Sunday, February 19, 2023

Five top books about eerie islands

Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Her debut novel, Mirrorland, is a psychological suspense thriller with a gothic twist, set in Edinburgh. Her second novel, The Blackhouse, is a very unusual murder-mystery set on a fictional island off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis.

[Q&A with Carole Johnstone]

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland, although her heart belongs to the wild islands of the Outer Hebrides.

At Shepherd Johnstone tagged five favorite books about eerie islands, including:
Red Bones by Ann Cleeves

I have read and loved all of Ann Cleeves’ books about Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, set on the Scottish Shetland Islands. Red Bones is about two feuding families with generations of secrets between them, who are somehow involved in at least two murders. Islands, particularly those that are small and/or remote, foster communities that are incredibly tight-knit by necessity – often your survival entirely depends on one another. That has always made me wonder what lengths such communities might go to in order to survive; what secrets they might have to keep, what lies they might have to tell if something terrible happens that could jeopardise their whole existence. My time living on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides very much inspired The Blackhouse, but it was in no small part also inspired by the wild Shetland Islands as described in Cleeves’ wonderful stories.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Red Bones.

--Marshal Zeringue