In Association with

Fresh Blood

Name: Stuart MacBride

Title Of Book: Cold Granite

“This is definitely a brilliant start to a series. Given time, I believe McRae and Wilson could sit very comfortably alongside the likes of Dalziel and Pascoe.”


Detective Sergeant Logan McRae has just been off work for six months after being nearly stabbed to death by a maniac he had cornered in the line of duty. On the first day after his return he is faced with the body of David Reid, three months short of his fourth birthday, being pulled out of the river. McRae goes to tell the parents of the discovery, only to find out that the press have already been on to them asking for a comment on their son’s murder. Not only does he now have a murderer to find, but he also has a mole that is leaking information to a specific journalist.

Suddenly children start to go missing around the cold suburbs of Aberdeen and pressure is placed on DS McRae, (now nicknamed ‘Lazarus’, due to him rising from the dead after his scrap with the murderer). Along with his new sidekick, WPC Jackie (ball-breaker) Wilson (an absolutely brilliant character), he starts to search for the perpetrator of these heinous crimes. Along the way, a gruesome discovery is made at a local farm and that’s when all hell really starts to let loose!


Cold Granite is an excellent start to what appears to be an original and exciting series. I am never comfortable with crime novels that revolve around the murder of a child. I have to say that the subject matter was respectfully dealt with by this writer and, although there are some comic moments in the book, it doesn’t cheapen the actually investigation. We have Logan McRae (who seems to shoulder the world on his shoulders) along with the gorgeous, but deadly, WPC. Wilson. Lets hope that many other characters, like DI Insch, will also be along for the ride as the series continues.

I do not like to make comparisons; but I will this time. This story is multi-layered and was very much in the style of Reginald Hill in that we are given different strands throughout the book. Some cases inter-weave and join each other, whereas others are stand-alone mysteries that simply keep the book rolling along in fine style. The solution to the main story was brilliant and extremely believable. The secret to the mole was a big shock and I liked the way MacBride handled it. It could cause a lot of explosions in future novels… This is definitely a brilliant start to a series. Given time, I believe McRae and Wilson could sit very comfortably alongside the likes of Dalziel and Pascoe.

To find out more about this author, please see his website on:

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1.) What type of crime writing would you say you write?

I’d say it’s a cross between ‘Radiohead’ and the ‘Barenaked Ladies’. Dark Tartan Noir, with a Tabasco-splash of humour.

2.) What type of crime do you prefer?? Series or standalone?

It really depends on the author; there are some really great standalones out there by people who can’t write a series to save themselves. But a series, when it’s done well, is probably the most satisfying.

3.) Have you always had ideas to write a crime novel?

Not really, no. I’ve always liked crime (ever since I was a wee boy reading Hardy Boys novels under the duvet with a torch – yes, I was that cliché), and I always thought I’d get round to writing one sooner or later, but not for a while yet. Though, now I come to think about it, the stuff I was writing was always in the thriller / action / crime style, it just wasn’t ‘normal’ enough to be called crime fiction.

4.) What influenced you to write a crime novel in the first place?

Aha, this is all my Agent at Marjacq’s fault. He was reading a supernatural thriller I’d just finished and wanted to know what would happen if I tried a straight serial killer novel. So I went away and had a bash at it, and 12 months later HarperCollins were making me an offer I just couldn’t refuse for Cold Granite. Thank God for agents!

5.) What is your favourite crime read of all time?

Frost at Christmas by R.D. Wingfield – the man is a bloody genius when it comes to plot and character. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can produce a better police procedural.

6.) Would you describe yourself as a Crime fan and if so, which authors do you most admire?

Definitely! Crime is the new black. The industry is entering a second golden age, with a lot of writers working at the top of their game - Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre, Karin Slaughter, R.D. Wingfield… the list goes on. I’m really getting into Mark Billingham and John Rickards’s stuff at the moment.

7.) Which camp do you fall into? Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers?

Give Agatha a chainsaw and a bottle of mescaline, and I’m there.

8.) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?

To be honest – I’m drawing a complete blank here. I could wimp out and say ‘LA Confidential’, but then I never thought that was a patch on ‘Memento’. While I read a lot of Crime fiction, I don’t tend to watch it. Been disappointed too many times. (mind you, if TV’s allowed then ‘Hamish Macbeth kicks the arse out of the original books)

9.) Without giving away the story, which book included your favourite plot twist of all time?

For my favourite twisty, turney plot I’m going to have to go to a – shock horror – Science Fiction writer (even though it’s a still a crime story). $16,940.00 by Larry Niven is only 4 pages long, but it’s seriously the best twisty crime short story I’ve ever read.

10.) Where do you see crime fiction going next?

Hmm… tough one. Right now it’s all over the place, with new sub-genres popping up all over the place, each one aimed at smaller and smaller interest groups. Which is no bad thing: more choice there is, the better. Only trouble is finding out what sub-sub-sub-genre you’re going to enjoy and then hoping there’s more than three people out there writing novels featuring a ‘crime-solving rabbit, who moonlights as a mainstream porn star in the daytime and knits tea-cosies in his spare time’. But over all, I think crime fictions going to go in two directions. A: much more realistic, with logical plots and uber-believability. And B: completely off the wall. Hopefully with more rabbits.