Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Orenda Blog Tour - The Big Chill

TITLE: The Big Chill
AUTHOR: Doug Johnstone
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: August 20, 2020


Running private investigator and funeral home businesses means trouble is never far away, and the Skelf women take on their most perplexing, chilling cases yet in book two of this darkly funny, devastatingly tense and addictive new series! 

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral that matriarch Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life. 

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly. 

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves sucked into an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves? 

Following three women as they deal with the dead, help the living and find out who they are in the process, The Big Chill follows A Dark Matter, book one in the Skelfs series, which reboots the classic PI novel while asking the big existential questions, all with a big dose of pitch-black humour.  

The Big Chill centers around three women of the Skelf family who not only run a funeral home but are also private investigators.  It does seem the two seem to go hand in hand more often than not and it seems these woman can never get a moment of real peace.  I love the family dymanics and the fact that the book shows us three generations of one family. 

I do wish I had read the first book in this series but Orenda is definitely increasing my TBR of back titles.  While this book is rather dark at times, there are also some times of humor and I feel the author did a spectacular job of weaving the two together.  The Big Chilll also showcases science and some thoughts on parallel universes which surprisingly, was explained well and didn't confuse me.

If you love character driven books the The Big Chill will not disappoint.  This book is screaming for a series people can fall in love with and binge watch time and time again.  I can't wait for the next installment and more urgently, I can't wait for my copy of A Dark Matter to arrive!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.


  1. Thanks for the blog tour support xx

  2. I'm intrigued by funeral home settings (Six Feet Under is still one of my all time favorite shows!) This sounds good!

    1. I've never watched that show which is kind of a shock. Of course, if football season is dead, which is looks like it's definitely dying, I'm definitely going to need SOMETHING to watch!