious star of Cold Granite (2005), is on the case. But his star has fallen; after a botched raid, MacRae has been demoted to the "Screw-Up Squad," led with a droll lack of enthusiasm by one Inspector Steel. Several characters from Cold Granite reappear, but newcomers won't have any trouble parsing this thriller, though some may be unsettled by the jarring but witty contrast between MacBride's wry tone and the story's brutal violence. The city of Aberdeen figures as one of this well-written novel's main characters, a portrait that will warn readers away from its mean streets. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Detective Sergeant Logan MacRae, held responsible for the fatal shooting of a young constable when a planned raid goes wrong, is assigned to the "Screw-Up" squad. Soon the Aberdeen police are hip deep in a series of brutal murders and a fatal arson case. MacRae juggles both investigations as he works with his old and new squads. Tough, gritty, and dark as only a Scottish crime novel can be, MacBride's follow-up to his debut, Cold Granite (which has been shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers's inaugural Best First Novel award), offers a twist ending that leaves the reader gasping. MacBride joins Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, David Lawrence, and Stephen Booth in elevating the British police procedural to the highest levels of quality. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 4/1/06.] Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A beset Detective Sergeant in Aberdeen finds it's always darker before it turns Stygian. By all accounts, Logan MacRae (Cold Granite, 2005) is a good cop. Well, by almost all accounts. Detective Inspector Napier, who hated Logan at first sight, continues to envy and resent him. When a sting operation goes wrong, Napier banishes MacRae to Detective Inspector Roberta Steel's aptly named "Screw-up Squad." DI Steel-large, loud and colorfully opinionated, a female counterpart of DCI Andy Dalziel, the English bull in Reginald Hill's China shop-is investigating the murder of that well-known Aberdeen lady of the evening, Rosie Williams. In short order, two of Rosie's colleagues are beaten to death and then mutilated by someone who clearly wants to send a message. But what sort of message? Inspector Steele may be fat and frumpy, with hair "that something terrible had happened to," but nobody ever said she wasn't cunning. Is she dealing with a sociopathic serial killer, or someone out to grab headlines? Seeing her own chance for some profitable ink, she plans to wind up the newbie and exploit the daylights out of him. Funny, occasionally brutal and surprisingly poignant. Though it's certainly overlong for a police procedural, the raffish cast of often inept coppers (think Scottish Keystone) will keep you along for the ride.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Logan McRae Series , #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.67(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The street was dark as they entered the boarded-up building: scruffy wee shites in their tatty jeans and hooded tops. Three men and two women, nearly identical with their long hair, pierced ears, pierced noses and pierced God knew what else. Everything about them screamed 'Kill Me!'

He smiled. They would be screaming soon enough.

The squat was halfway down a terrace of abandoned two-storey buildings—dirty granite walls barely lit by the dull streetlights, windows covered with thick plywood. Except for one on the upper floor, where a thin, sick-looking light oozed out through the dirty glass, accompanied by thumping dance music. The rest of the street was deserted, abandoned, condemned like its inhabitants, not a soul to be seen. No one about to watch him work.

Half past eleven and the music got even louder; a pounding rhythm that would easily cover any noise he made. He worked his way around the doorframe, twisting the screwdriver in time with the beat, then stepped back to admire his handiwork—three-inch galvanized woodscrews all the way round the door, holding it solid against the frame, making sure it stayed irrevocably shut. A grin split his face. This would be good. This would be the best one yet.

He slipped the screwdriver back into his pocket, pausing for a moment to stroke the cold, hard shaft. He was hard too, the front of his trousers bulging with barely concealed joy. He always loved this bit, just before the fire started, when everything was in place, when there was no way for them to escape. When death was on its way.

Quietly he pulled three glass bottles and a green plastic petrol can from the holdall at his feet. He spent a happy minute unscrewing the bottles' caps, filling them with petrol and popping the torn rag fuses in place. Then it was back to the screwed-shut front door. Lever open the letter box. Empty the petrol can through the slot, listening to the liquid splash on the bare, wooden floorboards, just audible through the pounding music. A trickle seeped out under the door, dribbling down the front step to form a little pool of hydrocarbons. Perfection.

He closed his eyes, said a little prayer, and dropped a lit match into the puddle at his feet. Whooooomp. Blue flame fringed with yellow raced under the door, into the house. Pause, two, three, four: just long enough for the blaze to get going. Throw a half brick in through the upstairs window, shattering the glass, letting the throbbing music out. Startled swearing from inside. And then the first petrol bomb went in. It hit the floor and exploded, showering the room with burning fuel. The swearing became screaming. He grinned and hurled the remaining bottles into the blaze.

