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.

The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride
Published by Transworld on 16 Feb, 2023
ISBN: 9781787634930
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural
Pages: 336
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
two stars - The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride

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...
Praise for Stuart MacBride:
'A magnetic mix of creepy places, dark humour, horror and violence' Sun
'Dark and brilliantly written' Linwood Barclay
'MacBride is a damned fine writer' Peter James
'MacBride's thrillers just keep getting better' Express
'Crime fiction of the highest order' Mark Billingham ***AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW***

The Dead of Winter unfortunately was a massive disappointment for me. This is only my second MacBride novel but again like his last one – No Less the Devil, I’m left wondering if there’s something I’m missing. I’ve been reliably told that his Logan series is very good, so perhaps that’ll be the next one I attempt to pick up.

I pushed through the story, but had it not been an advanced reader’s copy I’d have likely DNF’d it. The prologue was intriguing, and I was genuinely interested in seeing where the story would lead me. I am a complete aficionado when it comes to Scottish crime. I really enjoy reading about places I’ve seen and travelled to, that’s why I thought MacBride’s work would’ve been a good punt – I used to live in Aberdeen and I had my second child there, and although I cannot fault his picture setting of the location I just couldn’t find myself caring about the characters – something that is an absolute must for me to be able to enjoy a story.

So, into The Dead of Winter itself. DC Edward Reekie and DI Montgomery-Porter are tasked with picking up a dying convict from HMP Grampian and escort him to Glenfarich. A community for released prisoners who cannot be released back into the general community. It’s a community made up of sex offenders and violent criminals. Located in the Cairngorm national park, it sets an impressive locale if it is largely unbelievable. When one of the inhabitants is found murdered, with his eyeballs torn out and tied to a table, instead of feeling shocked at the finding I just found myself rolling my eyes. I just felt flabbergasted that someone could get away with this – the police are in situ, the police seems hugely inexperienced and making stupid mistakes, honestly. I wanted to get stuck into the story but just found myself becoming more frustrated with each chapter.

Now onto my biggest issue – DI Montgomery-Porter. My god, that woman is absolutely insufferable. She’s ratty, defensive, and just a good old-fashioned bitch. I really felt for DC Reekie, not only did he have to manage the problems that the case brought but having to constantly apologise for his DI’s unacceptable behaviour. I mean, I get that the constant problems that kept cropping up is infuriating but my god the woman took it out on everyone. I found myself muttering to my kindle “stop yelling at everyone.”

All in all, was a massive let down. Will I read any more Stuart MacBride novels, yes, I likely will because the writing is pretty solid and he knows his stuff but his last two books really failed to float the boat.


image 8 - The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride

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.

Stuart MacBride

two stars - The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride