Morning everyone, and happy Friday! The weekend is in sight!  Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone, and bringing you a review of this fast-paced, fab investigation with some strong and amazing characters…..

book blurb & info

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life.

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Fast-paced, darkly funny, yet touching and tender, the Skelf family series is a welcome reboot to the classic PI novel, whilst also asking deeper questions about family, society and grief.

Published by: Orenda Books on 20th August 2020

Formats available: Paperback & eBook

Purchase Links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

my thoughts

The three generations of Skelf women Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah are still getting over what happened to them, but all are determined to continue on with both their PI business and their funeral home.  With a car crashing into a grave at one of the funerals, a drumming student going missing, a Professor passing away and a strange young man hanging around, the Skelf women have got plenty to keep them busy!

But with Craig (Jenny’s ex-Husband) plotting behind bars, are they really all as safe as they thought?

Having not read the first book in the Skelf series, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But reading this made me want to read it so badly! There is plenty of background information on what happened to the Skelf women in the last book, and it really sucked me in.  I was on the edge of my seat with the danger that was presenting itself, and could just imagine how engrossing the first book must be (on my wish list!)

I really liked the Skelf woman.  Dorothy is such a lovely woman; at 70 she is amazing! She really is the matriarch of the family and it’s clear she cares deeply about everyone around her.  Jenny has had a rough time, and it’s lovely to see her moving on and getting involved in the PI side of things,  Hannah, although she’s had a really rubbish time, needed a bit of a kick on this and I’m glad she got it!

The storyline is engrossing.  With each of them having their own mystery to solve, I thoroughly enjoyed their investigations and how they unravelled.  I also really liked the storyline with Craig, and as I’ve mentioned can’t wait to read the first one!  The plot is fast paced, intriguing, dark in places but really entertaining.

For some reason I’m so intrigued by what goes on at a funeral home and love reading about it, so absolutely loved this aspect of the book.  Gruesome but so interesting, and a very real part of our lives.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced investigation, the characters and the plot and look forward to reading more from this author (especially book 1).  Recommended by me!



about the author

Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. 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 – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – 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 player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

Where to find Doug online: Website ~ Twitter ~ GoodReads

tour hosted by

Random Things Tours

Thanks to Anne for inviting me on to the tour, and to Doug and Orenda Books for gifting me with a copy of the book.  All views and opinions are my own.

I hope you all have a good day, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Chelle x

Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase this book through these link, I will receive a small payment (at no additional cost to you).  This is the only form of monetisation on my blog so every little helps and is appreciated.

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