Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride

5 Stars from me

It’s fair to say that Stuart MacBride had me at Cold Granite

Now We Are Dead focuses on Sergeant Roberta Steel who has taken a bit of a tumble down the ranks after fitting up a suspect. Not one to learn from her mistakes she is hell bent on seeing him behind bars and, despite numerous colourful warnings, pursues him in her own special way.

Steel is a fabulous character, she is loveable yet should be detestable and must be an absolute nightmare to work with. I love love love her funny ways and how she is always shuggling her errant underwire and eyeing up anyone female who crosses her path.

I did miss Logan but it is testament to MacBride’s mastery of a incredible storyline that this book is brilliant even without it’s star player being involved.

Another absolute stonker from Stuart MacBride – reading his books makes me so happy 🙂

Synopsis: From the No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel. Sergeant Roberta Steel has recently been demoted after being caught fitting up a suspect. The trouble is, the man she got sent down has had his sentence quashed now he’s back on the streets. And women are being attacked again. But if DS Steel goes anywhere near him his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good. The Powers That Be won’t listen to her not after what happened last time. Besides, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy perhaps she should focus on solving them instead of harassing an innocent man?

But Steel knows he’s guilty and the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him? 

Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride

Cold Granite5 Stars from me!

Cold Granite is the first book in the DS Logan McRae series and it is a belter!

I am a fan of Stuart MacBride and cannot believe that I don’t have a review of Cold Granite on here! It was only when I was reviewing another fabulous Scottish crime debut that I realised and so I’ve quickly put together a review as Cold Granite is a brilliant book and the DS Logan McRae series is not to be missed.

I was first introduced to the book on a flight home from New York when the person to my left was chuckling to themselves while reading it. When I got a chance to glance at the cover it didn’t strike me as looking like a particularly amusing book but once I secured a copy and sat down to read it for myself I soon discovered that the story is full of humorous touches and one liners; welcome relief from the stark gruesomeness of the tale itself.

Logan ‘Laz’ is brilliant character, he puts me in mind of Gary Goodhew from the Cambridge Blue books, his personality is perfect for the role and he bounces off of his quirky superiors in a delightful manner. It is the wonderful DI Steel who brings much of the humour to the book, she is fabulous to read. Then there is DI Insch who bears the brunt of many an eloquently penned joke. Both are great.

The Aberdeen described in Cold Granite is not one that I would imagine the tourist board appreciating! It sounds like hell on earth but the descriptive writting required to bring about this assault to the senses is quite flawless.

If you like crime books, you must read Cold Granite.

Synopsis: Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather…

It’s DS Logan McRae’s first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn’t get much worse. Three-year-old David Reid’s body is discovered in a ditch, strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he’s only the first. There’s a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are baying for blood.

Soon the dead are piling up in the morgue almost as fast as the snow on the streets, and Logan knows time is running out. More children are going missing. More are going to die. And if Logan isn’t careful, he could end up joining them…

 

The Last Witness by Denzil Meyrick

The Last Witness4 Stars from me

After enjoying Whisky From Small Glasses (sounds like a great hobby as well as a title for a gritty new Scottish crime thriller!), I quickly bought The Last Witness for my reading pile.

Jim Daley is now a DCI after a bit of a slap dash promotion during the first book and his character feels more comfortable, more rounded (in several ways) and more at home in his role and his environment. I really like Jim Daley, although I still picture him in my mind as Barnaby from Midsummer, albeit a sweary Barnaby!

The story itself is great, complex in places, simple in others with another layer of threads woven in which – much like in WFSG – clearly pave the way to be continued in a future book. I think this is a great touch and is missing from a lot of books which stick with beginning, middle and end – Denzil Meyrick manages to do all that and also include a ‘what if’.

I did get a weeny bit lost in one part of the story but I’m not sure if the muddle was my own head or if it wasn’t all that clear in the book. I very quickly got back on track though and whatever the reason for it, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment or understanding of the story.

