Title: The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone
Date Published: 19th August 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
From the discovery of a human foot in a park, to the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband… the stakes have never been higher for the Skelf family
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.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a 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.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.
‘Compelling, compassionate … just brilliant. This series gets better with every book. I cannot get enough of the Skelfs’
Mark Billingham on The Big Chill
I want to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this book tour and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of The Great Silence.in exchange for an honest review.
Ah, it’s lovely to be back with the Skelfs again, it’s a bit like visiting old friends. Dysfunctional old friends, mind you, but highly entertaining at the same time.
This is the third book in the series and I would highly recommend reading the previous books to get a better understanding of the characters and they just happen to be fantastic too!
You know when you read a book and think, where does the author come up with these amazing ideas from? That’s exactly how I felt while reading The Great Silence.
As usual, there are several investigations going at once during the novel. Dorothy discovers a dismembered foot while out walking her dog Einstein. Jenny is busy looking for her ex-husband, who escaped police custody. Hannah is investigating a case where her colleague thinks he’s getting messages from outer space. This is all while running their funeral directing business and dealing with their usual family dramas along the way.
Like the previous books, the storylines are expertly woven together, grabbing you from the outset and making you want to read to the very last page.
Of course, like the other books in the series, there’s some dark themes, i.e. abuse and suicide, but they’re handled with sensitivity by the author.
I heard this might be the last we see of the Skelfs, which I hope is not the case! If it is, then I will say it was a satisfying ending for the trilogy, but I’m crossing my fingers for more stories featuring Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah.
The Great Silence is a captivating and original read that I honestly couldn’t get enough of.
About The Author:
Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.
He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years.
Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo 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.
Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com