Category Archives: Douglas Skelton

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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Filed under Arcade Crimewise, Contemporary, Douglas Skelton, Mystery, Rated B, Rebecca Connolly Series, Review, Suspense, The Blood Is Still

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