Source: Review copy
Publication: 4th June 2020 from Polygon
Teenager Alison Doig disappeared from Kinloch over thirty years ago under mysterious circumstances. Her reclusive family still live in a remote part of the Kintyre peninsula, amidst rumours of wrecking, smuggling and barbaric cruelty.
Now rich American hotelier Alice Wenger has arrived in town, determined to punish those who made her suffer in the past. But someone has vowed to keep hidden sins concealed for ever.
Daley’s team must race against time to expose long-held secrets and shameful lies before there are any more victims.
I’ve been having a major reading slump recently, taking ages to read a book, not able to focus as well as I normally do. All part of social isolation I guess. But to my huge relief, this book cut through all of that and I devoured it.
Any new Kinloch book is hotly anticipated but this one more than most. Regular readers of this series will know that Meyrick’s last book, A Breath on Dying Embers ended on a major cliff-hanger and we’ve all been holding our collective breath waiting to find out what happened.
Well, I can confidently tell you that I’m not about to divulge spoilers, but what I will say is that a funereal like pall is hanging over Kinloch. It’s everywhere you go, and not least in the County Hotel which is facing a death knell all of its own.
Brian Scott isn’t very cheery, either. Still on the ginger and limes, he’d really been hoping that he could hang up his shiny new D.I. uniform and get back to what he loves best, policing without the paperwork. But Carrie Symington needs him now so he has no choice but to get on with it.
Liz Daley is depressed and drinking too much and trying to get on with things for little James’ sake, and it’s really only a surprising friendship that helps her face the future.
Meanwhile, out on the bleak promontory, overlooking the jagged rocks, a solitary old woman is ringing a hand-bell calling her menfolk back from the sea.
Jeremiah’s Bell is a finely honed, dark work by Denzil Meyrick. One of the darkest I have read in this fine series. Even the dry humour of Hamish and the banter between Hamish, Annie and Brian are tinged with bleakness for the future. The humour is still there, as large as life and as funny as ever, but with an edge to it. All of which just adds to a sense of foreboding that hangs over this sometimes savage book. And I loved it!
The dark foreboding, sleekit lawyers and an American woman who has come back to Kinloch to make sure her family face up to what they have done, all bring their own troubles to Kinloch and it’s not long before there’s a vicious attack, followed by a murder.
The deepest and darkest of family secrets, holding a fascinating and brutal story that is decades old and crosses continents, lie at the heart of this thrilling police procedural which caught me up in its story from the opening pages. Meyrick excels in his astute characterisation, his ear for dialogue that sparkles and of course his beautiful and highly atmospheric settings. That sense of place is so important to these books and Meyrick uses it to maximum impact. It’s always fun to see the pompous having their bubbles burst and no-one does that better than this author. Coupled with a plotline that thunders like the sea against the rocks on a choppy day, and you have the perfect combination for a spellbinding, tense and completely propulsive read.
Verdict: There’s just the right proportions of light and shade in this gripping Scottish noir novel. I love the way Meyrick mixes fact and fiction to give readers a tense and thrilling story where the plausibility lies in well researched but little known facts. Another fabulous must read from a writer who understands his readership very well.
Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll, then after studying politics, joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he entered the business world, and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. D. A. Meyrick has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio.