- source: my local library
- #3 in the Sea Detective series
- published by Penguin Books 2016
- ISBN 978-0-718-18275-5
- 290 pages
Investigator Cal McGill uses his knowledge of tides, winds and currents to solve mysteries no-one else can.
Five years ago, fourteen-year-old Max Wheeler disappeared from a remote Scottish island. None of the six police and private investigations since have shed any light on what happened.
Unable to let go, Max's family call in Cal McGill - known as 'The Sea Detective' - hoping he'll force the sea to give up its secrets. Yet Cal finds he is an outsider to a broken family, and an unwelcome stranger in a village which has endured years of suspicion.
Cal knows that a violent storm is approaching. But what he doesn't know is that when it cuts off the island, a killer will see their chance...
In my opinion, parts of this story suffered a bit because there were threads, particularly in Cal's relationship to the police, that stemmed from earlier novels, and these were hard to piece together.
However the main story line held my interest. Max Wheeler's father is convinced that his 14 year old son who disappeared 5 years earlier was murdered by someone local in retribution for him reclaiming the lease of "The Black Island." Every year he comes to the island to mourn his son's death and the locals display their remorse. Wheeler's elder daughter moves to live in the local community but there is a lot of hostility. The Wheeler family has become almost totally dysfunctional.
Meanwhile there is a second plot involving the illegal taking of rare sea bird eggs and the two plots converge on the island during a horrendous storm.
The idea of a "sea detective" is an interesting one, as is Cal McGill's methodology in tracking tides and currents.
My rating: 4.4
About the author
Mark Douglas-Home is a journalist turned author. The Sea Detective, his first novel, was published in 2011 to critical praise. It introduced a new kind of investigator to crime fiction - an oceanographer called Cal McGill who tracks floating objects, including dead bodies, at sea. A sequel, The Woman Who Walked Into The Sea, was published in April 2013 ('a classic whodunit,' according to The Scotsman's respected reviewer Allan Massie). Before writing books, Mark was editor of Scotland's leading daily newspaper, The Herald, for five years and editor of The Sunday Times Scotland. He has also held senior roles with The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.
When he was Scottish correspondent of The Independent he reported on both the Lockerbie and Piper Alpha disasters. His career in journalism began as a student in South Africa where he edited the newspaper at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. After the apartheid government banned a number of editions, he was deported from the country. He is married with two children and lives in Edinburgh.