Author: Andrew James Greig
Publisher: Fledgling Press
Publication date: 2020
Number of pages: 320
Rating: MUST READ
Just outside a sleepy Highland town, a gamekeeper is found hanging lifeless from a tree. The local police investigate an apparent suicide, only to find he’s been snared as efficiently as the rabbit suspended beside him. As the body count rises, the desperate hunt is on to find the murderer before any more people die. But the town doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and who makes the intricate clockwork mechanisms carved from bone and wood found at each crime?
Whirligig is a tartan noir like no other; an exposé of the corruption pervading a small Highland community and the damage this inflicts on society’s most vulnerable. What happens when those placed in positions of trust look the other way; when those charged with our protection are inadequate to the challenge; when the only justice is that served by those who have been sinned against?
This debut crime novel introduces DI James Corstophine – a man still grieving for a wife lost to cancer; his small close-knit team of passed-over police and their quiet Highland town. He’s up against a killer who plays him as easily as a child. For a man whose been treading water since the death of his wife, he’s facing a metaphorical flood of biblical proportions as he struggles to understand why these murders are happening, and who is behind each carefully planned execution. All the time, the clock is ticking.
Poetry meets crime. Cleverness weds blood. If you want to know what Whirligig is about, take a look at its beautiful cover. It has to be one of the best illustrations I have ever seen, the amount of detail mirroring the intricacies held between the pages of this very special Tartan Noir.
A dead gamekeeper is hanging from a tree. This is a summary that can’t grasp the extraordinary imagery used by the author. I will not try to give it justice because I believe it is a task that can not be achieved. You have to read it to understand; the words seep into your mind like the sweetest poison, their meaning printing the most absolute view directly onto your eyes as if a veil of literary darkness was descending on you. The feeling is surreal, and the impact on the reading magical and scary. Scarcely had a narrative given me such burning sensations. And it runs until the very last page.
It soon appears that the victim slowly swinging from the tree was a notorious brutal man and a drunk so, as Occam’s razor would have it, the suicide lead is the obvious one to follow. But nothing is simple in Whirligig. Everything is eerie, mysterious, and perfectly crafted.
A second death, as shocking and unforgettable as the first, comes to shake the community again, and this time, the hints are stronger, bigger. Something is happening. Coincidences don’t exist, and the deaths have a signature… The past and the present clash to the sound of a clock. I must warn you that one of Whirligig’s finest achievements is the detailed and meticulous plan behind each dead body. Everything has a meaning. Avid crime reader, I found myself completely gobsmacked by the ingenuity of the plot and the threads holding everything together.
Whirligig is a temple of crime fiction wins. The author carefully weaved an intricate and delicate web of secrets. Many subjects are touched, brushed, painted, and give the characters depth and layers that only enhances the intrigue. What appears to be a simple case ends up challenging an underrated police team as the death toll rises among more questions than answers.
At the head of the investigation is one of the most interesting DI ever written; James Corstophine. Except for his last name that keeps escaping my mind, everything about him is fascinating – his personal background an intense backdrop to the case at hand. His partnership with DC Frankie McKenzie a pivotal element in the novel. In a place where nothing ever happens and everyone knows everyone, the police must prove they are worth the investigation. There is something true, authentic, and indefinitely real in how Andrew James Greig portrays their work, the hardships they face, and the corruption of the world. The heavy grey smoke reaches even the most remote places of the Scottish Highlands.
Whirligig is nothing like you have read before. If you are a die-hard crime lover, you will feel the originality and uniqueness of the novel, and watch it open the door to a new crime playground. If you are a multi-genre reader, you will find the best of Scotland’s noir and set the bar high for any other book you’ll read next.
ps: I did look for the definition of whirligig! Gotta love a book that gives you the urge to know everything!
You can get your copy of the novel here
I would like to thank Clare Cain at Fledgling Press for everything, and Kelly Lacey at LoveBooksTours for her amazing work with this blog tour. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Born in London, moved to historic Monmouth as a young teenager and escaped as soon as I could to the bright lights of Bristol where I combined the careers of sober aerospace engineering and libertine sound engineering for as long as I could juggle these disparate and separate worlds.
Now living happily in central Scotland, where I enjoy writing books, playing music and exploring the great outdoors with my best friend who happily is my wife.