Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dying Light by Stuart MacBride

Author: Stuart Macbride
ISBN # 0007193157
Publisher: Harper Collins
First Published: 2006
432 pages
Rating: 9/10

The Blurb:
This is a new Logan McRae thriller from the author of Cold Granite. It's summertime in the Granite City: the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and people are dying! It starts with a prostitute, stripped naked and beaten to death down by the docks - the heart of Aberdeen's red light district. For DS Logan MacRae, it's a bad start to another bad day. Only a few short months ago, he was the golden boy of Grampian police. But one botched raid later, he's palmed off on a DI everyone knows is a jinx, waiting for the axe to fall with all the other rejects in the 'Screw-up Squad'. Logan's not going to take it lying down. He's determined to escape DI Steel and her unconventional methods, and the best way to do that is to crack the case in double-quick time. But Rosie Williams won't be the only one making an unscheduled trip to the morgue. Across the city, six people are burning to death in a petrol-soaked squat, the doors and windows screwed shut from the outside. And despite Logan's best efforts, it's not long before another prostitute turns up on the slab! Stuart MacBride's characteristic grittiness, gallows humour and lively characterisation are to the fore in his un-put-down-able second novel, confirming his status as the rising star of crime fiction.

The Review:
This is the second novel by Stuart MacBride and is a sequel to the excellent Cold Granite. I’ll admit to being a tiny bit biased as, once again, this novel is set in Aberdeen, which is home to me, so I recognised all the locations as well as the people, but familiarity only counts for an insignificantly small part of my overall rating.

Thankfully, this time round, it’s set during the summer (Cold Granite’s setting was the run-up to Christmas, so the weather was, understandably, appalling, even if that is a cliché in connection with Aberdeen), so the descriptions of the sparkling buildings and Aberdonians wandering about in short-sleeved shirts, soaking up the sunshine (yes, there was still some rain, but in moderation this time!) during the daylight hours, and tottering about in skimpy outfits during nights on the town (although, to be fair, young Aberdonian women do that in the foulest of weather – we’re dead hard up North!).

The writing is as tense as it was in the prequel, leading one to believe that this will be characteristic of Macbride in future offerings; his characters are developed more fully here as we have already been introduced to them prior to this, but this could still easily be read without having first delved into Cold Granite, although there are references to past events. The plot is finely tuned and MacBride does not make the rookie mistake of having the entire police department focus on just one single crime – there’s a lot happening here, keeping everyone on their toes and making this a gripping read.

As a follow-up to an exciting debut, MacBride has proven that he can sustain the suspense and should become a forced to be reckoned with within the crime fiction genre – I can highly recommend giving him a try.


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