Then it was back to the other side of the road, to lurk in the shadows and watch them burn. Biting his lip, he pulled his erection free. If he was quick he could come and go before anyone arrived.

He needn't have hurried. It was fifteen minutes before anyone raised the alarm and another twelve before the fire brigade turned up.

By then everyone was dead.


rosie williams died the way she'd lived: ugly. Lying on her back in the cobbled alley, staring up at the orange-grey night sky, the drizzle making her skin sparkle, gently washing the dark red blood from her face. Naked as the day she was born.

PC Jacobs and WPC Buchan were first on the scene. Jacobs nervously shifting from foot to foot on the slick cobbled road, Buchan just swearing. 'Bastard.' She stared down at the pale, broken body. 'So much for a quiet shift!' Dead bodies meant paperwork. A small smile crept onto her face. Dead bodies also meant overtime and Christ knew she could do with some of that.

'I'll call for backup?' PC Steve Jacobs fumbled for his radio and called Control, letting them know the anonymous tip-off was for real.

'Hud oan a mintie,' said Control in broad Aberdonian. There was a pause filled with static and then, 'You're goin' ta have ta hold the fort oan yer own for a bit. Everyone's off at this bloody fire. I'll get ye a DI soon as one 'comes available.'

'What?' Buchan grabbed the radio off Jacobs, even though it was still attached to his shoulder, dragging him off balance. 'What do you mean, "as soon as one becomes a-bloody-vailable"? This is murder! Not some sodding fire! How the hell does a fire take precedence over—'

The voice of Control cut her off. 'Listen up,' it said, 'I dinna care what problems you've got at home: you bloody well leave them there. You'll do as you're damn well told and secure the crime scene till I can get a DI to you. And if it takes all bloody night that's how long you wait: understood?'

Buchan went furious scarlet, before spitting out the words, 'Yes, Sergeant.'

'Right.' And the radio went dead.

Buchan started swearing again. How the hell were they supposed to protect a crime scene with no IB team? It was raining for God's sake; all the forensic evidence would be getting washed away! And where the hell were CID? This was supposed to be a murder enquiry—they didn't even have an SIO!

She grabbed PC Jacobs. 'You want a job?'

He frowned, suspicious. 'What kind of job?'

'We need a Senior Investigating Officer. Your "mate" lives around here doesn't he? Mr Police Bloody Hero?'

Jacobs admitted that yes, he did.

'Right, go wake the bastard up. Let him deal with it.'

wpc watson had the nastiest collection of bras and pants that Logan had ever seen. All of her underwear looked like it had been designed by World War One zeppelin manufacturers on an off day—uniform baggy-grey. Not that he got to see a lot of Jackie's underwear these days, but for a brief spell their shifts were in synch. Logan smiled sleepily and rolled over, the light from the hallway spilling through the open door, illuminating the rumpled bed.

He squinted at the alarm clock: almost two. Still another five hours before he had to report for work and yet another bollocking. Five whole hours.

Click, the light in the hall died. A soft silhouette filled the doorway, having a bit of a scratch as it scuffed its way back into bed. WPC Jackie Watson wrapped her unbroken arm around Logan's chest and settled her head against his shoulder, unfortunately sticking the curly ends of her hair up his nose and into his mouth. Discreetly spitting them out, he kissed the top of her head, feeling the cool length of her body pressed against him. She ran a finger over the inch-long trails of scar tissue that crisscrossed his torso and Logan thought: maybe five hours wasn't so long after all . . .

Things were just getting interesting when the doorbell went.

'Damn it,' mumbled Logan.

'Ignore it, probably just drunks.' The doorbell rang again, more insistent this time. As if the sod on the other end was trying to drill his way into the building with his thumb.

'Bugger off!' Logan shouted into the darkness, causing Jackie to dissolve into a fit of the giggles, but it didn't deter the phantom ringer. Then Logan's mobile phone joined in the noisy pre-dawn chorus. 'Oh for God's sake!' He rolled off, provoking a groan of displeasure, and grabbed the phone from his bedside cabinet. 'WHAT?'

'Hello, sir? DS McRae?' PC Steve Jacobs: the Fabled Naked Swordsman of Old Aberdeen.

Logan let his head slump, face first, into the pillow, still holding the phone to his ear. 'What can I do for you, Constable?' he asked, thinking that this had better be damned important if it was going to distract him from a naked WPC Watson.

