*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the authors and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: There’s something very wrong at the Otterside care home.
When Sam Applewhite tries to help a friend who’s lost a beloved pet she finds that it’s just the first in a series of seemingly unconnected deaths. Is it her imagination, or do all of them somehow point back to the same residential home for seniors?
Sam’s skills are in demand elsewhere however, as she must orchestrate a safety drill with animal actors, cook dinner on an abandoned oil rig and keep an eye on those vikings who are building a longship. When the police don’t see the pattern, it’s all down to Sam, and the closer she gets to uncovering what’s going on at Otterside, the more danger she’s in.
Sam Applewhite returns to her diverse, verging on the surreal, work and investigatory activities in Doggerland, the second book in this series, and anyone who read my review of Sealfinger will know just how excited I am about this one!
And I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, if anything, I enjoyed this book more than the first!
You don’t need to have read Sealfinger to follow the plot of this story, but I would still recommend you do so, as it makes more sense of character-related quirks like how Sam’s employment at Defcon4 works, her colleague Doug, why Delia has pet turkeys… nothing plot-shattering, but all the lovely touches that make these books so engaging and memorable.
Here, Sam is still dealing with her father’s house and financial affairs, whilst trying to fend off her rich ex – or ex, Rich – as he meddles in her employment in his efforts to create a Stone Age theme park in the sea. So, pretty much situation normal for Sam. Until Delia calls her in to investigate a brutal turkey murder and Sam begins to suspect that things at the nearby retirement complex are just not quite right.
Alternating with Sam’s story, is that of Polly, a reluctant new resident of said retirement home, who is being inducted into a strange new world of daytime drinking, crazy golf and being treated like a child by the world outside. I found Polly’s treatment by her family both heart-breaking and rage-inducing, and could quite happily have taken a swing at her horrible niece with a crazy golf club, and I am a pacifist who literally doesn’t harm flies (I usher them patiently towards an open window).
Then there is a bonus third story thread that follows inventor Hilde Odinson and her infamous Viking family, creating cultural artefacts and complex golf obstacles out of another man’s trash… well, mostly trash, some heritage oak… it’s all in how you define possession and acquisition.
And of course, there is the (extremely) odd murder.
Following the pattern established in the previous book, this isn’t exactly a mystery, in that the reader knows who is committing the murders that occur, how and why they are doing it. The fun comes in waiting to see whether Sam can piece it all together, or whether she will be too distracted by supervising escaping mammoths and the prospect of a luxury casino Christmas. Adding to the irreverent joy, the murders are some of the most surreally weird and inventive I have ever come across in a crime book so while the tone of the book is certainly less manic than the first, it is just as beautifully strange.
This series is definitely on my favourites list and I can’t wait to bring you my review of book 3 in exactly a week’s time. If you enjoy your crime mixed with huge doses of humour and a sliver of dark grotesquery, then these are the books for you.
“You found him like this?”– Heide Goody & Iain Grant, Doggerland
“No, he was in the run. But I couldn’t leave him there. Have I contaminated the crime scene?”
Sam looked up at Delia and said, as kindly as possible, “I don’t actually tend to do turkey murders, Delia.”
Delia tucked a strand of her untidy hair behind her ear. “But you can, can’t you? You’ve got equipment and stuff.”
“I’m hardly CSI: Poultry Division.”
“You think this is funny?”
Sam tutted, at herself. “No. I don’t. It’s just… animals die, don’t they? It could have been a fox, or a stoat, or even a cat.”
She looked at the size of the bird. “Okay, maybe not a cat.”
Delia was shaking her head. She lifted a length of wood from the borders. It had a dark red mark on it and an obvious splatter pattern. “A fox? With a plank?”
Doggerland is available on Amazon right now!
You can find my review of Sealfinger (Book 1) here.
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews, including ANOTHER review from yours truly on 13th July!