Review: Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton

Title: Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 312 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Stoirm’s secrets are worth killing for in this gripping thriller for readers of All the Missing Girls and Neon Prey.

When reporter Rebecca Connolly gets a tip that suspected murderer Roddie Drummond will be returning to the island of Stoirm, she smells a story. Though never convicted in the death of his girlfriend Mhairi fifteen years earlier, Drummond is still guilty in the eyes of many islanders, and his return for his mother’s funeral is sure to stir up old resentments, hatreds, possibly even violence. Rebecca has another reason for going to Stoirm. Her own father came from there, but he never went back, and he always refused to speak of it or say what drove him away.

Defying her editor, Rebecca joins forces with local photographer Chazz Wymark to dig into the mystery surrounding Mhairi’s death and her unexplained last words, “Thunder Bay”—the secluded spot on the west coast of the island where, according to local lore, the souls of the dead set off into the afterlife. When a string of violent events erupts across the island, Rebecca discovers the power of secrets, and she must decide what to bury, and what to bring into the light.

Longlisted for Bloody Scotland’s McIlvanney Prize for best crime book of the year, Thunder Bay has been hailed as “Immersive, compelling . . . [with a] jaw-dropping climax” (Neil Broadfoot, author of the MacGregor and Drummond thrillers).


Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is an atmospheric mystery set on the island of Stoirm.

Reporter Rebecca Connolly defies her editor to pursue a story when acquitted killer Roddy Drummond returns to Stoirm after a fifteen year absence.   Despite the jury’s verdict, no one believes he is innocent of the brutal murder of his then girlfriend Mhairi Sinclair. Working with local photographer Chaz Wymark, Rebecca successfully interviews some of the key players in the tragedy.   In an insular community that protects its own, is there any chance that Rebecca will uncover the truth about who murdered Mhairi?

Rebecca is sensitive to the painful wounds of those who are still mourning Mhairia’s loss. She delicately asks questions and patiently waits for her interviewees feel comfortable confiding in her. Unfortunately, not everyone is receptive to her presence so she meets plenty of resistance.  However, Rebecca is learning just enough to pique her curiosity and she remains hopeful she will find out if Roddy is, in fact, Mhairi’s killer. But if Rhoddy did not murder Mahairi, then who did?

Rebecca has a secondary reason for visiting Stoirm. Her father left the island as a young man and he would never talk about his past. Now that he has passed away, Rebecca is hoping his ex-girlfriend will fill in the gaps in her family’s history. But is she prepared for the truth about her family’s stunning history?

Thunder Bay is a mesmerizing novel with an intriguing mystery, a distinctive setting and interesting characters.  As Rebecca soon learns, the close-knit community and families protect their own. Her persistence pays off but unfortunately, Roddy’s return revives old resentments and frustrations. With shocking plot twists, Douglas Skelton brings this multi-layered mystery to a very dramatic conclusion.

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Filed under Arcade Crimewise, Contemporary, Douglas Skelton, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Thunder Bay

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