Author: Peter May
Why did I read it? I had read and enjoyed Peter May‘s Hebrides trilogy of crime fiction, and had erroneously thought this was the fourth. I had a credit on my Audible account, so used it to pre-order this.
What’s it about? A man with amnesia washes up on a beach, barely alive, but feeling as though he has done the most terrible thing. He attempts to discover where he is, why he’s there, and just who he is without alerting anyone to his memory loss – terrified his dreadful secret will be too much to bear.
A teenager struggles to cope with her mother’s ability to move on with life following the death of her father, and sets out to find out more about him, little knowing the dire consequences her search will have on herself, and others.
A body is found on a the remote Flannan Isles in the Outer Hebrides, and it is up to Detective George Gunn to find out how he was killed, and how he came to this remote rock, 20 miles west of any civilisation.
As the book progresses, these three people grow ever closer to the truth.
It is uncannily hard hard to describe this book without destroying the mystery. There are several voices in the book, most notably Neil’s, the man we meet first washed up on the beach.
What did I like? I loved the opening, as I was caught right from the moment Neal washes up on the beach. I was eager to know where the story would take me. And, just was I was becoming engrossed in his story, there is a switch to the teenage Karen’s life, and suddenly I start making connections.
The story is so well paced that you don’t feel like matters are being dragged out, or that you are racing towards the end. There are a few red herrings, and a twist or two, though nothing to frustrate the reader. I note other readers were critical of the change between first person, and third person narrative, but I felt it created a good separation/barrier in the stories.
Once again, the landscapes are described beautifully by the author, and one almost feels as though the land, and sea are characters themselves.
Peter Forbes did an excellent job as narrator, each word was clear and precise.
What didn’t I like? Only one little quibble with the recording, which I had up loud as I did other tasks, was being able to hear papers turning. Still, the recording from Audible was clear!
Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Love crime fiction? Read, or listen to Coffin Road. Like stories set in beautiful landscapes, particularly Scotland? Read, or listen to Coffin Road.