Coffin Road – Science, Murder and Memory Loss

coffin road

‘If you had killed someone, you would remember, wouldn’t you?’

Coffin Road has a slick looking book cover, which initially drew me to it. The chosen colours for the book cover will reveal it’s meaning inside the pages!

Set in Scotland, on the Hebridean Isles, Neal Maclean (or is he) is washed up on a beach, he is cold, half dead from hypothermia and as he struggles ashore, gasping for breath he sees a figure in the distance, with binoculars, watching…..


We follow Neal as he deals with his memory loss and the deep, sinking feeling in his stomach that he may have committed murder on a small Scottish island. Is he Neal Maclean? What is he doing there? Did he kill someone? Is he really writing a book? Who is that man watching him? Interwoven is the story of a young, wilful teenage girl named Karen Fleming who lost her scientist father to suicide two years ago. Why did he leave her?

The location detail is very specific and descriptive, giving you a real feel for cold, dark nights, biting winds and bright, crisp, sunny mornings on the Islands. I understood the layout of the little islands and town, which drew me in and kept me turning the pages as the suspense grew. Each of the main and sub-characters are well thought out and layered, balancing the story and giving you just enough clues to hang on to as the pages reveal the truth.

The twists come and go as author Peter May leads you one way, then another. I thought I had the ending picked twice before the end of the book and I was wrong both times!

coffin road

There are three character stories in this book, along with a larger message that ignorance can kill us all. If you want a thriller which keeps you guessing and keeps you thinking, then this is it.

Solid 3.5 stars from me


The Book Jacket

The master of crime brings murder back to the Outer Hebrides.
A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it.

A detective crosses rough Atlantic seas to a remote rock twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. With a sense of foreboding he steps ashore where three lighthouse keepers disappeared more than a century before – a mystery that remains unsolved. But now there is a new mystery – a man found bludgeoned to death on that same rock, and DS George Gunn must find out who did it and why.

A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father’s death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist’s suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that others were behind his disappearance.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.