Coffin Road by Peter May

iuA man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris. He cannot remember who he is. The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road. He does not know where this search will take him.

A detective from Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt. DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore. He does not know if he has what it takes to uncover how and why.

A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her scientist father’s suicide. Two years on, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would willfully abandon her. She doesn’t yet know his secret.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realization that ignorance can kill us.

Another great book by Peter May. Great tension, atmosphere and character. Except for the teenage girl. It was a little unbelievable for me and the relationship didn’t come across as that close somehow to me either. But, the book is still an excellent read. Hard to put down. I’m curious if you’ve read it what you thought of the teenager part, don’t want to give away anything here for those of you who haven’t read it.

The whole mystery is wrapped up in bees and what’s killing them. Lots of interesting stuff in this one, folks! Although this is a stand-alone book DS Gunn from the Lewis Trilogy is the main law enforcement character in this one. Fin and Marsaili are mentioned once too. It was nice revisiting the characters. A nice touch!

Here’s a nice article about this book in The Scotsman if your interested!

Bloq by Alan Jones

‘A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.’

Another good tale from Alan Jones! This is a gritty crime novel with sexual content. Alan hits on the hot topic of slavery/human trafficking in this book. Not a pleasant subject, but that seems to be Alan’s speciality!
It took awhile for me to connect with a character in this one, but by the middle of the book I was invested with the character of Bill, the father. I was really impressed with the amount of technical knowledge used by Bill to track the doings at the Albanian mob owned nightclub Bloq! The lengths Bill goes to find his daughter are amazing.  Another WOW twist ending in this one too! I love those kinds of endings! Alan has it perfected!
The early reviews are glowing for this book! You can read the first four chapters at the website Bloq and pre-order the book due out April 1st here or in the UK here.
A blog tour begins March 29th. Alan will be here on April 5th explaining the technical bits Bill uses to catch his man! Be sure and drop in then!
Thanks Alan for the advance copy!
Peggy Ann

Book Update Part 2

I recently posted about the audio books I’ve read in the last 2 1/2 months, now for the print books…

I read two Jane Langton mysteries. I LOVE her books! I read the first two in her Homer Kelly series and of course I read the second one first and the first one second. Oh well…

The Minuteman Murder (the first Home Kelly book. previously titled The Transcendental Murder)
Set in Concord Massachusetts, home to the transcendental American past. Seems everyone there is infatuated with the Transcendentalists, Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Dickinson. Homer Kelly, a detective is in Concord researching for a book he is writing on one of the Transcendentalists. He meets Mary Morgan in the library. She is also working on a book, hers is about the Women of the Transcendental movement. It’s love/hate at first sight!

Ernest Goss, a wealthy resident reveals at a town meeting that he has come into possession of some rather delicate Transcendental letters that shed a rather shady light on the Transcendentalist themselves! Are they genuine or fakes? Several residents don’t want them published but Ernest is determined to make his name with the publication of them. What lengths will the town go to, to stop Ernest publishing them?

Patriots Day is here and the town always has a big festival on April 19th commemorating the Battle of Concord, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The highlight of the festival is the re-enactment of the ride of Paul Revere or Dr. Samuel Prescott who was the one that went on to Concord with the news that the British were coming. Shortly after the ride and the parade a shot is heard and a boy scout finds the body of Ernest Goss! Did one of his sons kill him, or someone who didn’t want the letters published? Mary and Homer are hot on the case.

A good sense of place and quotes from Thoreau, Emerson, Dickinson and the lot at the beginning of each chapter and throughout the book. Wonderful quirky characters and a gem of a detective in Homer Kelly.

This book counts for My Readers Block Scavenger Hunt Silver, a revolver on the cover.

