I am delighted to share my review today for The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone. This is the 3rd book in the series and features the Skelf Family.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Orenda Books.
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 Skelf’s 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.
From reading the two previous books in this series I knew I was going to be in for a roller coaster ride. I did not, however, expect it to be such an amazing ride!
This is the third book in The Sklef’s series, set in Edinburgh. The Skelf’s are a family of different generations of women and boys are an amazing group. Headed by Dorothy, the family-run not only funeral directors but also have a Private Investigation business.
Dorothy is an amazing matriarch and her daughter, Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are doing a great job. With the family dog finding a foot, an abusive ex on the run and a very strange message the women have their work cut out. As if having all these dynamic women under one roof is not enough, Dorothy also takes in waifs, those who have troubles that just need a safe place and a roof over their heads. Oh, did I mention the big cat that is on the loose around the city?
This is a breakneck speed of a read, one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I do like the way the author alternates his chapters between the three Sklef women, it kept this reader up to speed with all that was going on, and boy was there a lot. Credit to the author for keeping all these sub-plots in check and not allowing me to get confused. As the women are very unique it is very easy to keep up with who is who and their individual roles don’t their own cases as well as when they all come together.
This story does have a tense atmosphere to it, there is the threat of the big cat lurking, the abusive ex who is making life more than hell for some and then of course there is the body part. The author has so skillfully woven all the dramatic and dynamic plots together brilliantly and it makes for a very intense and thrilling read.
This is a fabulous series and I do think it is just getting better and better. There is more tension and it does have a gloriously dark edge to it. This is a series that I would say you do need to read from the beginning as there are mentions of previous storylines.
This is definitely a tense, fast-paced, dark and gritty glimpse into the world of the Sklef women, they are a fabulous family and this latest book is an amazing read. It is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His fourth novel, Hit & Run, is published by Faber and Faber on March 15th 2012. His previous novel, Smokeheads, was published in March 2011, also by Faber. before that he published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008), which received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre. Doug is currently writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde. He’s had short stories appear in various publications, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children. He loves drinking malt whisky and playing football, not necessarily at the same time.
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