I have just finished reading Cold Granite, a novel by the Scottish writer Stuart MacBride. You know the sort of scenario for us writer types. You have just finished reading one book and are looking for your next great read…
Can I start by saying; it seems to me that Scotland has produced a lot of famous crime writers. These writers include Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Peter May and Alex Gray. These are the authors I have read but obviously there are lots more.
So what is it about Scotland that lends itself to crime writing so well? At a guess I would say it’s the climate. Scotland as we know gets extremely cold, rains a lot and in the winter just like the southeast, is dark by 4 pm! Can you see a picture forming here? A great location/setting for tales of a more gruesome nature.
The adverse weather conditions in Scotland, the location for Cold Granite can be viewed as another character or obstacle the main character has to overcome! The climate also adds authenticity, and evokes the imagination perfectly!
Well, this is how I felt whilst I was reading this gruesome tale of kids going missing and the subsequent investigations into their disappearance. Because of the setting and climate the novel was even more chilling and believable, you could feel the ice beneath your feet, see the grey skies and sense the gloom! The weather is constantly referred to in Cold Granite thus adding to the oppression basically making DS McRae’s job even harder to do!
Cold Granite I felt it was an exceptional debut novel because of the well described and portrayed characters. The central character DS Logan McRae is interesting and piqued my interest because he was somewhat an enigma.
The book starts with his return to duty after being off sick for about a year. It turns out he was injured whilst on duty. His stomach injury haunts him throughout the course of the book. So does his desire to find out who is abducting and murdering young children. Cold Granite may I warn you, is not for the faint-hearted!
The other characters are extremely well portrayed from a sweet-toothed DI Insch to the busy-body reporter Colin Miller. I found the descriptions of the book’s characters with all their quirks made them seem real, strangely vulnerable and curiously likeable.
This is something all fiction writers should aim for. Your major and minor characters do not have to be perfect, but they should be likeable. This is the only way to ensure your readers care about what happens to them.
If crime fiction is your thing, then this book should not disappoint.
Until next time