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His latest book: Birthdays for the Dead

I’ve read nearly all of Stuart Macbride’s books and his latest, a stand-alone novel called Birthdays for the Dead is right up to and possibly above his usual standard. He is the best-selling author of a number of gritty crime novels set in the granite city of Aberdeen, Scotland, and featuring DS Logan McRae. In 2011 his novel Dark Blood was short-listed for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award.

The thing you can’t be to enjoy Stuart Macbride’s novels is squeamish. His books are grim, gritty and gruesome, full of murder, darkness and violence, but injected with the most brilliant black humour. His characters are painted vividly and vibrantly with no holds barred. You feel DS Logan’s frustration, and shake your head at sloppy, wrinkled, chain-smoker DI Steel’s constant attempts to adjust her bra. You feel the biting cold of the Aberdeen winter in the rusted pool car with the crap heater, while sleet beats mercilessly at the windscreen and you wrinkle your nose at the clinging odour of cheeseburger and fags. You can’t get scenes portrayed much more vividly. Along with this goes straight from the hip dialogue often as bloody and colourful as the scene itself.

Birthdays for the Dead is his latest book, a stand-alone novel written in the first person and as taut, compelling and fast-moving as you can get. The characters and scenes are painted no less vividly. I love the way he uses words. His description of a drunken, passed-out colleague passing wind went like this: ‘It was followed by three aftershocks, sounding like someone was kicking a duck down a length of metal pipe. I loved how he described snowflakes ‘sacrificing themselves on the windscreen’, and a disused park as a ‘rest home for weeds’. Simply a great writer – in my book!

To see more of his novels on Amazon (book and Kindle):