Dark Nantucket Noon by Jane Langton
Homer and Mary are back in this second installment set on Nantucket. An eclipse of the sun turned daytime into chillingly unnatural night and when the light returned, someone was dead! Kitty Clark came to Nantucket to observe the eclipse at a prime location for viewing. Arriving at the lighthouse at Great Point at the very end of the island, she stumbles on a dead woman. The dead woman just happens to be the wife of Joe Green, Kitty’s ex-lover and when the party descends the lighthouse stairs and find Helen dead, Kitty is standing over her with bloody hands. One of the men said, ‘You killed her’ and Kitty said, ‘No, it was the moon, you see. The moon did it.’

An exceptionally well written whodunit. Suspenseful and tense right to the end! Can Homer prove Kitty is innocent with such evidence against her? A real page turner. I enjoyed this one better than the first and it’s a good thing I read the second one first because it made me hungry for more!! This copy was a Penguin book and full of lovely sketches by the author. You can check out a few on a post I did previously about this book here.

This book also counts for Bev’s Scavenger Hunt Silver, the lighthouse meets the a building other than a house square

and counting towards Read Scotland…

The Lion and Unicorn Quest by Cecilia Peartree
I picked up this little ebook as it is written by a Scots author and would count for Read Scotland. Ms. Peartree has a couple different series. I read the first one in her Crime in the Community series set in Scotland and really enjoyed it. This one is in The Quest series and set in 1950’s London. It centers around a couple who search for and find lost art works, usually lost in the war.

Flora and Oliver work together recovering stolen or lost art works and after a silly argument they aren’t speaking to each other. Flora’s past as a secret agent in the war is coming back to haunt her. She is pulled into an investigation surrounding an old nemesis. In the meantime Oliver is asked to help protect a famous painting being loaned out for display at the Festival of Britain. Doesn’t take long before their different paths cross and they find themselves deep in a murder mystery. Not anything really deep, but quite enjoyable and free at Smashwords! Crime in the Community is free too!

The Last of the Line by John MacKay
Cal’s parents are dead and his last remaining blood relative, Aunt Mary, passes away. Cal returns to the Outer Hebrides to arrange her funeral and take care of her estate. He’s a big city boy now and doesn’t care for or understand the the old islanders way of life. But Cal learns Mary had a secret all his life and he is determined to find out what it is. Could she have been his mother? Will he stay on the island or return to the city? Another wonderfully atmospheric book from MacKay. After reading The Road Dance by him I had to get my hands on all his books and all I can say is I hope he writes more!

Heartland by John MacKay
Ian Martin returns home to Lewis after his marriage ends in divorce. He’s looking to re-connect with his roots and start again. Hoping that reconstructing his ancestral home, an old blackhouse, will give him purpose. While digging up the old floor he unearths a human skeleton. Now he has a mystery to unravel as well. Could it be the skeleton of a high school friend thought lost at sea? I LOVED this book. Characters from The Road Dance are mentioned in this one too. Excellent mystery and beautiful location. If you like tales set in Scotland you really need to get your hands on one of his books.

It Could Happen to You by Isla Dewar

Rowan has always cherished an ambition to travel. She didn’t just leave the small Scottish town where she grew up; she fled from it as fast as she could. Now she’s become expert at metropolitan living; she could walk by a million faces and not notice any of them. and her dream is almost within her grasp.

When Rowan does start packing her bags, she has to find room for one very unexpected item. And she’s headed not for exotic shores but back to Scotland. There, she feels at first like nothing more than a source of good gossip. But as she discovers that no on is quite who she thought they were, Rowan begins to see that home could be where she’ll find what she was looking for after all…

This story delves into how we might not ‘see’ the whole picture when we look into other people’s lives. Their circumstances and they themselves might not be what we perceive. Speaks to wishing we had someone-else’s life or family or job.  When Rowan comes home from being in the ‘big city’  those preconceived ideas start quite a few little ripples in the fabric of life in the village and everyone’s lives are changed.  

I liked Rowan and I liked Ms. Dewar’s writing. This is the first book I’ve read by her. I picked it up while I was in Scotland. I’ll be looking for more! 

