Monday 5 September 2022

From The Shadows by GR Halliday #FromTheShadows @gr_halliday @vintagebooks #DIMonicaKennedy #BookReview


Seven days. Four deaths. One chance to catch a killer.

Sixteen-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom. Robert is never seen alive again.

A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy is drawn into the murder investigation and she has a feeling that the case won't begin and end with this one death.

Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message; 
Nichol Morgan has been missing for seven days.

As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.

From The Shadows by G R Halliday was published in paperback on 20 February 2020 by Vintage. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I'm very late to this party, but oh my goodness, I am so glad that I discovered G R Halliday's writing and his fabulous detective Monica Kennedy. This is crime fiction at its best, it's dark and deadly, compelling and chilling and I was gripped from that incredible opening, right through to the final paragraph. 

Halliday's setting of the Scottish Highlands and Inverness adds so much to this story, the desolate and eerie environment makes for the perfect setting for some horrific and brutal killings. It is clear that the author knows and loves the setting, the descriptions are wonderfully done.

The body of a teenage boy is found, brutally slain and with a black stone lodged in his throat. Monica Kennedy is heading up the investigation and it is not long before another body is found, it's obviously the same killer. Is there a serial killer lose in the Highlands? Monica is an interesting character, her appearance is unusual, her home life is chaotic and she has many issues with her superiors and colleagues too. Michael Bach is a social worker and one of his clients is missing, he is very concerned about this and suspects that there are links to the killings. Both Monica and Michael are not averse to bending the rules somewhat, as long as they get the job done, they will do it their way. Whilst this may move things along, it will also get them into trouble, and danger. 

This is a complex and multi layered crime story, with multiple characters and many suspects. Interwoven through the investigative part of the narrative, the reader hears from a character called The Watcher; a mysterious, anonymous voice whose words are chilling.

This is dark, the killings are violent and the prose is very descriptive. It's so very well done though and never feels gratuitous or sensational.

This is a great start to a new detective series, it is gripping and atmospheric and cleverly constructed. I look forward to reading the next instalment. 

G.R. Halliday was born in Edinburgh and grew up near Stirling in Scotland. 

He spent his childhood obsessing over the unexplained mysteries his father investigated, which has proved excellent inspiration for 
From the Shadows

The book was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Debut Prize 2019. 

G.R. Halliday now lives in the rural Highlands outside of Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and swimming in the sea, before returning home to his band of semi-feral cats. 

Twitter @gr_halliday

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