Friday, 18 September 2015

Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson

Today is my stop on the Orkney Twilight blog tour! There have been some fantastic posts so far including author interviews, extracts and reviews of this thrilling tale all about family secrets and undercover operatives. For my spot on the tour I have an extract of the book as well as my review.

Father of three Jim is an undercover policeman and has many a tall tale to tell, especially with the aid of a glass of whisky! Sceptical of his stories, youngest daughter Sam decides she wants to know more about her father’s activities.

On holiday in Orkney, a place which holds lots of childhood memories for her, Sam spies on Jim as he travels around the island meeting up with people and dropping cryptic clues linking his elusive past with current events. She is slowly drawn into a shadowy world of spies and shady organisations, and she soon realises that her mission for answers is not a simple as she first assumed.

Sam is a typical tenacious teenager and her relationship with her offbeat Dad is fully explored in the uncovering of not only his past, but criminal dealings with a much wider scope beyond her relatively normal life. The wild beauty of Orkney was a great atmospheric setting to do this, interspersed with the forays into city life back in London. Sam and Jim have an interesting dynamic, and with the mysteries thrown up by the ghosts of Jim’s past, it makes for a dramatic, multifaceted story that keeps you engaged.

The thing I liked most about the story was the inclusion of Norse mythology. Jim is something of a history buff and uses his code words to represent parts of Norse mythology which gradually come to light throughout the story. There are also some cool fact bites when Sam explores the island, with its stone circles and Viking history. My only criticism would be that I wish there was more of it!

It is clever that the story is set in the 1973; detective stories without the convenience of modern technology makes the fact finding and puzzle solving much more interesting to read – no Google to get some quick answers! Whilst reading, I kind of likened Clare Carson’s writing to that of Cathi Unsworth; mysterious and suspenseful with gritty characters in dark times racing towards the conclusion.

For a first novel, Orkney Twilight is a well written, gripping thriller that will have you puzzling and second guessing what you know as you follow a family’s journey for answers about friends, foe and most importantly each other. If this review has whetted your appetite, you can read an exclusive of the extract of the book here

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