'Er . . . sir . . . We've kinda got a body . . . an—'

'I'm not on duty.'

WPC Watson made a noise that said, yes he bloody well was, but not one that concerned Grampian Police.

'Aye, but everyone else is off at some fire and we've no SIO, or IB or anything!'

Logan swore into the pillow. 'OK,' he said at last. 'Where are you?'

The doorbell went again.

'Er . . . that was me . . .'

Sodding hell.

Logan grunted his way out of bed and into some clothes, before lurching out of his flat, down the stairs and out the main door, looking rumpled and unshaven. PC Steve, infamous for his striptease rendition of Queen's A Kind of Magic, was standing on the top step.

'Sorry, sir,' he said, looking sheepish. 'Across the road: naked woman. Looks like she's been battered to death . . .' And any thoughts Logan had of having fun in the wee small hours disappeared.

at quarter past two on a Tuesday morning the harbour was pretty much deserted. The grey granite buildings looked unnatural and jaundiced in the streetlights, their edges blurred by the drizzle. A huge supply vessel, painted luminous orange, was tied up at the bottom of Marischal Street, its lights bright haloes as Logan and PC Jacobs made their way round the corner to Shore Lane. It was a narrow one-way street at the heart of Aberdeen's red light district: one side a five-storey wall of dirty granite and darkened windows, the other a collection of random-sized buildings. Even at this time of night, the smell was something special. Three days of torrential rain followed by a week of blazing sunshine had left the sewers full of drowned rats, rotting fragrantly. There were sodium lights bolted to the buildings, but most of them were buggered, leaving small islands of yellowed light in a sea of darkness. The cobbles were slick beneath their feet as PC Steve led Logan to a dark pool halfway down, where a WPC crouched over something white sprawled across the lane. The body.

The WPC stood at the sound of their approach, shining her torch full in their faces. 'Oh,' she said, without enthusiasm. 'It's you.' Stepping back, she played her spotlight over the naked corpse.

It was a woman, her face battered and broken, one eye swollen nearly closed, the nose mashed flat, broken cheekbone, broken jaw, missing teeth. She wore a necklace of dark red bruises and nothing else.

She was no spring chicken: the thick white flesh of her thighs rippled with cottage-cheese cellulite; stretch marks making sand dune ripples across her stomach; and in between, short rough stubble: long overdue for another homemade Brazilian wax. A rose and a bleeding dagger were emblazoned on the milk-bottle skin just above her left breast, the tattooed blood refusing to wash away in the rain.

'Jesus, Rosie,' said Logan, dropping to one knee on the cold, wet cobbled street so he could get a better look at her. 'Who the hell did this to you?'

'You know her?' This from the unfriendly-looking WPC. 'You one of her regulars?'

Logan ignored her. 'Rosie Williams. Been working the streets down here for as long as I can remember. God knows how many times she's been done for soliciting.' He reached forward and felt for a pulse on her neck.

'Believe it or not, we already did that,' said the WPC. 'Dead as a doornail.'

The drizzling rain muffled the sound of drunken voices singing and shouting somewhere back along the docks. Logan stood, looking up and down the alley. 'IB? PF? Duty doctor?'

The WPC snorted. 'You must be bloody joking. They're all sodding about at that fire. Much more important than some poor cow who got battered to death.' She folded her arms. 'Wouldn't even send us a proper SIO, so we had to make do with you.'

Logan gritted his teeth. 'You got something to say, Constable?' He stepped close enough to smell the stale cigarette smoke on her breath. She stared back at him, her face a thin line of displeasure.

'How's PC Maitland?' she asked, her voice as cold as the corpse at their feet. 'Still alive?'

Logan bit back the reply. He was her senior officer; he had a responsibility to behave like a grown-up. But what he really wanted to do was find one of those greasy, rotting, bloated rats and shove it right up her—

Shouts sounded from the other end of the alley, where it connected with Regent Quay. Three men staggered round the corner, lurching into one another, fumbling with their trousers, laughing as streams of steaming urine splashed against the alley walls. Logan turned back to the smug, defiant WPC. 'Constable,' he said with a thin smile, 'you're supposed to be securing the crime scene. So why can I see three men pissing all over it?'

For a moment it looked as if she was going to answer back, then she stormed off up the alley, shouting 'Hoy! You! What the bloody hell do you think you're playing at?'

