I’m ashamed to say that this book has been languishing on my #TBR pile for a while now! I’ve wanted to read it for ages, especially after hearing Ian reading from it at Noir in the Bar in Edinburgh earlier this year and that cover! Talk about #Covergasmic!
What the blurb says:
The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.
A young couple takes 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…
A Murder of Crows is an intense literary experience that takes the reader on a terrifying and sinister journey where we meet a cast of dark and charismatic characters all caught up in the disappearance of a young couple. I felt that whole “small village” sense creeping in, you know the kind where everyone knows everyone else, where strangers are not welcome and there is just that strange atmosphere that hangs over the place. The language and description used will set you firmly in the midst of it all and the picture is cleverly painted by the author attacking your every sense through the pages. It was quite unsettling to read, not gory or gruesome just a sense of foreboding created by the author in this dark and atmospheric debut.
Some of the characters were particularly unlikeable, some were difficult to warm to but each of them drew me towards them like a moth to a flame as I followed DCI Jack Russell’s race to catch the killer. I could say so much about each of the characters but I don’t want to give anything away. However, when I read about Alice I was engrossed, her character has dementia and Ian managed to portray her periods of confusion and lucidity with such accuracy but sensitivity that I found myself feeling quite emotional as I read. I could feel her bewilderment and fear as she experienced periods of fugue followed by the clarity that there was something wrong but unable to put her finger on what it was, the description of sundowning was so very accurate that I think Ian has to be commended for his sensitive approach to the condition in his book.
A Murder of Crows is certainly a descriptive and literary novel; it is not a wham bam fast-paced kind of read, although the plot is dark and sinister; it is a deep read that explores some quite dark themes of loss, grief and abuse; it provides a real depth of character, narrative and prose which is perfect for those who like to get lost in the pages.
A Murder of Crows is an excellent debut novel from Ian Skewis and I look forward to seeing where he takes us next.
A Murder of Crows is available from: