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Robertson, Craig - 'The Last Refuge'
Hardback: 400 pages (May 2014) Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd ISBN: 1471127737

You can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself...When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop. Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back. But far more disquieting than that, John's nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can't be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer...

An unnamed man wakes up on a fishing slab in the harbour of a rain-lashed Faroe Island fishing village, with his clothes spattered with blood and a blood smeared knife in his pocket. Told in the first person, the man is suffering from an horrendous hang-over and can't remember anything of what happened before he fell asleep. As he comes around he starts to feel and see and generally appreciate the wonderful beauty of the Faroe Island he is on and remember his present situation. He recalls, slowly, that his given name is John Callum and he is working in the very close-knit community labouring in a fish farm.

When he originally arrived in this wild and desolate island, he had personally vowed to himself to sever his previous life in Scotland and start in Faroe Islands anew but every night when he tries to sleep he is haunted by absolutely terrible nightmares. Dreams that make him violent and very abusive in his language and they debilitate him so much and just will not stop. Because of the huge amount of noise and disturbance that he experiences in his sleep he is obliged to sleep in a small cabin isolated away from the rest of the community.

I read Craig Robertson's debut novel RANDOM and was absolutely amazed by the originality of the tightly plotted story which was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger award and was a Sunday Times best seller. Regrettably, I did not read his following novels until I started this one and again was absolutely surprised by the very gripping storyline, and beautiful descriptions of the pastoral scenery in this rain-washed island that the novel is located on. If I get the opportunity I must visit the Faroe Islands and I hope they are as beautiful as they are described.

I really enjoyed this very unusual and gripping book and will look out for the books that I missed and will make sure I don't miss any future books that this very gifted author writes. Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, England
June 2014

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 8/06/2014 10:20