#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2021
My day seventeen #bookvent selection is the third book in a series, one which has introduced readers to a remarkable group of women, blending mystery, science, investigations and rock chick Grannies. And in this case the odd alien and random beastie, to keep the action, the tension and the entertainment flowing. It is a series richin emotional depth, the most amazingly original and believable characters, and one which has kept me completely rapt since the first book. My day seventeen choice is …
The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone
The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet…
Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series, and the stakes are higher than ever.
I didn’t know quite how to review this book back in August. I’m not sure now. The red hot read award was very much for this story – I loved every minute of the three different story threads that Doug Johnstone skilfully entwines – but also for the series as a whole as nothing, nothing, is really quite as you might expect. There is a little bit of the author infused into his characters, part of his rich variety of experiences woven into the very fabric of the stories, that gives it that something extra, that tenderness, integrity and passion, that really lifts the stories. Emotional, yes. Without a doubt. Especially this one, for so many reasons but Mr Johnstone knows his biggest sin in this one. One of the greatest taboos in fiction. I’ll forgive him though as. the rest of the story is absolutely brilliant. My review was less a review, more a list of reasons you need to read the book and I stand by each and every one. The unusual and memorable opening scenes to each and every book. This is no exception. The central characters – the drummer, the investigator and the science geek – three generations of Skelf women who I cannot help but love. The tension, the depth of emotion, the technical and the fantastical, all blends to make the perfectly paced story, full of mystery, and packed with surprises. The perfect narrative skill and scene setting that puts you right at the heart of each and every story.
I could tell you more about the story itself, about the missing person case, the unexpected family reunion, the Beast of Bruntsfield with its surprisingly emotional conclusion, or Hannah’s foray into the world of alien communication – yes really – but I think to understand and to feel the powerful emotions that the story elicits, you need to read it for yourself. I am thrilled that there will be two more books in the series, having feared at the point of writing my review that it might be goodbye. It would have been a fond farewell nonetheless. The trilogy brings certain stories full circle, ending much as we began, melancholic but thoughtful. Satisfied is a little teary eyed. Honest, gritty, socially relevant, powerful, emotional and just bloody good fun, this is a series and a book I would heartily recommend. Everyone needs to immerse themselves in the world of the Skelfs.
You can read my original review right here.
Happy #bookvent reading all
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