I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Out in the Cold by Stuart Johnstone
Published by Allison & Busby Ltd on November 19, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, General
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'A parade of pipe bands should welcome this tartan noir newcomer. Johnstone’s a former cop. It shows in this tough and crisply written thriller with the punch of a triple scotch...Welcome to your new crime addiction!' Peterborough Telegraph
Intuition is everything in the police force, something that Sergeant Don Colyear knows better than most.
When a superior officer’s decision not to respond to a routine disturbance has fatal consequences, Colyear finds himself sent away from Glasgow to work in a remote Highlands town.
Despite not wanting to be there, a feeling shared by his commander, Colyear soon settles into life investigating petty crimes. But it isn’t long before he discovers something strange about the town. A string of teenage disappearances seems to have been ignored by the authorities. And when a groundsman from the local sporting estate is gruesomely murdered, Colyear suspects that long-held secrets could be coming to the surface.
As he delves further into the town’s history, it isn’t long before his own life is at risk.
I have been so incredibly lucky as of late in my crime novels, but Out in the Cold surpassed all my expectations. It has an original plot, intriguing main characters and a writing style that is so sharp that it threatens to slit your throat. If I thought that it couldn’t get better than that opening chapter, I’d be sorely wrong. Have you ever found yourself in an untenable situation at work? Well Detective Sargent Colyear has a master’s in it. A situation that wasn’t his doing but takes the rap for it, nonetheless.
Out in the Cold (although I’m not a huge fan of comparisons) could have easily been an episode of Taggart (showing my age there, aren’t i?) they both take an almost harmless situation and show just how splitting it wide open will release the wretchedness of human nature. However, I do believe that Stuart Johnstone had the edge and his originality shone through. I enjoyed every aspect of this story, from characters that pack a serious punch to genuine moments between colleagues that show a deeper understanding within the police force.
Just to sum it up Out in the Cold spirals like an avalanche. The snow gains traction and if you don’t have your wits about you – you also will end up buried.
Out in the Cold is the first instalment in the Sergeant Don Colyear series. It is set in the fictious town of Stratharder near Oban. Thirty-three-year-old Don is promoted and sent to Stratharder after his position in Glasgow became untenable after an incident during a night shift. The crime rate at first glance seems to be relatively low and Don worries just what exactly he is going to do with his time there. As time clocks on he discovers that things are certainly not as they seem in the small town.
Straight away Don is teamed up with Constable Rowan Forbes and the bantering relationship between the two was fun to get lost in. They investigate a spate of vandalism reports and teenage girls mysteriously going missing. Don’s gut instinct has rarely let him down so just why are residents of this sleepy town refusing to give him insight…just what is it that is keeping them quiet? The author has an exquisite skill in dissecting feelings and emotions of being a blow in in a quiet town, as a police officer, as a young professional guy and as a person sticking his nose where a lot of residents don’t want it.
That exciting anticipation of moving to the Scottish Highlands soon becomes a world of grey, the underbelly as rotten as in any city.
I loved Don’s character; genuine, resilient, and still believes in the good in people even after everything he has been through. He’s not naive and with his aspirations comes some hard truths. He’s not scared of putting in the grunt work. Safe to say I will be waiting with bated breath for the next in the series, this may just become my favourite crime series. The author has created pure escapism with side dish of twistedness that makes sure you will come back for more.
ABOUT STUART JOHNSTONE
Stuart Johnstone is the author of the Don Colyear crime series. He is based in Edinburgh. As well as crime fiction, Stuart also likes to write in other genres, including dystopian and horror. His big break came when he found himself published along side one of his literary heroes, Stephen King.