Thursday 12 August 2010

"Cold Granite" by Stuart MacBride

I don't know what it is about Scottish authors but they seem to gravitate towards writing crime. Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Alexander McCall Smith and Alex Grey are all Scottish crime writers. How many of these have I tried? None! Actually that's not quite true. I gave McCall Smith a go a few years ago and found his writing style just wasn't for me. If I am going to be completely honest, when it comes to Scottish authors I am poorly read.

With my new found interest in crime I decided it was about time I tried one of the many crime authors Scotland had to offer. I chose Stuart MacBride for a few reasons. First of all a number of friends recommended him. Second I had heard he was funny and at the moment I like a touch of humour in the books I am reading. He did a signing at the store I worked in and I was so sorry I missed it. He had everyone singing along to a dirty rhyme from his latest book. I have to confess that was when my interest in reading him truly started. So I finally got round to it and the OCD in me decided to start with his first book "Cold Granite".

This is the first in a series of books that follows the criminal investigations of DS Logan MacRae. Logan is just back after a year recovering from a stab wound. Believing he would return to light duties he is thrown into the deep end helping to capture a child serial killer. If that wasn't bad enough he has to work with an estranged girlfriend, a new book and a baby sitter. Oh, and he is being stalked by tabloid journalist Colin Miller.

My friends weren't lying when he said this was funny. Despite the dark content I found myself chuckling away quite regularly. I would say that 70% of the humour is locally based. Unless you understand Scottish humour or Scottish slang you might not get some of it. I don't think that would spoil much for the non-Scottish reader. Especially if you are an avid crime reader.

One of the things I loved about it though is Logan himself. Basically he isn't portrayed as a brilliant detective. Instead he is human. He makes mistakes and sometimes he behaves more like an adolescent than a grown man. Some of his discoveries are even accidental. There is something refreshing about his character. It makes a nice change from brilliant but moody.

Over all I was impressed. In terms of Scottish authors I don't have much to compare it to but I very much enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading more by Stuart MacBride.

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