Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton
Simon & Schuster: 2/11/20
eBook review copy; 312 pages
Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is a very highly recommended atmospheric mystery/thriller.
Scottish reporter Rebecca Connolly learns that suspected murderer
Drummond will be returning to the Hebridean island of Stoirm to attend
his mother's funeral. Fifteen years earlier his girlfriend Mhairi was
murdered, and, even though he was not convicted, Roddie is guilty in
the eyes of many islanders. He left the island immediately after the
trial and hasn't been back since. His return will certainly stir up
resentments and trouble. Rebecca has other, personal, reasons for
wanting to visit the island so she goes ahead and travels there in
defiance of her editor. She is looking into both the story of Mhairi's
murder and her own family history.
Thunder Bay is a beautifully written mystery/thriller. Skelton
introduces the large cast of characters via their interactions in the
local social structure as Rebecca begins her investigation. All the
characters are complex and
well-developed, and the island, "it's an island thing," is as much a
character as the people
in this atmospheric mystery. Secrets abound on the island. Rebecca's
interactions and the answers she receives to the questions she is asking
perfectly captures the social culture and setting.
As the plot advances, the information Rebecca is uncovering begins to
create a tension. This tension increases and builds incrementally until
it is palpable. The hostility and unease she experiences is from both
her investigation of the murder, as well as questions about her family's
history on the island. As in any closed, tightly knit community, there
are secrets and resentments that people have kept hidden. Skelton uses
flashbacks to enhance the plot and tell some of the backstory. I enjoyed
this novel immensely, but have to admit that I was disappointed with
the reveal of the secret that made Rebecca's father leave the island
My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.