Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book leaves you guessing until the last minute, and then it leaves you with an ending that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

About the Book

A remote Scottish estate. A missing teenager.

When a young archaeologist discovers bones at the site of her Bronze Age broch on Gallows Hill, the community of Kilbroch hold their breath. Ex-detective Callum MacGarvey came to work on the estate in order to escape from his past, but when a friend asks for his help, he cannot refuse. Missing teenager Robbie MacBride’s grandmother wants answers. She doesn’t believe what the family tell her, and Callum finds himself reluctantly drawn into a historic missing person case. He suspects that everyone is hiding a secret, including George Strabane, the landowner whom Callum works for.

While the police believe Robbie ran away from home more than a decade ago, not everyone is convinced. The archaeologist, Laura, ex-detective, Callum MacGarvey and Robbie’s grandmother continue to investigate, while Robbie’s sister, the silent Ruthie, remains haunted by her childhood flashbacks. Sometimes the truth is so dark, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

My Thoughts

Because of the remote, atmospheric setting, this reads almost like a locked room mystery. Only so many people might have committed the crime – if there’s even a crime at all. The story explores some dark societal issues while uncovering the mystery of a lost young boy. And the ending will leave you shook.

I really enjoyed the main characters in this book. They’re absolutely flawed characters, but they’re loveable in their stern, antisocial natures. They’re all hiding in the gorgeous area around Gallow Falls for a reason. Everyone has their secrets, says one character at one point. And that rings true for these characters, as it does for many of us. I enjoyed getting to know Callum, our former detective turned one-time private detective and his older friend who tasks him with detecting. The young archaeologist is also a delightful character.

I enjoyed the relationships introduced and built within the story. The author excels at writing friendships, and complicated familial relationships.

The mystery is cold and twisty, hard to uncover, which always makes it that much more interesting to see the characters work to uncover it. This isn’t billed as a cozy mystery, but it could fit into the crossover category because the detective is no longer a cop and his accidental assistant is an amateur.

I look forward to reading more by the author, and I’m grateful the author and Love Books Tours included me in the tour.

Who’s It For?

If you love a twisty, mystery, you’ll love this story. If you love a gruff detective foiled against a young, hopeful amateur, you’ll also love it.

Content Warning: Child Abuse, Violence Against Women, Child Death, Suicide, Police Corruption

About the Author

Alex Nye is the author of EVEN THE BIRDS GROW SILENT, and is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund at the University of Glasgow. She grew up in Norfolk by the sea, but has lived in Scotland for most of her adult life where she finds much of her inspiration in Scottish history. At the age of 16 she won the W H Smith Young Writers’ Award out of 33,000 entrants, and has been writing ever since. Her first children’s novel, CHILL, won the Royal Mail Award. Previous titles include FOR MY SINS about Mary Queen of Scots, ARGUING WITH THE DEAD, a novel about the life of Mary Shelley, WHEN WE GET TO THE ISLAND, DARKER ENDS, and the classic Kelpies series CHILL and SHIVER. She divides her time between walking the dog, swimming, scribbling in notebooks in strange places, staring at people without meaning to, and tapping away on her laptop. She also teaches and delivers atmospheric candlelit workshops on creative writing/ghost stories/Scottish history. She studied at King’s College, London more years ago than she cares to remember.

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