I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Lin Anderson’s “Time for the Dead”, which is the 14th in the Rhona MacLeod series. I am a huge fan of Lin’s work and every year I wait with baited breath for my annual fix of Rhona MacLeod, so it is an honour to be a part of this tour!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Time for the Dead is a gripping crime novel by Lin Anderson and sees forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod discover that a terrifying war is unfolding on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
When forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod returns to her roots on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, a chance encounter in the woods behind a nearby activities centre leads her to what seems to be a crime scene, but without a victim. Could this be linked to a group of army medics, who visited the centre while on leave from Afghanistan and can no longer be located on the island?
Enlisting the help of local tracker dog Blaze, Rhona starts searching for a connection.
Two days later a body is found at the base of the famous cliff known as Kilt Rock, face and identity obliterated by the fall, which leads Rhona to suspect the missing medics may be on the island for reasons other than relaxation. Furthermore, elements of the case suggests a link with an ongoing operation in Glasgow, which draws DS Michael McNab into the investigation.
As the island’s unforgiving conditions close in, Rhona must find out what really happened to the group in Afghanistan, as the consequences may be being played out in brutal killings on Skye . . .
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Lin Anderson is Queen of the killer hook opening and in Time for the Dead she does it again! Drawing you in from the very first page , she places you in the heart of the storyline. Her expertise at scene setting leads the reader straight into a sensory overload of fear and terror. I almost wanted to put my hands over my eyes to read!
Rhona MacLeod has travelled from Afghanistan to Skye in Time for the Dead and Lin Anderson quickly drags the reader from the midst of a war torn country to the bitter winter of Skye creating a totally authentic sense of place. Immerse yourself in this book and you will find yourself travelling the world without even leaving your armchair!
The blurb above gives you all the information you need about the storyline. It is perfectly executed with past, present, Scotland and Afghanistan all blending together to provide the reader with a truly magnificent and intense reading experience. The chapters where the voice of the woman who speaks to us from both Skye and Afghanistan, are both compelling and disturbing to read.
I feel like I’ve grown alongside Rhona, McNab and the team throughout this series. Every time I start a new book, it feels like I’m opening the door and stepping in to a family gathering – but a gathering with a dark and twisted difference. I love being a part of this family, I am completely invested in their lives and closing the last page of the book always brings me a sense of sadness, knowing that I won’t see them for another year!
Rhona MacLeod is a complex character without being a caricature; each book sees another layer peeling off to reveal another aspect of her life. But with each reveal comes another area to be explored which means the series is kept fresh and vibrant and never stale.
It’s also no secret that I have a bit of a character crush on DS Michael McNab; I don’t care how messed up he is in the head when it comes to relationships, this man makes my heart go BOOM! Mind you, I think he is currently torn between some very deep feelings for Rhona alongside his current partner, Ellie MacMillan. Oh what a tangled mess McNab!
Lin Anderson has created a cast of characters who truly come to life for me in this series; I’ve travelled the length and breadth of Scotland with them and sometimes further beyond; their world becoming mine I really felt for Rhona in this novel, although she tries hard to put a front on things, what happened to her in the Sin Eater case has affected her badly; she reflects a lot about her past work and fans of the series will love the little references to older cases which come to the fore in her reflections.
The pressures of trying to maintain a sense of normality are wearing her down; Lin Anderson uses her character to sensitively explore a number of issues including PTSD; drug wars, the Afghanistan conflict and the shocking lack of support for military personnel when they are discharged.
Highly topical and sadly realistic, Time for The Dead sees past and present collide in a reflective but thrilling investigation. A perfectly executed plot, cleverly crafted and well drawn characters combined with an impeccable sense of place bring this book to life.
Finally I have to give a special mention to one character, in particular; Blaze, the tracker dog. Blaze is actually a real dog, a Border Collie, who takes guided tours around the Isle of Skye with his wee brother, Laoch. Their dad does the driving and carries the tennis balls! You can check out their page at Blaze’n’Trails and the word on the street is that there may be some personal appearances from Blaze and Laoch (affectionately known as Wii Shiite) at some book festivals this year!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
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Lin Anderson is a Scottish author and screenwriter known for her bestselling crime series featuring forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod. Four of her novels have been longlisted for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, with Follow the Dead being a 2018 finalist. Her short film River Child won both a Scottish BAFTA for Best Fiction and the Celtic Film Festival’s Best Drama award and has now been viewed more than one million times on YouTube. Lin is also the co-founder of the international crime writing festival Bloody Scotland, which takes place annually in Stirling.