Three generations of women from the Skelfs family take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a taut, page-turning and darkly funny new series. Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators… When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.
Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined. As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.
Doug Johnstone’s latest offering is a deliciously dark drama crime mash up featuring the Skelfs, an engaging and quirky family unit that runs a funeral home and private investigator service. It has all the ironic, deep and emotional humour of Six Feet Under with an almost noirish crime undertone that is really engaging.
We get the viewpoint of three generations of Skelf women, each one full of vibrant reality and in turn they take you deep inside the group dynamic that makes up this beautifully resonant often dysfunctional family unit.
There’s a lot to love here especially if like me you love to take a walk on the edgy side of life, but it is also incredibly warming at heart. The story ebbs and flows with clever intelligence, drawing you in and holding you there. Be prepared for inappropriate laughter to escape you at random moments and to miss this lot once you finish the novel almost as if you’d been literally living with them.
No plot details from me, this is a book to read cold, it’s impact is oft unexpected and never have I been so happy to know that there is more to come.
Right now I’m off for a human BBQ. Catch you later fellow book addicts…