The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride  @StuartMacBride   @TransworldBooks

Source: Review copy
Publication: 16 February 2023 from Transworld
PP: 352
ISBN-13: 978-1787634923

My thanks to Transworld for an early copy for review

It was supposed to be an easy job.

All Detective Constable Edward Reekie had to do was pick up a dying prisoner from HMP Grampian and deliver him somewhere to live out his last few months in peace.

From the outside, Glenfarach looks like a quaint, sleepy, snow-dusted village, nestled deep in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, but things aren’t what they seem. The place is thick with security cameras and there’s a strict nine o’clock curfew, because Glenfarach is the final sanctuary for people who’ve served their sentences but can’t be safely released into the general population.

Edward’s new boss, DI Montgomery-Porter, insists they head back to Aberdeen before the approaching blizzards shut everything down, but when an ex-cop-turned-gangster is discovered tortured to death in his bungalow, someone needs to take charge.

The weather’s closing in, tensions are mounting, and time’s running out – something nasty has come to Glenfarach, and Edward is standing right in its way…

Stuart MacBride took a year off to recharge his writing batteries and now he is back with an enormous, scabrous, bang.

He has created, in his two principal characters, a new duo that will have you both laughing and crying all the way through. DI Victoria Montgomery-Porter, known to her colleagues as ‘Bigtoria’ – though never to her face – and D.C. Edward Reekie are charged with taking a notorious prisoner from HMP Grampian to Glenfarach. Mark Bishop is dying and he is to join other ageing and infirm prisoners who are deemed unsafe to let into the general population.  Glenfarach is akin to an old people’s home for ex-cons, all equipped with ankle trackers, living out their time in an isolated, self-contained village in the heart of the Cairngorms.

Here you will find the worst of the worst. Here is where the child pornographers and paedophiles get sent on release. The most violent of offenders, around 200 of them, will live out their days in this place surrounded by CCTV cameras and a big barbed wire fence.

It is, of course, the dead of winter and the weather is foul as Bigtoria and Reekie set out. Once they get to Glenfarach, and drop Bishop into the care of Glenfarach’s D.S. Erin Farrow it’s clear that they aren’t getting back to Aberdeen until the snow storm ends. Inevitably communications go down and Bigtoria and Reekie find themselves with a murder on their doorstep and a missing social worker.

Stuart MacBride’s writing is that wonderful mixture of grotesque characters mixed with violent crime and a liberal dose of both numptiness and grumpiness that regular fans have come to know and love.

MacBride has a litany of glorious phrases that sing in the midst of a lot of violence, gore and the worst excesses of human behaviour so that the reader finds themselves laughing out loud even as the horrifying events create tension, chills and very real gasps of horrified disbelief.

It’s a winning formula and MacBride keeps just the right amount of double dealing and duplicity in between the bloody violence and the laughter to keep us wondering what exactly is going on.

Verdict: Sarcastic, witty, violent, dark and laugh out loud funny, this is Stuart MacBride with a new duo that I fervently hope we will meet again.                                  Waterstones                      Hive Stores

Stuart MacBride is the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels. He’s also published standalones, novellas, and short stories, as well as a slightly twisted children’s picture book for slightly twisted children. Stuart lives in the northeast of Scotland with his wife Fiona, cats Gherkin, Onion and Beetroot, some hens, some horses, and an impressive collection of assorted weeds.

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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