Book of the Month, August 2023 – Coffin Road by Peter May

For August’s book of the Month I have chosen Coffin Road by Peter May, a mystery set in Scotland with an ecological theme.Peter May is an award winning Scottish television screenwriter, novelist and crime writer. His books have sold more than two million copies in the UK and several million internationally.

Coffin Road is an eco-thriller set mainly in the Hebrides, with a plot constructed around the clash between agrochemical multinational businesses and pure scientific research. It follows the experiences of three different people whose different perspectives help the story unfold: an amnesiac washed up on a Harris beach who tries to find out who he is, a detective from Lewis who tries to solve the murder of a man on Flannan Isle,  and a teenage girl who tries to find out the truth about her father’s suicide. The narrative steadily builds to an exciting denouement in a lighthouse and the unmasking of friends and foes.

I bought this book as holiday reading when I was away during the last week of August, and thoroughly enjoyed the story. At first I was taken aback to find a lot of the chapters were written in the present tense, a device I usually dislike as it can be lazy. However, in this novel, the present tense is used to convey the sense of bewilderment in the amnesiac, which is resolved later on in the story, making it one of the few times when the device is appropriate. I particularly liked the way the author developed the ecological theme of the dangers of pesticides to bees, and the indifference of some agrochemical manufacturers towards the potential extinction of bees in the pursuit of profits, even though that would cause world hunger.

This is a powerful eco-thriller, effectively using a dramatic story to champion a vital modern crusade against putting profits before human survival. It’s also a great read.

So there we have it, August’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in September as I’ll be revealing another must read.

Take care,

Maggie x

Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top