My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days
Pages - 320
Publisher - Polygon
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
When reporter Rebecca Connolly is told of Roddie Drummond’s return to the island of Stoirm she senses a story. Fifteen years before he was charged with the murder of his lover, Mhairi. When he was found Not Proven, Roddie left the island and no one, apart from his sister, knew where he was or what he was doing. Now he has returned for his mother’s funeral – and it will spark an explosion of hatred, bitterness and violence.
Defying her editor's wishes, Rebecca joins forces with local photographer Chazz Wymark to dig into the secrets surrounding Mhairi's death, and her mysterious last words of Thunder Bay, the secluded spot on the west coast of the island where, according to local lore, the souls of the dead set off into the after life. When another murder takes place, and the severe weather that gives the island its name hits, she is ideally placed to uncover the truth about what happened that night fifteen years before.
We open with the death of Mhairi a beautiful young girl meeting a tragic end. We flip to the "present day" fifteen years later and the guy everyone believed to have killed her is returning to the island, Stoirm. Reporter Rebecca Connolly is going to cover it, regardless of her bosses orders no to, Rebecca's dad is from the island and he would never discuss it. She has possibly an exclusive story AND a chance to figure out what was so bad about the place her father would never discuss it nor any of the family. Rebecca will learn that islands have their secrets and some people will kill to keep them!
Oooooh so this is my first dance with this author, never read him before although seem him at a few book events and always heard folk talk about his work. Not only is the cover fab with my fav colour and a striking view but it is set in a Scottish island and the wee island has its secrets and land stories/myths. I LOVE stuff like that and thought I was just heading into a murder/gossip type tale. After the murder we have a slow burn with the story teasing out its details, Rebecca meets a lot of opposition for what she is trying to do, no one wants outsiders butting in and small communities have a way of dealing with their own.
There are many strands to the story, the death of a beautiful young woman and the impact that has left on her family and daughter, especially in such a small place. The suspected killer returning after another death and bad things start to happen. Wee jumps in time back to the lead up to Mhairi's death and all those who lived there at the time. Like a modern day "Murder She Wrote" you get lots of information, snippets, reasons to distrust and, for me, still struggle to finger the bad guy and the why.
Engaging, a good pace, characters you want to read more about and a mystery from the past, will Mhairi ever get to leave "Thunder Bay" will she ever be avenged? Will her daughter ever get closure and can Rebecca get anyone to open up about whatever was so bad her father cut himself off from the family, the island and even the sheer mention of it? Gotta read it to get the answers folks!
I love when a book keeps you guessing, luring you page after page to conclusions and thinking you worked it out when no, no you really didn't. I liked the wee stories of myths and legends the islanders told and it makes me want to pick up a book on our own Scottish history, sure we have tons in our past. I also want to look these up and see if they came from anything or just a fab creation within a creation from the author. As I said this is my first dance with Skelton, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time.
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