That left Logan and PC Steve with the battered remains of Rosie Williams. Logan dragged out his mobile phone and called Control, asking for an update on the duty doctor, Identification Bureau, pathologist, Procurator Fiscal and the rest of the circus that was meant to roll up whenever a suspicious death was discovered. No joy: everyone was still tied up at the big fire in Northfield, but DI McPherson would be with them as soon as possible. In the meantime Logan was to stay where he was and try not to get anyone else killed.

Copyright © 2006 by Stuart MacBride. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

STUART MACBRIDE is the author of Cold Granite, which won a Barry Award and was short-listed for the International Thriller Writers's Award for best first novel. He lives with his wife in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Dying Light 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MacBride has created a dark and violent fictionsl version of Aberdeen Scotland. His relentless police detective is deluged by murder after murder and McBride spares no detail of the brutality if these crimes...McBride's books are the most violent I have read. NOT light entertainment, but a "no holds barred" world of cold blooded criminals hunted by a tireless investigator, backed up by a girlfriend who may be the toughest person in this ultra-violent city. I get through MacBride's books by skimming over the most violent portions....pages of torture and detailed descriptions of human remains....which means skipping 10% of the book. MacBride's gift is making this imaginary Aberdeen seem very real, and the reader is an eyewitness to its horrors. His weakness is his unwillingness to ever spare the reader some of the gory details or provide breaks in the nightmares. There is never a sunny day in Aberdeen, just one dark night after another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you, B&N for providing a free nook book, Cold Granite, by Stuart McBride, it made it possible for me to discover a new amazing author! Mr McBride is a great find for me, his Logan McRae series has been a joy to read! Fast paced, hard to put down, genuine, I fell in love at first page! Each book (so far, I am begining #4) has been excellent! The story in this book "Dying Light" is quick, interesting and unique to itself while keeping the characters of all the books intact! I was thrilled with the feeling that I was in Scotland, freezing and wet, watching cops solve crimes, working with budget cuts and politics like we all do today! Try this book, in the series or alone, you will not be disappointed!!
Gran10x More than 1 year ago
I have read 3 of Stuart's books so far and they are good!! Hope you will check him out too. All books are set in Scotland, which is a local with a lot of history. You can't wait to read the whole book and then you wish you hadn't read so fast because you miss all the characters. Enjoy!!
MexicoDan More than 1 year ago
All the Logan McRae novels are excellent, this one included.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love violent blood-curdling mystery this is the book for you. Enjoyed both books so far in the Logan McRae series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read nearly all of the books about DS McRae and thoroughly enjoyed all of them and plan to read the rest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Detective Sergeant Logan MacRae has been bumped to D.I. Roberta Steel⿿s ⿿Screw-up Squad⿠after a raid he led on a warehouse rumored to be full of stolen property ended with no arrests and one officer critically injured. The backstabbing, limelight-stealing, laziest D.I. on Aberdeen⿿s police force, Steel⿿s team is made up of the ⿿no-hopers,⿠the most worthless or inexperienced members of the homicide department, and Logan will do anything to prove he doesn⿿t belong there. Including working overtime on two baffling cases: the murder by arson of six people, and the beating to death of a prostitute down by the docks, not a high priority compared to the fire. At least not until another prostitute ends up dead.   Although both cases seem simple on the surface---turns out the fire⿿s victims are part of a drug dealer⿿s inner circle, and what fate is to be expected for working girls in Aberdeen⿿s red-light district? --- in Stuart MacBride⿿s hands, what⿿s going on in this rainy Scottish city is bound to be much more complicated than it appears.   A detailed authenticity combines with a dark Scottish sense of humor and a lively cast of characters in MacBride⿿s unputdownable second novel, confirming his status as a rising star of crime fiction.
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JMS1057 More than 1 year ago
The story is slow and hard to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DFY More than 1 year ago
Page turner. Doesn't require a lot of brain power to follow. Great book to read on the bus to work.
pur More than 1 year ago
very good plot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series.
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jamjc More than 1 year ago
Worst details in a story You need to have a strong stomach Gross.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Taking the time to figure out the meaning of the words was a trying experience. Probably a good story, but frustrating as it didn't move smoothly Will pass on buying another book by this author.
LIBBYEM More than 1 year ago
This is just as good as the first one's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very intense book. I really enjoy DI Insch eating different candies all the time. It helps lighten the strong story. This book in NOT for the weak! It takes a little bit of effort to get used to the British spellings and phrases. I would like to read another type of murder mystery by this author.
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