Author: Adam Fitzroy
Publisher: Manifold Press
Cover Artist: @ultramarinfoto
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/01/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Gay, Romance
Arriving on a remote Scottish island to investigate an unexplained death, Ted Harris finds himself entangled in the life of the community – and becomes attracted to Athol, his enigmatic landlord. Soon they’re working together, depending on each other for survival in perilous circumstances, and slowly unravelling the mystery. Will they ever figure out exactly how and why Kieran Parnes died and who was responsible for his death, and what will it do to the island – and to the tentative beginnings of their relationship – if they tell anybody what they know?
Let me say in advance, this book isn’t exactly a romance, more of a mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie, Elizabeth George or even Ian Rankin. It happens to have a gay romantic subplot, but the focus is clearly on the mystery. Which, by the way, is a solid one, expertly developed and very atmospheric, mainly thanks to its setting in a (fictional) remote Scottish island.
The descriptions were wonderful, pictures of a harsh, largely wild countryscape merging seamlessly into the lives and mindsets of its inhabitants. The reader gets an outsider’s view thanks to the narrator, Ted, a retired police officer investigating the death of a man, and that’s where I just can’t help mentioning the writing in itself, masterfully unobtrusive though it was. Ted’s quest for the truth moved at an unhurried, almost leisurely pace, and yet it sucked me in and had me glued to the pages with tension. With its feeling of impending doom and subtle, all-too-human desperation this story was downright haunting in a way.
This was also a very british book in many respects, in foremost evidence by the budding relationship between Ted and Athol. Almost poignant the to and fro between them, the very restrained mutual flirting, and their comfortable rather than sizzling togetherness once they gave in to each other. It lent a spark of optimistic light to all the unforgiving darkness of events past and present.
This is a quiet read, not at all depressing but nothing light and fluffy either. If you love mysteries – especially the classic whodunnit – and if you don’t mind the undertones in terms of physical affection, you can’t go wrong with this book.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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