In A Dark Matter Doug Johnstone introduces us to three generations of women in Edinburgh: Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah Skelf. Their husband/father/granddad Jim has passed away unexpectedly and the family gathers at the impressive house of the family where both their businesses of funeral home and detective agency are located.
As if the loss of the beloved Jim isn’t enough to deal with, life soon has Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah all facing their own challenges.
Dorothy discovers her husband has sent monthly payments to the wife and child of a former employee of the funeral home. She wonders what secrets Jim might have kept from her, determined to find out what’s behind it.
Jenny is being made redundant from her job and though staying at her parents’ home was far from planned she becomes an accidental sleuth when people start calling and asking about assignments for investigations Jim had been working on.
Mel, the roommate of Hannah goes missing without a trace. Even the police don’t take the vanishing of a student serious but Hannah puts all her energy in finding her friend, her sinking feeling there could be something more sinister behind it all too soon to be confirmed.
Doug Johnstone’s A Dark Matter interweaves very different cases with unexpected turns and plot twists that will leave readers gobsmacked and in shock.
Johnstone sets the story in a funeral home where the Skelfs have to deal with the bereavement and deaths of others on top of all their personal problems. He has created three very strong, headstrong and stubborn female characters without making them come across as annoying, something even female authors often fail at. The Skelfs feel like the readers already know them, they could be our friends, our relatives.
It’s hard to stay alive, but sometimes it’s the only choice we have. That’s just one piece of great wisdom Johnstone has laced his book with. Like so many other women the Skelfs persevere and overcome the greatest tragedies. The cases the women get pulled into will have them questioning everything they thought they knew and in the end it’s the question of how well do we really know people, even close friends and family?
A Dark Matter is a dark thriller with three brilliant very likeable female protagonists and the end makes you not want to part with the Skelfs. So here’s hoping for many sequels.