Source: Review copy
Publication: 19 January 2023 from riverrun
My thanks to riverrun and Sophie Ransom for an advance copy for review
A TOMB OF ICE
A young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice.
A DYING DETECTIVE
Cameron Brodie, a Glasgow detective, sets out on a hazardous journey to the isolated and ice-bound village. He has his own reasons for wanting to investigate a murder case so far from his beat.
AN AGONIZING RECKONING
Brodie must face up to the ghosts of his past and to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that his investigation threatens to expose.
I have travelled a long way with Peter May; from France to China and places in between. It feels like Scotland is where he is most at home. A Winter Grave is a terrific book. Set in Kinlochleven, a village in Lochaber in the Highlands, it takes place just a few decades from now,in the near future. This is not dystopian fiction; rather it is a small leap forward where most things are the same, only a bit worse. (though I might quarrel with Peter May’s optimism on how many newspapers we will be left with).
But that ‘bit worse’ includes the weather and the impact of 1 or two degrees is massive on different continents.
A Winter Grave is highly plausible and utterly terrifying. It is a tremendous, exciting and very chilling read and I absolutely inhaled it.
Addie is checking her mountain top weather station above Kinlochleven when she finds the dead body of a man encased in ice. DI Cameron Brodie is sent from from Glasgow pathologist to investigate and he picks up pathologist Dr Sita Roy on the way.
The dead man proves to be Charles Younger, an investigative journalist who went missing in August. The suggestion is that he lost his way while hill walking, but to do so why would he take the most difficult route while clearly unequipped for such a trip. That and the fact that he was a much feared investigative reporter makes this discovery more than worthy of an in depth look.
Peter May employs a dual timeline flitting from 2023 to 2051. This enables us to get a broad sense of who Cameron Brodie is and why he is prepared to follow this case through to the end despite the difficulties that poses.
There are many strands to this engrossing novel. There is the compelling murder mystery. We are also treated to a complex relationship story that unfolds throughout the course of the investigation, allowing us to better get to know the characters involved and their motivation. And then there’s the climate crisis element to the story which is both terrifying and horribly plausible. All of these combine to give us a strong and incredibly compulsive story that strikes a terrible chord of recognition with every chapter.
Peter May has made a video to accompany his book. He says: “In 2022 I came out of retirement to write a thriller that would reflect my anger at the failure of the world to face up to the reality of climate change. It is called A WINTER GRAVE, and is published on January 19th, 2023. To go with it I wrote a song, in collaboration with Dennis McCoy, as an anthem for young people today pleading for their future. It is performed by The Peter May Band. This is the video we made to go with it, and the song itself is available to stream or download on all platforms from January 14th. The song is not intended to make money, but in the unlikely event that it does, all proceeds will be donated to charity.”
May does not flinch from showing us some of the perhaps less considered impacts of climate change on our society and that makes this novel so much more than a story about ice and snow. This is a considered and highly plausible view of how society might change as climate concerns rise to the fore. It is also written from the perspective of an author who is very angry at the failure of the world to face up to the reality of climate change and Peter May has made this a strong and convincing story as a result.
Verdict: A Winter Grave is a terrific, thought provoking read that is both propulsive and a bone-chillingly explosive cracker of a book. I love it when Peter May comes home.
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Peter May is a Scot living in France. Winner of two major French literary awards, May’s books have also won Crime Novel of the Year awards in France, Scotland, the UK, and the United States. With more than 4 million copies of his books sold, he is best known for his acclaimed “Lewis Trilogy“, set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. His series of six “China Thrillers” and six France-based “Enzo Files” are currently enjoying best-selling success in reprints. His most recent works have been the standalone stories: “Entry Island“, “Runaway“, “Coffin Road“ and “I’ll Keep You Safe“.
Peter May started his writing career as a journalist, winning a national award at the age of 21. Still in his twenties, he switched to writing drama for UK television. He created three major drama serials in the UK and has credits for scriptwriting or producing more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping shows. He quit TV in the 1990s to concentrate on his first love, writing books.
Peter May has a number of signings, most in Scotland over the coming week. See below:
Thursday 19th January, 6.30pm – Hatchard’s, London
Monday 23rd January, 6.30pm – Mitchell Library, Glasgow
Tuesday 24th January, 7pm – Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Wednesday 25th January, 7.30pm – St. John’s Kirk, Perth
Thursday 26th January, 12 midday to 1pm – Signing at Waterstones Dundee
Thursday 26th January, 7.30pm – Toppings, St Andrews
Friday 27th January, 3pm to 4pm – Signing, Waterstones Edinburgh (West End)
Friday 27th January, 7pm – Toppings, Edinburgh
One thought on “A Winter Grave by Peter May @authorpetermay @riverrunbooks @soph_ransompr”
I like his books, particularly the Scotland set ones. This sounds good.