#BookReview Doug Johnstone #TheGreatSilence @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks

The Great Silence (The Skelfs Book 3) by [Douglas  Johnstone, Doug Johnstone]
Source: publisher ARC

I absolutely LOVE Doug Johnstone’s writing and his latest books featuring The Skelfs have featured highly in my MUST read lists! I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the last in the trilogy, The Great Silence.

Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:

Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series, and the stakes are higher than ever.

My thoughts

Did I tell you how much I love Doug Johnstone’s writing? No, are you sure? Well, I do, I think he has talent oozing from his fingertips and I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. Now, it is the last in the trilogy, but it can be read on its own as there is enough backstory there to engage new readers, without overloading existing fans with too much old information.

The opening paragraph brought a smile to my face as it describes almost every morning for me…but obviously not exactly as I can’t say my morning dog walk has ever resulted in Cooper presenting me with a foot!

The three generations of Skelf women, Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah are extraordinary characters who he manages to portray as quite ordinary, and as such touch the heart of readers. I love each of them equally from Dorothy and her middle finger to the social stereotypes of how women of a certain age should behave; Jenny and her worries about her mum (Dorothy) and daughter (Hannah), I totally clicked with her right from the start of the series and Hannah who is refreshing in her openness and honestly but still tied up in her own emotional turmoil. Together, they are dynamite.

Doug Johnstone effortlessly picks up his readers and places them in the heart of the story with scene setting that is simply exquisite. I defy you to read this series and not find yourself in the heart of Edinburgh.

There’s a real dark macabre humour to this final instalment, there is to all of his books but The Great Silence provides more than one WTAF laugh out loud moments, with big cats, aliens and lots of death!

I think Doug Johnstone could write his shopping list on the back of an envelope and still manage to make the words talk to his readers, he really is an outstanding writer who deserves to win award after award after award.

It was bittersweet reading this book, knowing it was the last in the trilogy. I could almost see Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah stand at their door waving me goodbye as I turned the last page. I’m sad to see them go but delighted I got the chance to be a part of their lives.

Doug and Orenda…please bring them back!

The Great Silence is available to purchase via


Orenda Books

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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