Friday 26 February 2016

Coffin Road by Peter May

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights. (

What we thought: I admit to being a huge fan of Peter May’s writing, his style very much like my own, takes a location and makes it into a character in its own right. Here he comes home ... back to Scotland ... and achieves some of his best descriptive writing in his latest novel, Coffin Road, where we visit some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes mixed with his usual blend of gritty and intelligent crime fiction.

When a man is washed up on a remote Hebridean beach, suffering from amnesia, and scared of all of the things he may have done that he can’t remember, then you know you’re in for an interesting ride. If Neal Maclane isn’t actually Neal Maclane … who on earth is he?

Peter May uses a very clever blend of POV to keep the reader on the edge of their seats. If the central character doesn’t know who to trust, it makes it even more entertaining for the reader trying to work out who are the bad guys in the plot.

I also like the way the author brings in real issues to balance out the fictional crime story. In previous books of his we have touched on toxins and world starvation, and here the plight of the bumble bee and pesticide's possible side-effects on the bee population, lead to a huge cover up that ends in murder. The ending is a high tension rollercoaster that will keep every crime fiction fan grinning from ear to ear. Crime writing doesn't get much better than this in my opinion!

As ever in May’s writing, the pace is relentless, the location spine-tingling, the characters as real as you and I, and the dialogue perfection. This time I listened to the audio version, and have to say that Peter Forbes is fast becoming one of my favourite narrators.

Whatever your literary tastes, this is an author you must add to your reading list – trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Ann Cleeves, Peter James, Ian Rankin.

Avoid if you don’t like: Remote Scottish islands and bees.

Ideal accompaniments: Haggis and peas with a single malt.

Genre: Crime thriller.

Available from Amazon

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