Latest Reads

A Dark Matter – Doug Johnstone Blog tour

Great thanks of course to Anne Cater who does an outstanding job organising a huge number of bloggers to host these blog tours and of course the Authors that write these amazing books, time after time. A Dark Matter is yet another scorcher from Doug Johnstone’s literary catalogue.

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…
When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined. As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.

Our Author – Doug Jonstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh, and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions and has been an arts journalist for twenty
years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also a player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

My Review: A Dark Matter

Yet another enticing, gripping and emotive read from Doug Johnstone. Such a talent, that I have come to expect and A Dark Matter doesn’t disappoint.

The storyline is such that you can’t stop reading and the characters – Dorothy, Jenny & Hannah Skelf, along with various others, all mingle nicely and make the book flow at a great pace. Theres Archie who has medication due to being convinced he’s dead – so it makes sense to work in an undertakers I guess. Indy – Hannah’s girlfriend, Craig – Jenny’s Ex husband and Hannah’s Dad. The PI client list are a greatly amusing bunch – Orla – wow!

We find the Skelf’s standing around a burning pyre in their back garden, a funeral style Jim had requested – The head of the family who’s resent and sudden demise has caused this gathering. Though not the usual or perhaps legal way of cremation, he brings the family and so their businesses together as one.

When I say businesses – The Skelf’s run a funeral directors and Jim was also Private Investigator too. Though sitting in a silver hearse doesn’t seem too discreet to me – but, would I notice a hearse ? If I saw it a lot I probably would, or maybe not because it was there all the time? Either way – perhaps not the most practical of vehicles for scoping and following clients in.

Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah all take on the investigator role – Jenny following Liam Hook. Dorothy trying to get to the bottom of why Jim was paying money out to a woman she didn’t know, every month for the last 10 years and placing video cameras at a gentleman’s home to find out who’s taking his belongings and Hannah because her best friend and flat mate, Mel goes missing.

Luckily Dorothy has police connections and can get inside information from Thomas, her yoga friend who’s on the force. Which means they can also pass information they find, to him.

So as well as guiding the bereaved through the minefield of death, the family are grieving too.

A Dark Matter is written with humour – a must have when discussing death, to make it more readable and light hearted – something most people are uncomfortable with, despite it being inevitable for us all. And this alone causes amusement – I mean who cremates their father in the back garden – Jim was clearly a character. But one with secrets he took with him and Dorothy wants answers.

Mel’s disappearance throws up information that no one expected of the Mel they know, but then her brother says she was wild before Uni, before Hannah knew her – staying out, drinking, parties – but now she’s part of the Quantum Club and is quiet and keeps to herself – do they know her at all?

All this and trying to process their grief – that is a battle on its own – the sudden loss of a person from anyone’s life like that can take months, years to come to terms with and perhaps having these other matters to deal with help them with the death of Jim than if they didn’t have these other issues to solve too.

An evoking and thoughtful book, I was pulled in from the first chapter, needing to know what happens to Mel and why was Jim paying Rebecca Lawrence?

Yet another corker from the stable of Orenda – Doug Johnstone’s hit gold with this one, being tagged ‘as a darkly funny new series’ which brings me joy as I would assume that means we will meant the Skelf’s again.

Should you wish to buy A Dark Matter please click the link –

@doug_Johnstone @ OrendaBooks @AnneCater #ADarkMatter #TheSkelfs

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