A Dark Matter; grit, intrigue and humour

A Dark Matter really gripped me – believe me – more than I thought it would. With an intriguing plot set in Edinburgh, I expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to absolutely love it as much as I did.

For me, this novel is a brilliant read and fully deserves my top five star rating. So much so, I included it in my Cracking Books To Read in 2020 blog post that I published a couple of weeks ago.

So why did I like A Dark Matter so much? Well for starters it’s funny in a way that really appealed to my sense of humour – dark, dry and witty. Then there is the compelling, unique plot threads that skilfully come together to create a very satisfying ending (but also open it up for the next instalment in this refreshing new crime series). I also loved how the writing vividly evoked the realness and beauty of Edinburgh.

But for me, I especially love the characters in this novel – feisty, direct and flawed. These characters are so down-to-earth, human and real.

A Dark Matter is the story of the Skelf family, specifically its women. The Skelf’s are well known in Edinburgh as they have a long established funeral home. Jim, the patriarch of the family also runs a private investigating business.

Doug Johnstone, author of A Dark Matter

However when Jim suddenly dies (don’t worry – that’s not a spoiler), it’s up to his 70 year old wife Dorothy to take over the family businesses. Struggling with the sudden loss of Jim, she pulls in her daughter Jenny to assist. Hannah, the granddaughter also gets involved when she discovers that her best friend has vanished without trace.

Dorothy’s world is rocked even further when she discovers that Jim was secretly paying monthly instalments of £500 to another woman throughout the past decade. This leads to Dorothy acting in ways she never thought she would, putting herself, the business and the family reputation in jeopardy.

Jenny is already in emotional flux at the loss of her Dad. Yet when her ex husband starts being more attentive than usual, her emotional confusion intensifies. Jenny also feels extremely insecure as she tries her luck as a private investigator, especially as she struggles to solve a very unusual adultery case.

A Dark Matter is the latest novel from Scottish crime writer Doug Johnstone, but the first in the quirky, new Skelf series. Believe me, I can’t wait to read more of this refreshing new crime series, with family and brave, strong women at it’s core. It also brilliantly captures the dry humour, down to earth nature and heart of the Scottish people.

Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour to help publicise this great book. Thank you also, along with Orenda Books for arranging my advance copy of A Dark Matter in return for my honest review.

To read the reviews of my fellow book bloggers also on the blog tour of A Dark Matter, please see below.

A Dark Matter is published on Thursday, 23rd January 2020.

Happy reading everyone! 🙂

My rating:



  1. January 17, 2020 / 10:37 am

    I’ve heard lots of good things about this book already. Not my genre, but I think I know several people who would love this.

  2. January 17, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    Kirsty, huge thanks for the incredible blog tour support x

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