Monday, February 07, 2022

The Bothy (Highlands & Islands Detective, #2) by G.R. Jordan

The Bothy (Highlands & Islands Detective Book 2)The Bothy by G.R. Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bothy quickly became one of those books I didn’t want to put down.

Since successfully closing their first case together, DI Seoras Macleod and DC Hope McGrath have become solid partners on the job and good friends off. Hope helped him pull out of the tailspin that began with his wife’s sudden suicide some 20 years before. Macleod has even started dating Jane Hilsop, a woman he’s beginning to form a close connection with. But now their team has been assigned to an ugly double homicide in the north on Black Isle, and he must leave just as their relationship is heading to the next level.

These latest murders turn out to be particularly heinous: a man and a woman, beheaded and left in a remote bothy* on the beach which has been doused in petrol and set ablaze. On-the-scene police personnel have yet to ID the two bodies when a well-known DJ at the local radio station is reported missing. As the investigation unfolds, they soon discover any number of suspects had a bone to pick with the dead man, and when they learn the identity of the young woman found with him, things really take a bizarre turn.

The Bothy quickly became one of those books I didn’t want to put down. It was exciting and easy-to-read; the author’s writing style placed me in the story right along with the two detectives and their investigation.

Macleod is an interesting character: almost as if he was frozen in time when his wife took her own life – both emotionally and historically. He still deeply loves his dead wife and has only recently begun to release himself from the tragic relationship. At the same time, the world, social norms, and mores have long moved on without him, and although he is aware of the changes around him, he remains an anachronism in his way of thinking about men and women and modern relationships. DC McGrath is helping him catch up with the times, but his very attitude will help them with this case.

The plotline with the Carlton family and their religious belief in a total patriarchy was fascinating. I liked how Hope and Macleod balanced out each other’s reactions to the whole bizarre family situation.

Several great suspects took prominence at different stages of the case, and I’ll have to say my money was definitely on one of the red herrings through most of the book. I enjoyed finding out that it was someone else entirely.

I did have a couple of story continuity issues, which is why I rated this book four stars and not five. In one instance, the detectives race off from a suspect’s home because another suspect’s car has been found and that person has gone missing. They get ambushed inside a dark bothy, and a scuffle ensues, yet both detectives feel their attacker is the man whose home they had come from in the first place. Another problem arose when Hope followed a suspect into a hidden passageway with a trapdoor located in a closet under a stairway. The suspect just went through the trapdoor but was somehow able to replace a vacuum cleaner back on top of the opening?

I enjoyed the first book in the series, Water’s Edge, but I liked this one even more! I’m so glad there are already more books in the series available. I recommend THE BOTHY, book two in the Highlands & Islands Detective series, to mystery readers who enjoy stories of good detective work set in remote, wild locations such as the Scottish Highlands can offer.

• Bothy – a simple, basic structure that can be used as a shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use without charge.

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