Monday, 14 June 2021

The Mash House by Alan Gillespie


 OK, I'm being honest here, among my passions are Scottish crime fiction and single malt whisky. That being the case, the chance to review Gillespie's debut was a bit of a no-brainer for me. 

 The setting for the story, the (fictional) village of Cullrothes in the Scottish Highlands is a real hotbed of nastiness thanks to the people who live there. There are some glimmers of light but for the most part the locals are a dark bunch and that's probably why I enjoyed The Mash House so much. 

 The story flips from character to character in short chapters so you don't dwell on one point of view for too long (but the downside to this is that 'one more chapter' soon led to me reading into the small hours of the morning - ah, but I'm not complaining). There are Innes and Alice, a couple so unsuited for each other they deserve each other, the distillery owner almost hounded to sell his business, there are others of varying degrees of light and shade. This is their lives, their village, their story. 

 For all their nastiness though it was the darker characters that made for the more fun reading even if the prose was what some people may find a bit triggering (not me though, I loved it). 

 I'll give an appreciative nod to the cover art too, a really evocative piece that matched the writing and the description of the Highlands in the book.

 I will certainly be watching out for what this author does next. And I'll be raising a glass of malt tonight to toast a job well done by Alan Gillespie 

An atmospheric and dark read 4.3/5*

 Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and arranging the review copy. Please, if you have the time, have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below) 

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