Eeeeek! When I was asked to take part in the Bloody Scotland blog tour, I am sure my squeals of excitement could be heard all the way up in Stirling! This is one of my favourite crime festivals, where some of my all time favourite authors can be found – So YES! YES! YES! was my immediate response to that! Huge thank you to Fiona Brownlee for asking me and for the ARC which I gratefully received to read/review! All credit to Paul Reich for the fab photos and remember peeps, next year the festival will run from Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd September 2018, so mark your calendar’s now!
There are twelve FANTASTIC contributors to this Bloody Scotland Anthology – so what I am going to do is give my overall rating and then briefly mention each of the short stories and their author. I will end with my FAVOURITE out of the bunch and surprisingly….or maybe not….it comes from this years McIlvanney Prize Winner – Denise Mina! So let’s get started!
About The Book:
In Bloody Scotland a selection of Scotland’s best crime writers use the sinister side of the country’s built heritage in stories that are by turns gripping, chilling and redemptive.
Stellar contributors Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Gordon Brown, Craig Robertson, E S Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride explore the thrilling potential of Scotland’s iconic sites and structures. From murder in an Iron Age broch and a macabre tale of revenge among the furious clamour of an eighteenth century mill, to a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and a rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin, this collection uncovers the intimate – and deadly – connections between people and places.
Prepare for a dangerous journey into the dark shadows of our nation’s buildings – where passion, fury, desire and death collide.
My Rating: 5/5
WOW! WOW! WOW! – what a superb line up of authors to curl up to and read over a matter of hours. I devoured each short story and was in awe of the fabulous history that fell alongside them all.
Various themes lure the reader into the pages of this book and include such things as: loss; love; grief; history; revenge; resentment; anger; power & control; desperation; the past; escapism; fear; sadness and justice – all the makings of some excellent crime stories! It was like a wee recipe of greatness rolled up into 291 pages of completely compelling suspense!
The stories were set in various locations across Scotland and I loved that pictures were included to show the reader the exact location that they were reading about. For me, this added to the mystery and suspense as I read each story picturing exactly where it had taken place.
Lin Anderson starts off the Anthology with an eery, haunting Nordic noir feel short story Maeshowe – Orkahaugr. I was reminded very much of Edgar Alan Poe when I read this story. Next I was captivated by Val McDermid’s The Hermit’s Castle- Ancient and Modern which was a melancholic but highly entertaining read with fantastic descriptive narrative. E.S. Thomson then took over in Stanley Mills – Kissing the Shuttle. It was a bit of a slow starter for me, but when the pace picked up, I was catapulted to the ending and will never look at a …well, I can’t give that away, now can I!? Doug Johnstone took me on an intense and suspenseful read filled with desperation and difficult choices in Painting The Forth Bridge – great story!
Then came Christopher Brookmyre with The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle. I absolutely LOVED this! The use of Scottish lingo in the narrative and realism in terms of the characters had me hooked! As usual, Mr Brookmyre packed the pages with #AllTheBooms and I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I wonder if he will be welcomed at Bothwell Castle anymore…Kinneil House was the setting for Sara Sheridan’s Sanctuary which was a haunting tale of almost a ghost story crossed with crime fiction. Stuart MacBridedid not fail to impress me with Stevenson’s Candle at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. Funny, dark and oh-so-twisted, I was absolutely blown away with the ending and was TOTALLY wrong when I thought I had it all figured out! Brilliant! The next destination was Crookston Castle where Gordon Brown gives us a History Lesson! Highly emotive and cleverly written, I really enjoyed how this story played out. Louise Welsh takes us to Crossraguel Abbey in her story entitled Come Friendly Bombs. An interesting story that was a bit of a slow burner for me, if I am honest – but good overall!
Craig Robertson – what a twisted soul! Mr Robertson takes us to St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross in his story The Twa Corbies of Cardross – loved this story! Dark, haunting and oh so wonderfully written. I wanted more by the time it had ended! I am going to skip Denise Mina – for now…and end this summary with the final story from Ann Cleeves called The Return (Mousa Broch) – this was a wee gem too! I loved how the story unfolded and the deception and suspense injected in the pages had me hooked.
As mentioned earlier, my FAVOURITE story out of the whole anthology, had to be Denise Mina’s Nemo Me Impune Lacessit which takes place at Edinburgh Castle. OMFG! What an absolutely dark, twisted and masterfully written tale. It was eery, creepy and deliciously devious. The title of this story means: Cross Me and Suffer – and holy shitballs, peeps…take that in the literal sense!! This was one compelling and extremely addictive read and I sooooo wanted more when it ended. I actually said WTF quite a few times. Brilliant! BRILLIANT!! With writing like this, it is no surprise that Denise Mina won the McIlvanney Prize this year….well deserved!!
So that is my summary/review of this fabulous anthology that gets a MASSIVE Hell Yeah recommendation from me! Grab a copy from the link below or head over to amazon yourself. You will not be disappointed. I also urge that you check out ALL these authors novels and series as they are some of the best out there! Happy reading, #bookjunkies!