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Doug Johnstone has an amazing way with words. His mesmerising writing and dark humour drew me in to the story immediately and I wanted to keep reading until I was finished. Hannah is a physics student and I particularly enjoyed Johnstone's explanations of different theories (in language that a completely not scientific person like me could understand) to describe how we all connected to the wider world.
The Skelf ladies are a formidable bunch and i enjoyed getting closer to them in The Big Chill. Johnstone has created characters here with whom I could really empathise, and as they each narrate their own chapters, the reader gets to see the feelings they might not express in front of others. The reader also meets a number of characters through the Skelf businesses, and I loved how each of these had their own back story, which meant I could connect with them more easily and understand their place within the overall plot.
The Big Chill is set in Edinburgh, and the sense of place within the novel is brilliant. I'm not familiar with the area, but Johnstone's descriptions meant I could walk the streets and picture perfectly what was happening.
Towards the end of the novel, there are some really chilling revelations. The plot becomes explosive and there are several tense moments that I was not expecting!
I look forward to seeing where Johnstone takes the Skelf family next!
The amazing Skelf women are back! After the excellent first book, I was really looking forward to this one! I still love the really unique mix of Private Investigators and Funeral Directors and the interesting stories that come from both sides. While still dealing with the aftermath of the events in the first book, Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah have a lot to deal with, both personally and with their businesses. Each with their own personal missions, yet still pulling together when needed, it was nice to see their vulnerable sides too despite them being very strong women in general. I wished for a long series after finishing the last book and am really pleased to know that there is a third book on the way!
Johnstone has created an ensemble of great female characters and woven a cracking story for them. It's just a shame that there seems to be so many threads left hanging loose at the end. Cliffhangers are fine in episodes of a tv series but not in a book; I feel cheated when I have to wait for the publication of the next book. That said, I nevertheless like this book a lot. The Skelfs books have a pleasing originality, great pacing and explore some interesting themes re. death, family, growing old, relationships, grief and anger. Recommended.
I loved them the first time around and was pleased to renew the acquaintance with this new story.
Full of humour, pathos and a big dose of reality, it is a tightly plotted, engaging story that keeps you hooked. Firmly based in a real Edinburgh, which gives the novel a real sense of people and place. A quirky rabble of relatable characters written with charm and insight.
I was a bit disappointed. After reading the first book I couldn't wait for this one but it wasn't as good as the first (in my opinion). However it ended with a cliffhanger and now I can't wait for the next book in the Skelfs journey