Saturday 4 February 2023

Guest Review: Miles Away By N J Edmunds

What you know can kill you - or make you kill.

Set in 1970s Scotland, Miles Away is the story of Dacre, whose early life has been disturbed by phobias which now threaten his first relationship.

Dacre searches for the cause of his phobias, but the loss of a friend who found it all too much makes him understand the risks he is taking by exploring his subconscious. Shocking family secrets are exhumed, amongst them his own repressed memories of gruesome murders - crimes that remain unsolved and apparently unconnected.

Review: This is the debut novel of the author and is a psychological crime thriller set in 1970s Scotland. It follows the main protagonist Gordon Dacre as he leaves school and settles into his first few years at Aberdeen University, although there are flashbacks to his childhood and early schooldays.

The author is a retired doctor with an interest in psychology. Hence, there is a strong emphasis in the book on Gordon’s phobias and the use of hypnotherapy. The story moves at a fast pace as he tries to come to terms with his phobias and find explanations for his strange dreams involving a series of apparently unrelated murders. However, I did find the ending a little rushed as the various strands came together.

The settings, mainly Aberdeen and Edinburgh, were well described, and being familiar with several of them, I could picture myself in the middle of the action. The problems of communication between the different Police Force areas in Scotland in the 1970s, prior to the general adoption of a national computerised record system, are also well set out. I should add a care warning that some of the descriptions of the murders are very gruesome. Overall, I found this an interesting crime thriller with many twists that kept me guessing as to the final outcome.

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