Hello! Today I’m pleased to welcome you to JuliaPalooza for my stop on the Blog Tour for THE BIG CHILL by Doug Johnstone, which is available now (links below).
About the book
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?
Having really enjoyed the first Skelfs book, A Dark Matter, earlier this year, I jumped at the opportunity to read the second part; I didn’t even read the synopsis, I was just in! *FYI The Big Chill includes huge wide-ranging spoilers for A Dark Matter so please do yourself a favour and read that first. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
It immediately felt both comfortable and comforting to be back with the Skelfs. Despite the title and the dark subject matter(s) there is something very warm about this family and the books.
I like the variety of PI cases, funeral arrangements and personal matters and the different viewpoints of Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah. Einstein is sweetness personified (caninified??) There’s several twisty-turny strands in The Big Chill, each with shocking truths and brutally heartbreaking emotions. Nonetheless the book still manages to be also witty and hopeful.
The descriptions of Edinburgh are very evocative. I’ve only been once but Doug Johnstone‘s writing brings its grand charm and atmosphere brilliantly to life, beyond the normal tourist images.
I’m thrilled to see there is a third book due out next year and look forward to catching up with the Skelfs again.
Huge thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of The Big Chill and to Random Things Tours for my spot.
About the author
Doug Johnstone is the author of more than 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.
About the Blog Tour
Please check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on the tour for The Big Chill: