Sunday, 3 May 2015

Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae, #1) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

A child killer stalks the frozen streets...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 453
Chapters: 40
Publisher: Harper

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Quite frankly, Cold Granite is one of the best crime thrillers I've read. Stuart MacBride is a master, from plotting, to pacing, to characters. The first novel of this series is dark, gritty and depressing; it's also thrilling, hooking and a morbidly enjoyable punch to the gut. If you're planning on reading a MacBride book - which I highly recommend - then be warned, you're in for a ride that will leave you feeling guilty and disgusted with yourself for being unable to put the book down. 

I think I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this series.


Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my own interpretations close.)

DS Logan McRae has been off the force sick for a year.
But instead of having some time to acclimate back into the force, the body of a dead three-year-old boy is found in a ditch.
As despicable as it is, a feeling of unease sits in Logan's gut.
A serial killer is stalking the cold streets of Aberdeen.
And he's not finished...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

The premise had me. The opening chapter had me. The story as a whole had me. I will say this though: Be prepared. Cold Granite isn't for the faint of heart, or stomach. Its subject, the murders and more of children, really hits you emotionally. MacBride went all out for the first entry in this series, and you're going to feel it. Despite that, I was invested for its entirety. So much is going on, perfectly woven cases that intersect and play with your mind just as much as they do to our characters.

The dark tones are lightened by some nicely placed humour. You'd think it'd be out of place, but I actually laughed out loud at every cutting remark, which helps break up the story and gives your emotions a little rest. 

All in all, if you can handle it, Cold Granite is worth every penny.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

The story is very well paced. The book's hefty, not too much so, but five hundred odd pages is still a mighty pill to swallow. MacBride handles this with ease. I never wanted to put the book down, I had to at one point or another, but still. Everything flows well, with action balanced with exposition, and exposition balanced with gut-wrenching epiphanies. 

The pages can't turn themselves fast enough.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

The characters were the major highlight for me though. If the story and pace don't keep you going, the cast will. They're, simply, fantastic. Our main, DS Logan McRae is smart, compassionate and damn good at his job. He's well fleshed out, with a past that we learn as the main story progresses. Surprisingly, given how dark Cold Granite is, I expected him to have some sort of questionable background, but thankfully, Mr McRae is through and through one of the good guys.

The supporting characters are up to the same standard as our main: Distinct, enjoyable and all do a stellar job of supporting. One thing's for sure, even though the story must have taken a lot of focus, MacBride didn't cut corners with its drivers. Logan's superior, Insch, is great. Likable, but tough. He'll give you one of his many sweets - literal sweets - but betray him and he'll bury you. Jackie is just as hooking, nicknamed 'Ball Breaker', for obvious reasons...

The rest fill out nicely, with the 'villains' of the story suitably creepy, and almost impossible to predict.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

This is where most of my worry centred before I started the novel. Cold Granite is set in the sunny city of Aberdeen, Scotland, and MacBride uses our practically incomprehensible slang throughout the novel. Luckily, it's done to a high standard. You'll get authentic, Scottish speak - which even I sometimes cringe at, but hey - and as far as I could tell, it's understandable. 

It's mostly during dialogue, so it shouldn't be too grating for those not used to it. Everything else is pretty darn perfect, with the writing flowing easily.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

Cold Granite is emotional. You're gonna want a shower before, during, and after reading it. But, you won't be able to put it down. You'll want to finish, you'll need to finish, and its characters will help you get there. 

5/5 Stars for sure.

Oh, and really, Scotland isn't as bad as the book makes out...

Next Instalment: Dying Light

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