A Winter Grave by Peter May (book review)

‘A Winter Grave’ is another novel by prolific thriller writer Peter May. It’s set in the near future of 2051, so it crosses into speculative fiction as far as I’m concerned.

A young woman discovers a body in a corrie whilst checking a weather station high above the town of Loch Leven in the Highlands of Scotland. She alerts the authorities and little realises that this will cause a chain of events that will result in more deaths.

Before the Big Change, it was possible for Cameron Brodie to drive to the Highlands. Now a helicopter or even a boat might be more suitable transport. He’s sent to investigate the death and finds only mystery and danger.

Just the kind of crime story I like: full of action, politics and technology to influence and play with the reader. Despite the futuristic setting, sadly all too close now, it is basically a gritty thriller with hard men and resourceful women. When the novel starts, the urban setting is grim and it is the release of Brodie into the countryside that gives him purpose and meaning. As the background changes, we learn more about him and his estranged daughter. Brodie is a policeman who has lost his way but he will find clarity in the clear air of the Highlands and maybe redemption too. He just needs to time to do it because his clock is ticking.

If you want a good job done, ask a dying man.

This is a thrill a minute fast ride, one of those you will want to stay up reading long into the night. Peter May never disappoints and this book kept me intrigued all the way through. The reality of how climate change affects the population is writ large and the dire political landscape also features. It feels very much a book for our times. A great read but a reminder we need to get our own act together before this all comes to pass.

Sue Davies

June 2023

(pub: Riverrun/Quercus Books, 2023. 368 page paperback. Price: £ 4.99 (UK). 978-1-52942-852-0)

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