I am not endowed with writing skills nor critique to do book reviews. The only O level I failed quite correctly was English Literature. But this book captivated me to the extent that I read the last few pages slowly digesting every word on a cold blustery Düsseldorf airport train station.
This is the best book I have ever read and this is with apologies to Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo and even Stuart Neville. The book captivates . It is worth looking at why. The name of the book is novel and the design of the cover draws buyers in to pick it up and peruse. The writing is both serious and at times humerous despite dealing with the macabre murder of three family members in the Scottish highlands in 1869. One is left with a real feeling why the murders were committed and the kind of lives that were being lived there at the time . The book though goes much further into trying to draw an opinion from the reader as to whether Roderick McCrae the 17 year old crofter was insane to any culpable amount. That he committed the crimes is not in doubt . There are a series of characters in the book that one grows to like, loath or simply be amused by. Many we still recognise as doppelgängers in our own everyday lives.
With a psychiatry head one one oscillated between conduct disorder, remnants of psychopathy , ADHD, Aspergers, normality for that time in the highlands or something in between.
I have no wish to spoil the story for anyone who reads the book so will not divulge anything substantial. However each word in the book needs to be read. There is not a single word that could have a red pen drawn through it.