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A Winter Grave: a chilling new mystery set in the Scottish highlands

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This chance discovery leads to a rollercoaster of secrets and intrigue and the body count starts to mount in this bleak and remote landscape. Glasgow detective Cameron Brodie volunteers to fly out to investigate Younger’s death, but his ulterior motive is something else all together.

I don't remember Peter May previously setting any of his novels in the future, but correct me if I am wrong. There are some good plot twists that keep you hooked, the pace is fast and there are some Hollywood action movie worthy scenes which give a dystopian feel. A Winter Grave is set in the Scotland of 2051 where the effects of climate change we've been warned about have become a reality.Then, the climbing over of them and the crawling under, all while painstakingly creating a distinctive, remarkably unremarkable, world. Sita Roy, find themselves the sole guests at the inappropriately named International Hotel, where Younger's body has been kept refrigerated in a cake cabinet. But when I glanced at the scant description for this one (‘a young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice’) it immediately reminded me of those three cherished books. A Winter Grave is the latest standalone thriller by prolific author Peter May, and it was intense, gritty, fast-paced and chilling (in both senses of the word!

Suffice it to say that this is food for thought, and if you care about the future of the world, this book is essential reading, because it is a stark reminder of what ought to be being considered. There are flashbacks to the present time that explore Brodie's early police career, his marriage, and family drama. Melting ice sheets have resulted in Scotland being constantly hit by raging snow storms and thick ice. The following day, with the assistance of the local cop, as well as Cameron, Dr Roy performed the autopsy of Mr Younger.While the equatorial world is now too hot to sustain life, Scotland has become a country divided between rain and blizzards. Whilst parts of the world are suffering extreme heat, prompting the migration of millions of people from Africa and Asia to Europe, great swathes of Scotland are now under water due to rising sea levels caused by the melting of the Greenland ice sheets and the country now has the climate of northern Norway. I must have purchased this without reading the 'blurb', because its setting in the future took me completely by surprise. Glasgow Police DI Cameron Brodie, fresh from failing to get murder conviction due to technical complications, rejects his DCI’s request to accompany the pathologist to perform a post mortem on Younger, and, noting his expertise in hill walking, examine the scene. My thanks to Quercus Books for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It is a reporter from The Herald who is identified as the body in the ice cave, and Brodie sets off to investigate, with connections from his own dark past adding to his reasons to want to visit Kinlochleven.

In 2003 I read Firemaker, the first thriller by Peter May, and although the details are a bit fuzzy, I still remember how impressed I was with this book. Younger was no walker making his discovery on a mountain-top near the Highland village of Kinlochleven unexplainable. The year is 2051, and while the landscape at high altitudes may not have changed much, it is a different story when the action switches back to Glasgow. The mix allows the story to develop in the way it does but there’s also a degree of incongruity about the whole thing. The book opens in the near future, not a huge step forward in time but massive changes have occurred.

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