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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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