Crime fiction fans are well aware that one of the most incendiary brands in the field is that of Tartan Noir: this is the generic term for those tough and uncompromising Scottish crime writers who have had such a seismic influence (notably Val McDermid and Ian Rankin -- the latter, in fact, has long been the best-selling male crime writer in the UK). The characteristics of Tartan Noir are pungently evoked Scottish settings (McDermid excepted), abrasive protagonists who pull no punches and a readiness to confront the darker aspects of society (and not just that of Alex Salmond’s fiefdom -- the best books in the field never come across as parochial or nationalistic, with such cities as Edinburgh standing in for any British city).
One of the fastest rising stars is Stuart MacBride, who won the International Thriller Writers Best Debut Novel Award, the CWA Dagger in the Library and the ITV3 Crime Thriller award for Breakthrough Author. But does MacBride justify all the hoopla? If you need an answer to that, perhaps you should pick up his latest novel, Dark Blood. But not if you're the kind of crime reader who likes comfortable, unchallenging fiction that slightly shakes (but never upsets) the status quo.
As in such books as Cold Granite, Broken Skin and Dying Light, MacBride is all about putting his characters through the wringer -- rather, in fact, as he does the reader. In the new book, Logan McRae, the author’s hard-nosed Aberdeen copper, is handed an assignment that is most definitely not to his liking. A career criminal, Richard Knox, has served his time and is told he will be allowed to live wherever he likes, despite his multiple convictions for rape and violence. He has taken the route adopted by many criminals -- found religion, claiming he is a changed man. His desire is to up sticks from Newcastle and make a new start. But unfortunately for Logan McRae, he has decided he wants his new home to be Aberdeen. Needless to say, his brutal past will not be buried for too long, and Logan McRae, forced to help with the ill-advised relocation, finds himself with the trickiest problems of his career. Particularly as other kinds of criminal activity in Aberdeen are at boiling point.
Dark Blood is full of the kind of scabrous and flinty writing that is very much Stuart MacBride’s trademark. This reviewer, for one, would not be surprised if he soon has a few more crime fiction prizes under his belt. --Barry Forshaw
Praise for Dark Blood:
‘A terrific writer … Brilliant … bodies abound, blood flows freely and McRae is a delight’ The Times
‘Stuart MacBride’s thrillers just keep getting better … One of the most disturbing novels in the highly successful Logan McRae series … admirers of tough, modern crime novels will be in seventh heaven – or should that be hell?’ Express
‘The plotting puts most writers in the genre to shame … This is quintessential Stuart MacBride: tartan noir etched in the darkest of hues with dialogue so sharp you might cut yourself’ Independent
‘Tartan noir’s greatest exponent’ Daily Mirror
'A terrific writer ! McRae makes John Rebus seem like a compliant wimp ! bodies abound, blood flows freely and McRae is a delight' The Times 'One of the most disturbing and uncompromising novels in the highly successful Logan McRae series ! admirers of tough, modern crime novels will be in seventh heaven -- or should that be hell?' Express 'Some of the grittiest crime-writing in the field ! The McRae books sport some of the pithiest snapshots of urban life this side of Irvine Welsh ! etched in the darkest of hues and with dialogue so sharp you might cut yourself' Independent Praise for Stuart MacBride: 'Hard-hitting prose with a bone-dry humour and characters you can genuinely believe in, Stuart MacBride's Logan McRae series of novels are a real treat.' Simon Kernick 'Fierce, unflinching and shot through with the blackest of humour; this is crime fiction of the highest order by a writer whose dark star is most definitely on the rise.' Mark Billingham 'If you're looking for taut narrative, gut-churning incident, strong characterisation, all shot through with savagely dark humour, then look no further' Reginald Hill 'Ferocious and funny' Val McDermid 'Cracking dialogue ! a standout crime novel' Metro 'Makes Ian Rankin's noir seem blanc' Observer Praise for Stuart MacBride 'The novel rattles along like a bolting horse and the dialogue crackles like a firework display ! DI Steel should be declared a national treasure' Andrew Taylor, Spectator 'Grim, gritty and great fun' Daily Sport 'Riveting and gruesome' Daily Telegraph 'Stuart MacBride goes straight for the jugular with a tight, thrilling novel' Glasgow Herald' Another brilliant, riveting police procedural. I'm green with envy!' R D Wingfield 'This intelligent, exciting police procedural should make the leading writers of the genre start looking over their shoulders' Sunday Telegraph 'An impressive debut ! an edge-of-your-seat page-turner' Publishers Weekly 'A gritty, roller-coaster, in-your-face thriller' Aberdeen Press and Journal 'A cracking new writer on the crime scene who hooks you from the first page and never lets you go. The action is ferocious and the pace unrelenting' Northern Echo 'Compelling reading' Telegraph 'Gripping' Daily Mirror
The Number One bestselling crime series from the award-winning Stuart MacBride. In this sixth DS Logan McRae thriller, Scotland’s finest see first-hand how starting again can be murder…
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Richard Knox has served his time, so why shouldn’t he be allowed to live wherever he wants? Yes, in the past he was a violent rapist, but he’s seen the error of his ways. Found God. Wants to leave his dark past in Newcastle behind him and make a new start. Or so he says.
Detective Sergeant Logan McRae isn’t exactly thrilled to be part of the team helping Knox settle into his new Aberdeen home. He’s even less thrilled to be stuck with DSI Danby from Northumbria Police – the man who put Knox behind bars for ten years – supposedly here to ‘keep an eye on things’.
Only things are about to go very, very wrong.
Edinburgh gangster Malk the Knife wants a slice of the development boom Donald Trump’s golf course is bringing to the Granite City, whether local crime lord Wee Hamish Mowat likes it or not. Three heavies from Newcastle want a ‘quiet word’ with DSI Danby about a missing mob accountant. And Richard Knox’s dark past isn’t done with him yet…
About the Author
Stuart MacBride is the No.1 bestselling author of the DS Logan McRae series. His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 crime thriller awards. Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories. He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and cat, Grendel.