#BlogTour – #BookReview of #ADarkMatter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheSkelfs #Edinburgh

I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the magnificent A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this outstanding new book.

About the book:


After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series

The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

About the author:


Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin.

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years.

Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player- manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club.

He lives in Edinburgh.

My Review:

A Dark Matter is the first in a brand new series by Scottish author Doug Johnstone. From its opening pages I knew I was going to love this brilliant, surprising and page turning marvel of a novel. It sucked me in from the very first word and didn’t let go until the final page had been turned. A darkly funny rollercoaster of a read, this is a book full of shocks and intrigue, but also one that has a warm centre running through it that captures your heart.

After the unexpected death of patriarch Jim, well known Edinburgh family the Skelfs, proprietors of not only a long established funeral home but also a Private Investigation business,  suddenly find themselves in charge of both businesses, leading to a series of unexpected and shocking events. Jim’s wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah, all grieving the loss of their husband, father and grandfather, struggle to come to terms with their newfound responsibilities – and then the adultery case Jenny takes on suddenly becomes even stranger and far darker than they could ever have imagined.

I think one of the things I loved most about A Dark Matter was that it wasn’t only a thrilling crime novel with all the twists and turns you would expect it to have, but was also the story of a family in turmoil, who are trying to come to terms with not only the death of a loved one, but also the long held secrets that now begin to emerge, secrets that have the potential to change everything they thought they knew. I fell in love with these strong but flawed women from the outset, as they tried their best to keep the business going, each contributing to it in their own unique way.

As the different threads of the story begin to come together, the pace quickens and the tension increases, leading to a shocking denouement that quite simply takes your breath away. I loved every moment of this brilliantly written and well plotted thriller and can’t wait to see what direction author Doug Johnstone is going to take this trio of Skelf women next!

A fantastic addition to the Orenda stable of books, A Dark Matter is not only an outstanding crime thriller but also a story that’s filled to the brim with heart and dark humour. A brilliant read that once started I could not put down!

Highly recommended.

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone is available to buy in ebook format now and in paperback  from January 23rd 2020: Amazon UK

Check out what these other fabulous bloggers have to say about this book:


2 thoughts on “#BlogTour – #BookReview of #ADarkMatter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheSkelfs #Edinburgh

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