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Mary Irvine’s Blog: Review of ‘A Murder of Crows’ – A Debut Novel by Ian Skewis

a murder of crows

Have to admit I am not a great reader of the detective novel. However, in order to write a review one does not have to be such. One can review any book on its literary merit. I did, as a teenager - some years ago, own and read those of Agatha Christie. My confession is I always read the denouement and then watched out for the clues as opposed to the red herrings! I have noted most writers of this genre do acknowledge the lady as one of their role models.

Having met Ian on one occasion when the book was embryonic I did, on publication, purchase it for my Kindle and read it in two sittings. I recently read it again when I decided to write a review. I’m not going to re-count the story/plot as this has already been done. The way the characters were introduced drew me in as it’s always interesting, in any genre, to discover how they are all connected. It also clarifies each character. To introduce several too soon often leads to confusion. The short chapters with the gradual revelations worked well. The setting was perfect and evoked mind pictures even if not familiar with the locale. In a clever way Ian managed to link nature with events in the plot.

In respect of the characters I was pleased they were not stereotyped, all coming across as human beings with lives apart from their work. The characters do come alive and are well differentiated from each other. It was more credible to see the two ’partners’ not having such a good relationship as the ‘inspector and the sergeant’ often do in TV series. In fact, talking of TV series maybe this could lend itself to an easy small screen adaptation.

One character treated with respect and understanding was Alice, a sympathetic lady in many ways who plays an important role in the plot. Particularly pleasing was that the many layered plot, over which Ian kept tight control, not overshadowing the characters.

If I have any misgivings it was the first person narratives which were a tad too long but the unpredictable cliff hanger ending worked well and leaves the door open for a second book - or does it? Maybe we are going to be taken back to ‘How it all started?’ so we can follow the career of Jack Russell… I do believe I’m tempted to read the follow-up…

A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis Kindle Edition £2.99 Paperback £9.99 (amazon)

Buy at Unbound Books

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty, Book Launch, Waterstones Sauchiehall Street, Thursday 10 August, 2017
Wildest of All by P.K. Lynch, Book Launch, The Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar,31 August, 2017
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Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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