Hello! Today I’m pleased to welcome you to JuliaPalooza for my stop on the Blog Tour for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, which is published by Orenda Books and is available now (links below).
About the book
After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series.
The Skelfs are a 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 women, 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… It ’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.
A Dark Matter is a unique and quirky mystery that will grab your attention from the very first sentence. The descriptions in that opening scene are laced with the darkest of black humour, a trait which continues throughout the book.
This really is a multi-faceted and intelligent story, multiple mysteries, at times a black comedy, an emotional family drama and a PI investigation, with genuinely thrilling and shocking moments.
I did struggle a little at first to ground myself in the story: there was a lot of background information listed for the reader in one go, rather than me feeling I was there in the developing action with the Skelfs.
However, I soon got used to Doug Johnstone’s style and I was gripped; fully engaged with the different plot strands and with the developing mysteries surrounding each of the three strong Skelf women, Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah.
I loved the way Johnstone moved the narrative between the brilliantly conceived main characters, whetting our appetite for each strand, expertly keeping each plate spinning and the pace building. As the story raced towards its perfect conclusion(s) I really did not want it to end! And neither will you.
This has been my first Doug Johnstone book but I know he has earlier books to explore and I definitely want to read more about the Skelfs.
With huge thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of A Dark Matter and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join the blog tour.
About the author
Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted 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 – including a funeral home – 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.
About the Blog Tour
Please check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on the tour for A Dark Matter: