Book Review: A Murder of Crows, by Ian Skewis



I listened to this on audiobook through, read by the author himself.

Here’s the blurb:

The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

Russel McLean wrote of this book in 2014: There are shades of Iain Banks’ early works in here, and that is a very good thing.’ He’s dead right.

This is a dark novel with a wide cast of characters, most with their own agendas, and some there just to muddy the waters. A feeling of the preternatural is never far away with this story, and you can’t help but feel that things might just step into the supernatural. But the author manages to prolong both suspense and the sense of foreboding without that happening.

DCI Jack Russell – almost literally a dogged-detective- is our protagonist, but he doesn’t actually play that big a role in the story. He’s there throughout, with a decent secret of his own to spring on the unsuspecting reader, but I think he could have perhaps played a slightly bigger part, maybe by dropping one of the other detectives. That said, everyone has a role to play, and they play it well.

I’ve maybe read a few too many crime novels, as I managed to guess where Alistair was to be found, but I must admit, the killer did catch me by surprise! All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I nearly got annoyed when I thought things weren’t going to be all neatly tied up, but I was saved. Remember: “Nothing ever ends, not really. Everything is a prelude, a prologue, to something else…”

I heard Ian read an extract from A Murder of Crows at Noir at the Bar in Harrogate earlier this year (he’s in the middle, white shirt and tie), and was pleased to be able to listen to the rest on audiobook.



About djpaterson

Reader, Writer, Arithmeticer. Not always in that order.
This entry was posted in Book Review, Books, Crime Fiction, Crime Writing, Thriller. Bookmark the permalink.

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