My dislike of the promiscuity of one character is continued throughout this book, again a matter which in my opinion is treated bizarrely lightly given the potential consequences.

Overall a very welcome addition to the crime thriller market and I look forward to reading more by Denzil Meyrick; and I would imagine we’ll be seeing them televised too as the scenes are so easy to picture and would lend themselves incredibly well to a TV series.

Loving the cover artwork on this one too, it’s a far more professional look to the original cover on Whisky From Small Glasses which has the more homespun look of a self published novel.

Synopsis: James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way…

Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

Whisky Small Glasses4 Stars from me

I set out to deliberately read a new author and stumbled upon Whisky From Small Glasses in my quest. I am so glad that I did! D A Meyrick has created a new series based around DI Jim Daley and his hapless sidekick Brian Scott, which breathes fresh breath into the bones of the gritty Scottish crime thrillers.

I found Jim Daley to be a likeable chap, although in my mind’s eye he kept appearing as the first Barnaby from Midsummer Murders (never warmed as much to the second Barnaby although I do have a soft spot for Sykes the dog) and I now can’t picture him any other way!

The only real negative I have about the book is the promiscuous wife, it just doesn’t work for me that he would have stayed married to her and be prepared to ignore her shenanigans. I’m wondering if this goes somewhere in latter books or was simply an error of judgement that will be swept under the carpet?

Either way, Whisky From Small Glasses is a great read with a refreshingly different storyline and I greatly look forward to reading the next book The Last Witness.

I can easily see this becoming a televised series, the beautiful Scottish landscapes, wildlife and squalid tenements will make for a great backdrop to DI Jim Daley as he battles his way through to solve crimes against the odds.

I will also confess to high fiving myself when I found the line ‘large men drinking whisky from small glasses’ within the book. Go me.

 

Synopsis:  DI Jim Daley is sent from the city to investigate a murder after the body of a woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the West Coast of Scotland.

Far away from urban resources, he finds himself a stranger in a close knit community.

The investigation becomes more deadly as two more bodies are found.

Love, betrayal, fear and death stalk the small community, as Daley investigates a case that becomes more deadly than he could possibly imagine; in this compelling, beautifully written novel- infused with intrigue and dark humour.

 

 

Sealed With A Kiss by Rachel Lucas

Sealed With A Kiss

Synopsis: Kate breathes a sigh of relief when she’s dumped at her best friend’s wedding. Faced with moving back home, she takes a job with a cottage on the remote island of Auchenmor. Kate’s told Auchenmor is too small for secrets, but prickly new boss Roderick is keeping something to himself. When his ex-girlfriend comes back on the scene, their budding friendship comes to an abrupt end-and Kate finds out Fiona’s got a sinister motive for coming back to the island she hates. Can she be stopped before it’s too late, and will the island find its way into Kate’s heart?

4 stars from me

Such a lovely book! I read this on holiday in two leisurely sittings beside the pool; it is most definitely the perfect way to while a way a day, or two.

If you take a mosey through the other reviews on this blog you’ll see that chic lit (contemporary women’s fiction) isn’t my usual first choice of reading matter but I absolutely loved this simple, sweet, heart warming tale.

I remember reading once that you should never ever submit a novel to a publisher that starts with a break up but that clearly didn’t cause any problems for Rachel Lucas and although the book would have worked just as well without it, frankly it added to the whole sweetness of the tale.

Sealed With A Kiss was exactly what I’d hoped it would be, yes it was a little bit corny, a little bit predictable but that’s what made it so sweet and enjoyable! In addition to that it was incredibly easy read with beautiful scene setting and cleverly constructed characters.

As well as being a light, soul soothing read, this book also made me want to visit Scotland again (as well as chuck everything in and go and stay in a deserted cottage on a remote island! Oh, and drink whisky.). The beauty of the landscapes really came to life on the pages and even the cold and the rain sounded romantic.

A big thumbs up from me for Sealed With A Kiss for Rachel Lucas who can be found on twitter @Karamina where she is just as lovely as you would assume from reading this gorgeous book.