Thank you for my spot on this spotlight week blog tour.
In 1752, Seamus a’Ghlynne, James of the Glen, was executed for the murder of government man Colin Campbell. He was almost certainly innocent. When banners are placed at his gravesite claiming that his namesake, James Stewart, is innocent of murder, reporter Rebecca Connolly smells a story.
The young Stewart has been in prison for 10 years for the brutal murder of his lover, lawyer and politician Murdo Maxwell. Rebecca soon discovers that Maxwell believed he was being followed prior to his murder and his phones were tapped. As Rebecca keeps digging, she finds herself in the sights of Inverness crime matriarch Mo Burke, who wants payback for the damage caused to her family in a previous case.
Despite owning the first two books in this series I haven’t got round to reading them yet, and now I’m wondering why? I listened and read this as I am still new to audiobooks and sometimes tend to find my mind wanders a bit. However with this one the story is so good and the narrator is perfect, I found I was drawn in and got completely engrossed in everything that was happening throughout the story.
Rebecca Connolly used to work for the Highland Chronicle, but she began to dislike how modern journalism was being done. She is now in Inverness working for a small news agency. She is practically running it, except the boss does keep a close eye on things. The stories she now covers are smaller than what she used to but she is happy with that, getting job satisfaction and flexibility. Determined to show honest journalism is the only way in her eyes.
Some banners start popping up around the town on sites that are associated with a crime that had happened many years ago in 1752, A man named James the Glen, although more commonly known as James Stewart, had been hanged for a crime he hadn’t committed. But the banners popping up now are more about another James Stewart who is currently in prison and has been for ten years, after being found guilty of killing his lover Murdo Maxwell, who was a politician and ex lawyer. The banners are being hung in order to get the case noticed again, because some believe that this is another miscarriage of justice, and the only way for it to be looked at again is through new evidence, although the new evidence isn’t really huge. Rebecca had been interested in the case previously so it’s not completely new to her, but her previous interest hadn’t exactly helped the case, she didn’t have enough to work with. This had caused Afua Stewart, James’s mother great distress and put a distrust in the media, especially Rebecca,feeling her son was found guilty before he even went to trial. Can Rebecca now get Afua to let her look at the case again? Can she get the real killer or is the real killer already in prison?
It seems that Rebecca is not the only person interested in this story, and to add to that who is actually interested in Rebecca? Despite this being book three in the series this works well as a stand-alone read, although personally I hate reading books out of order, so really need to get to the first two books to see what has happened to Rebecca previously as it is clear something has happened. As well as finding out a bit more on a couple of other characters.
Rebecca is clearly a strong woman, this comes across so well with the way she is characterised, every little detail that you are given by the author makes you feel like you know her personally. She stands for no nonsense and is determined to get to the truth. But it’s not just Rebecca that stands out, Afua Stewart is another strong woman, elegant and poised. Then the not so nice, chain smoking formidable Mo Burke who wants to see the end of Rebeccas career as a journalist. I love how all of the characters come to life and that is down to the beautiful writing. Making us believe, whether it be someone from the Glasgow and Inverness underworld or the main protagonist herself they all come alive on the pages. As well as in listening to the narration.
Despite the story being dark and serious, there is still room for some dark humour which adds to the pleasure. This is a story of murder, injustice, love and getting to the truth. Written with some great prose, great characterisation, set in at times the harsh but breathtaking Scottish landscape. A fantastic plot which manages to weave Scottish history with the up to date criminal underworld. Some perfect red herrings thrown in just to keep you guessing. I loved this, an absolutely belting ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
If you are looking for a new series to read, or to listen to then I think this would be a good one to turn to.
This audiobook is narrated by Sarah Barron who reads it perfectly. Thank you to Isis Audio for sending me an audio version of the book, and to Danielle Price for inviting me on the blog tour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Douglas Skelton has published 12 non fiction books and eight crime thrillers. He has been a bank clerk, tax officer, shelf stacker, meat porter, taxi driver (for two days), wine waiter (for two hours), reporter, investigator and editor. His first thriller BLOOD CITY was published in 2013. The gritty thriller was the first in a quartet set on the tough streets of Glasgow from 1980 onwards. It was followed by CROW BAIT, DEVIL’S KNOCK and finally OPEN WOUNDS, which was longlisted for the first McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year in 2016. His two Dominic Queste thrillers, THE DEAD DON’T BOOGIE and TAG – YOU’RE DEAD lightened the tone but didn’t skimp on thrills. He followed this with his New York-set chase thriller THE JANUS RUN in 2018. THUNDER BAY, a dark and atmospheric tale of secrets, lies and murder on a Scottish island, was published to great acclaim by Polygon in 2019. It has been longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for 2019. The second in the series THE BLOOD IS STILL, is out now with the third due early 2021. Douglas is often recruited by documentary makers to contribute to true crime shows on TV and radio and is a regular on the crime writing festival circuit. He takes part in comedy shows with other crime writers. To date he has written three Carry on Sleuthing plays in which he also appears along with Caro Ramsay, Michael J. Malone, Theresa Talbot, Pat Young and Lucy Cameron, with occasional guests Alex Gray, Lin Anderson and Neil Broadfoot. He is also one quarter of Four Blokes in search of a Plot, along with Gordon Brown, Mark Leggatt and Neil Broadfoot. This is a fun show in which they invited the audience to give them a murder weapon and a protagonist. They then take it in turns to create a crime story (usually developing into something wild and wacky) while also answering audience queries about the craft. His one man event, You the Jury, invites audiences to deliver verdicts on real life but heavily disguised cases from around the world. In 2019 the format was extended into a court drama, thanks to the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, within Stirling Sheriff Court played to three sell-out houses during the Bloody Scotland festival. He is, with bestselling author Denzil Meyrick, a regular on the SBOOKS podcast.
Author Web Page: https://http://www.douglasskelton.com/