Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott

A Small Death in the Great Glen is the debut title by A.D. Scott, and I am eagerly awaiting the follow up to be released next summer. The story is set in the Highlands of Scotland in 1956. It’s already intriguing from an American point of view: the accents, the atmosphere, and the customs. Then we have a great cast of characters, many of them working at the weekly gazette of the small village all of them live in: Joanne Ross, the battered wife; McAllister, editor and keeper of secrets; Rob Mclean, eager young investigative reporter; Travelers; runaway Polish exiles; expatriate Italians; priests and policemen; gossips; and rogue politicians.

Of equal weight, are time and place. The setting is so beautifully detailed and lovingly drawn that it is a character in itself: the gray stones of the village, the vast sweeps of the glens. And a small village in Scotland in post war 50’s: the missing young men, the damaged ones that returned, the dour conservatism, the importance of music, the sly Celtic charm.

When a small boy is murdered, the staff of the paper becomes involved in an investigation to uncover the murderer, each for his own reasons. Ancient superstitions and modern prejudices as well as greed and corruption all interfere with finding the truth. But along the way, the characters, especially Joanne and McAllister, find out what they are made of, and what is critically important to them. Their pasts, their present, and what they want from the future finally become clear as they work to right the wrong done to a small boy.

Ms. Scott creates a colorful, fascinating world and a suspenseful story. Richly developed characters, and a tautly plotted adventure make this novel hard to put down. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series (and I do hope it’s a series). Ms. Scott is to be congratulated. I find it difficult to believe this is a debut novel. It has the feel of a very seasoned writer. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Publisher: Atria; Original edition (August 3, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1439154937
ISBN-13: 978-1439154939

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