Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands, inaccessible when the wind prevents the ferry crossing from the mainland, or fog grounds the tiny, island-hopping plane.
When human remains are discovered to the rear of an old primary school, forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod and her assistant arrive to excavate the grave. Approaching midwinter, they find daylight in short supply, the weather inhospitable and some of the island’s inhabitants less than co-operative. When the suspicious death of an old man in Glasgow appears to have links with the island, DS Michael McNab is dispatched to investigate. Desperately uncomfortable in such surroundings, he finds that none of the tools of detective work are there. No internet, no CCTV, and no police station.
As the weather closes in, the team – including criminal profiler and Orkney native Professor Magnus Pirie – are presented with a series of unexplained incidents, apparently linked to the discovery of thirteen magic flowers representing the souls of dead children who had attended the island school where the body was discovered. But how and in what circumstance did they die? And why are their long forgotten deaths significant to the current investigation?
As a major storm approaches, bringing gale-force winds and high seas, the islanders turn on one another, as past and present evil deeds collide, and long buried secrets break the surface, along with the exposed bones.
My review: 5/5
The 11th in the Rhona MacLeod series by Lin Anderson and once again I was blown away! This book takes us to the remote Northern island of Sanday where human remains have been discovered and forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod and her assistant Chrissie are brought in to evacuate the grave; meanwhile back in Glasgow McNab is investigating the suspicious death of an elderly man in his flat. When a link between the Glasgow death and the body on Sanday is suspected, McNab volunteers to head off to the island to investigate. With the unpredictable weather turning it is clear that Rhona and McNab will not be leaving the island any time soon and it seems that the longer they are there then the worse the situation becomes, islanders secrets are unearthed, the “outsiders” are heralded with suspicion and at times anger; the plot gives us twists and turns galore! There are plently of “gasp” moments throughout the book and you cannot help but being drawn in hook line and sinker! The research that goes into Lin’s books ensures that they are as realistic as they possibly can be and the reader is treated to an exceptional read.
The defining moment for me in an authors work is when they create a character(s) that you want to invest in and give you a backdrop that you can step right into as soon as you open the pages and Lin does this with everybook she has written, whether on the harsh city streets of Glasgow or the wilderness and isolation of the northernmost Scottish Island of Sanday, as soon as I delve into the pages of Lin’s books I am lost to wherever she has placed me. I have never been to Sanday yet reading None but the Dead, I could feel the squall of the wind and the rain across my face, I tasted the salty seawater on my lips and I shivered as I pulled my blankets around me as the story unfolded.
Dr Rhona MacLeod has become a character I feel that I know, her relationship with Sean in her personal life and the emotional tension between her and DS McNab matter to me – I care about where it is going and how it develops, I want to invest my time in finding out about what makes them tick, their personal and their private lives. Lin has, for me created a winning combination and this is worthy of way more than the 5 stars I can give on this review.
If you haven’t read any of Lin’s Rhona MacLeod’s series then I’d recommend you start now and I’m extremely jealous of anyone still to discover them!
To buy None but The Dead or indeed ALL of Lin’s books then head over to Amazon and get clicking!