YOU can’t beat a good crime thriller and this effort from Stuart MacBride is one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

The main protagonist is police sergeant Logan McRae whose patch is the Scottish city of Aberdeen where both cops and robbers are very tough breeds indeed.

The novel begins with the discovery of a naked corpse in some woods, with his hands bound and a bin bag taped over the head.

Logan and his team are initially involved in the murder but then a Major Investigation Team arrives with Logan’s former boss DCI Steel in charge.

First suggestions are that the murder might have something to do with the passing away of local crime overlord Hamish Mowat which means that Logan’s local knowledge and his connections with the area’s low-life could come in useful.

The threat of violent gang war is never far away but there are other things on Logan’s mind such as whether or not to turn off the life-support machine keeping his girlfriend alive and a rather chequered past history which could be construed as corrupt behaviour.

In the Cold Dark Ground is fast-paced and spicy dialogue and host of fascinating characters. Definitely worth a read.