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Wednesday 10 August 2016

‘In the Cold Dark Ground’ by Stuart MacBride

Published by HarperCollins,
14 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-00749-464-4 (HB).
978-0-00749-465-1 (EB)

A body is discovered, in woods. The cadaver has been stripped naked, hands tied behind his back, and a bin bag duct-taped over his head.

Detective Inspector Steel is brought in to head the investigation. She is joined by Sergeant Logan Macrae on her team, then, as is usual for her, expects him to do all the work.

Logan Macrae has big problems. He is caught up in an organised crime gang, after the head of the gang, Hamish Mowat, who is now dying, had sold Logan a house for less than its worth, and intends naming Logan as a beneficiary in his will. Other gangs have their eye on Mowat’s criminal empire and see Logan as a threat, so are about to do something about it.

Meanwhile professional standards are investigating DI Steele. As is the usual for MacBride, this is more than a murder- mystery, police investigation, set in Scotland. It is very much about the private lives of the characters heading the story.

Macbride has a firm place as one of our top crime writers and rightly deserves the accolade. His writing, which is dark, and often very violent, is also highly humorous in places, and his devious and clever plotting unequaled. His leading characters are flawed, not the always get their criminal type, but human, with problems and pain, but written with humour.

If you have never read a MacBride thriller then I couldn’t recommend him more highly. If you have, and know his characters well, (As this, I believe is his tenth Logan Macrae mystery), then this one will not disappoint. In the Cold Dark Ground is a powerful read. It is entertaining, dark in places, and often laugh-out-loud funny. If I had one small niggle with this story, I would have edited the book fifty pages shorter.
Reviewer: Linda Regan.

Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton. After a variety of jobs, a graphic designer, a professional actor, an undertaker, a marketing company’s studio manager, a web designer, programmer, technical lead… he finally ended up as a project manager for a huge IT conglomerate. As Stuart says “while I was doing all that IT stuff, I wrote a wee book about an Aberdonian detective sergeant and his dysfunctional colleagues Cold Granite” Since that time Stuart has written a further nine books, In the Cold Dark Ground being the 10th.
His work has won several prizes and in 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dundee University. Stuart lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, cat Grendel, and other assorted animals.


Linda Regan is the author of six police procedural crime novels. She is also an actress. She holds a Masters degree in critical writing and journalism, and writes a regular column, including book reviews, for three magazines. She also presents the book-club spot on BBC Radio Kent. She is an avid reader, and welcomes the chance to read new writers.

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