Review: The Blood Is Still by Douglas Skelton

Title: The Blood Is Still by Douglas Skelton
Rebecca Connolly Series Book Two
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 353 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Investigative journalist Rebecca Connolly returns in this riveting, immersive thriller from the author of Thunder Bay—for readers of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, and Denise Mina

When a man in eighteenth-century Highland dress is found dead on the site of the Battle of Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie led his forces to a rout seared into Scottish memory, Rebecca Connolly takes up the case for the Chronicle. A controversial film about the rebellion and battle is being shot nearby, and it has drawn the ire of the right-wing nationalist movement Spirit of the Gael. Is there some link between the murder—the weapon used to impale the man leaves no doubt it was murder—and Spirit of the Gael or the shadowy militant group New Dawn, thought to be associated with them?

Meanwhile, in the working-class part of town, Rebecca’s assignment to cover a protest against the placement of a convicted child molester into the community leads her to Mo Burke, the unlikely protest leader. Mo is a formidable woman, but she is also the matriarch of a known crime family and usually prefers to shun the spotlight. What has drawn her out? And what of her two grown sons, who share in the family business? The older one, Nolan, with Ben Affleck good looks, is clearly intrigued by Rebecca, as she is by him, despite her better instincts to steer clear of their dangerous, violent world.

And then another body is found, this one wearing the Redcoat uniform of the victorious British army.


The Blood Is Still by Douglas Skelton is a timely mystery set in Scotland. This second outing in the Rebecca Connolly series can be read as a standalone.

Rebecca Connolly is an investigative journalist who becomes intrigued by two cases. The first involves a local family whose matriarch Mo Brooks unexpectedly puts herself in the spotlight. When a child molester is about to be released from prison, she and her neighbors protest a plan to house him in their neighborhood. But when local far right politician Finbar Dalgliesh shows up, the demonstration takes a darker turn.  Mo is also displeased by her son Scott’s recent actions and ties to Dalgliesh . And her other son Nolan is on the cusp of making a big decision.

The other case is the discovery of a murder victim on a historic site.  Detective Chief Inspector Valerie Roach is assigned to the case and the last she wants is sensationalized press coverage. Rebecca and her former boss and current friend Elspeth McTaggart  join forces to cover the story. With a change in management at her paper, Rebecca is eager to scoop other reporters. With the help of Historian Anna Fowler, Rebecca learns information that might help DCI Roach in her investigation. But what will Roach offer in exchange for this detail that might help break her case open?

With plenty of action, The Blood Is Still is a riveting mystery with a topical storyline. Rebecca is a bit contemplative as she ruminates on personal events that have occurred recently. She is also possibly approaching an unanticipated crossroad as her newspaper undergoes yet another management change. DCI Roach is an outstanding addition to the cast of characters. She is a highly intelligent woman whose dedication has consequences in her personal life. Rebecca’s stories and Valerie’s investigation move at a brisk pace. With shocking plot twists,  Douglas Skelton brings this brilliant mystery to a shocking conclusion. Old and new fans will enjoy this newest addition to  the Rebecca Connolly series.

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