The Blood Is Still by Douglas Skelton

Today Mandie is playing catch up with Rebecca Connolly, with a review of The Blood Is Still by Douglas Skelton. I loved this book and you can read my thoughts right here. Here’s what the book is about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 05 March 2020
Publisher: Polygon

About the Book

When the body of a man in eighteenth-century Highland dress is discovered on the site of the Battle of Culloden, journalist Rebecca Connolly takes up the story for the Chronicle.

Meanwhile, a film being made about the ’45 Rebellion has enraged the right-wing group Spirit of the Gael which is connected to a shadowy group called Black Dawn linked to death threats and fake anthrax deliveries to Downing Street and Holyrood. When a second body – this time in the Redcoat uniform of the government army – is found in Inverness,Rebecca finds herself drawn ever deeper into the mystery. Are the murders connected to politics, a local gang war or something else entirely?

Mandie’s Thoughts

Whilst covering a demonstration by locals Rebecca Connolly is called away when a body wearing ancient highland clothing is found on the Culloden battle site. When a second body is found also wearing similar ancient clothing Rebecca is left wondering what the connections between the two victims are. If this isn’t enough for her to be dealing with she still has more investigations into the demonstration and the reasons behind them, bringing her to the attention of the Burkes, a family you really don’t want to cross.

Rebecca certainly has her work cut out for her trying to get to the bottom of the murders and also covering the growing unrest regarding the rehousing of a paedophile in the local area. If that isn’t enough her job may also be on the line with a restructure taking place at the newspaper she works for. She is a person who wants to do the best she can to get the facts of the story even if that can put her life and her career in danger. Her close friends Chaz and Alan are there supporting her and giving some of the lighter moments in the story.

As before the story is predominantly told through the eyes of Rebecca and you can see the relationships between herself, the local historian and the investigating DI develop throughout although both in their own way will ultimately betray her and put her in harm’s way. With clear issues with trust her circle of friends is small, and events are not doing much to prove that she should change this anytime soon. The interactions between Rebecca and Nolan Burke are quite interesting as you can see that there is definitely something developing, but due to family loyalties and past actions no matter what they may both want it is not a relationship that will ultimately go anywhere.

The Blood Is Still is much more than a murder investigation and the parts of the book told from the viewpoint of a child that is clearly being abused by someone who should be protecting them are some of the more chilling parts of the story. Just who this is and how it all fits in with the present day only become clear at the end as the various strands all finally link together, and it may not be what you expected. With so many potential suspects and with the victims themselves having secrets this is the perfect follow up to Thunder Bay and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

About the Author

Douglas Skelton was born in Glasgow. He has been a bank clerk, tax officer, taxi driver (for two days), wine waiter (for two hours), journalist and investigator. He has written eleven true crime and Scottish criminal history books but now concentrates on fiction. His novel Open Wounds (2016) was longlisted for the McIlvanney Award. Douglas has investigated real-life crime for Glasgow solicitors and was involved in a long-running campaign to right the famous Ice-Cream Wars miscarriage of justice.

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