#BlogTour The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone. It’s the second book in The Skelfs series.

About the Author

Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin.

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

Follow @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks on Twitter, Follow Doug on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit  dougjohnstone.com,  Buy The Big Chill

About the book

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver ’s shadowy life.

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?


Seems like an odd career combination, private investigators and funeral directors at the same time. The Skelfs however do it with a certain eccentricity, wit and pinch of darkness at times.

This is the second book in The Skelfs series, the first is A Dark Matter. Both can be read as standalone novels, although there is one storyline from the first that flows into this one. I would recommend reading it to get the gist of the series. Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah are three generations of women worth getting to know.

The book starts out with a car chase that ends where the Skelfs do the majority of their business. The incident sets Dorothy on the path to find the truth. Jenny finds that the tables can be turned quite quickly when you aren’t paying attention and Hannah is dealing with the aftermath of a dark revelation in the first book.

It’s a mystery and crime read that mixes aspects of contemporary women’s fiction into it, because the women at the helm of this story aren’t willing to be squeezed into one genre or category. They are strong and determined to overcome whatever comes their way or is an obstacle in their path.

Johnstone has a knack for infusing his work with a tinge of noir, the absurd and often teeters on the boundaries of uncomfortable topics. It’s what I would call a melded reading experience. He draws from every avenue to create a mosaic like story, with all threads eventually leading back to the origin of the piece – the strength of women.

Buy The Big Chill at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books: pub date 20 August 2020 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda Books.

Read my reviews of A Dark MatterBreakers and Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone.

One thought on “#BlogTour The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

  1. annecater says:

    Thanks for supporting the blog tour xx


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