Monday, 25 June 2018
Coffin Road by Peter May
There's no faffing around with the mystery in Coffin Road by Peter May. You are plunged straight into it, from the very first page.
A man is washed up on a lonely bleak beach on the Isle of Harris. He's barely alive, suffering from hypothermia and major memory loss. He has no idea who he is, where he is and how he happened to be in that place. Stumbling away from the sea, he's greeted by an elderly lady, who calls him by his name (Neal McLean) and accompanies him home, of which he has no recognition.
The house gives no clues to his identity. The only possible pointer is the old map, with a track called the Coffin Road traced in it. What does it mean? Where does the road lead, and what is he going to find there?
Somewhere deep in his subconsciousness there is a feeling of dread and unease. And when Neal discovers a body on a remote isle, he is terrified that he might be the killer.
His memory is wiped clean, and he doesn't know anything about himself.
The body that Neal sees is eventually discovered by the tourists. The remote isle is known as the place where a mystery happened a century before, when three lighthouse keepers have disappeared without a trace.
DS George Gunn must find out the identity of the recent murder victim, and solve the mystery.
There is a parallel story unravelling of a teenage girl called Karen Fleming. Her father disappeared two years earlier, presumed dead (suicide). The mother quickly finds solace in the arms of her boss.
Both mother and daughter are hard to like or relate to.
Karen is one of those young women who rebel against any authority, she is awful towards her teachers, and though, supposedly smart, is pretty stupid when it comes to getting (or not) an education. Rather than employing her brain and doing something for her future, she goes all defiant, malcontent and plain nasty and covers her body with tattoos, resembling a human carpet.
She doesn't want to accept the fact that her father is dead. Having seen his farewell note, she is convinced that he father would not just disappear, or kill himself.
Her father Tom was a dedicated scientist, whose research on the bee population and the effects of the chemicals on their brain is highly sensitive.
Are the big corporations behind her father's disappearance?
Will Neal recover his memory? Will Karen discover the truth about her father? And will the identity of the murder on the distant rock be ever found?
This book will appeal to fans of conspiracy theory novels, or eco-thrillers.
There were some rather implausible moments, regarding Neal's behaviour. A beautiful woman arrives in his cottage, he has no memory of who she is, but is happy to have a heated sex session with her.
The best bits for me were the descriptions of nature, you could almost feel the wind and taste the salty sea.
I haven't read Peter May's books before, but will see if I can find any other in The Works (this book was on 3 for a fiver deal).