**Having trouble with the desktop computer. Keep getting the ‘blue screen of death’ as I’ve seen it referred to online. So far I’ve managed to get it back up and running but it eventually goes back to the blue screen. So I guess a new one is in the cards. Going away camping again though so it will have to wait. If you don’t hear from me for awhile it’s computer issues. 

Peggy Ann 

The Day She Died by Catriona MacPherson

That was the day I met Gus, the day I grew a family as if from magic beans, the day she died. That’s the point, see? It was the very same day…

Jessie Constable has learned the hard way to always keep herself safe. But meeting Gus King changes everything. Before she knows it, Jessie is sleeping at Gus’s house, babysitting his kids, becoming a part of his family. And yet, she can’t ignore the unsettling questions. Who does she keep seeing from the corner of her eye? Why are strange men threatening her? Most importantly, what really happened to Gus’s wife?

Creating a brilliant, foreboding mystery where nothing is as it seems, master storyteller Catriona McPherson weaves an ominous tale that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Praise: “McPherson’s second stand-alone is a tour de force, a creepy psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.”–Kikus Reviews (starred review)

“Keep the lights on and batten down the hatches, for McPherson’s psychologically terrifying stand-alone demands to be read all night.”–LIBRARY JOURNAL

“[A] deliciously disturbing tale of deception and self-deception…McPherson is a persuasive and immersive writer at the crest of her powers.” –ALEX MARWOOD, EDGAR AWARD-WINNNIG AUTHOR OF WICKED GIRLS

I have to agree with these reviews! This book is delicious, creepy, terrifying and disturbing! Jessie is a wonderful protagonist and narrator. She has a fear of feathers that plays into the tale with grand creepiness! Gus is a real perplexing character. Never quite sure exactly what’s going on with him and he keeps Jessie so off balance with his mixed messages. But he’s such a wonderful dad! 

Not a Dandy Gilver story by any means. This book is one that gets better days after you read it and keep thinking about it. Well done! 

Peggy Ann 

The Glenvarroch Gathering by Susan Pleydell

‘The advertisement in The Times,

“Glenvarroch. Scottish family with large house on West Highland sea loch welcomes paying guests for summer holidays”

attracted an oddly assorted group: a schoolboy, an American couple, a schoolmistress from the Midlands, a young man writing a novel and an exotic brother and sister from London. but after a while the charm of the visitors begins to pall, and the C.I.D. warn Professor McKechnie that his daughter Fiona may be in danger.’

This book was originally published in 1960 and The Greyladies republished it in 2013. I was lucky enough to find my Greyladies copy on Paperbackswap!

Jo Carey, a young man away at school, decided he wanted adventure for his vacation. His parents were abroad and he would be stuck at home with his aunt. So he decided to answer an ad for lodging at a Scottish estate. Turns out it is the home of another young man, Pat McKechnie, from school who he knew casually. Jo and Pat became fast friends and Pat’s family take Jo in as one of the family.

The other lodgers turn out to be an odd assortment. A lonely young girl looking for adventure and companionship, an middle aged American couple on vacation, the mysterious, sulky, would be writer, Frank, and Lee and June Antony the dazzling brother and sister duo. They seem to take the McKechnie’s home by surprise and charm everyone. But are they all that they seem? Are they too friendly and too pushy? And what about Frank, he seems friendly one minute and distant the next. There seems to be something going on with him and Audrey. Did they know each other before?

The nearby estate Ruach is home to Rory Mackinnon the Laird, Maisie his half sister and Lady Strang their grandmother. They have been close friends with the Mckechnie’s for years. Fiona has had a crush on Rory since she was young and only hope’s that someday he may notice her as more than just the little Fiona down the road. And Maisie is in love with Fiona’s brother Neil. But will Lee and June upset the applecart?

As the sweet idyllic tale of summer progresses we discover that there is a criminal in their midst. A tale of jewel theft and murder is uncovered. Throw in a wicked storm, a kidnapping, and a chase on the rain swept hills and this is a tale to keep you turning pages. And we can’t forget poor little Cigar, the donkey who pulls Lady Strang around in cart! He’s a sweetie!

Peggy Ann