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A Murder of Crows

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  381 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again...

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

But what Jack discovers in the
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published March 27th 2017 by Unbound Digital
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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  381 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
*I would like to thank Netgalley for ARC in exchange for an honest review*
My review is honest: I struggled to finish this book... The beginning was promising, however, after some time I started thinking that the characters were not well developed, they lack some traits I expect to spot in a good book. There are some secrets well hidden in the past, personal tragedies and yet... I could not relate to any of them. Rarely give two stars.. they are mainly for the setting and the idea .. were it not
Liz Barnsley
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
**4.5 stars**

A Murder Of Crows is a literary crime novel with a beautifully dark and sinister tone to it, within a small claustrophobic setting which is descriptively immersive – I fell into it and didn’t really look up until I was done.

A young couple take shelter in the woods during a harsh storm and then disappear – Jack Russell (brilliantly named!) takes on the case – but this is one that is in no way straightforward, with it’s roots in the past and a village full of secrets. The characters
John Houston
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own-it
Started off well. Bogged down in the middle. Then 2/3 in the author seemed to get frustrated with how long it was taking to get anywhere either that or someone else took over the writing as it morphed into a different style, then it was suddenly all over the place with a kind of staccato finish ...and just to top it off a weird prologue thrown in just in case after all that you still weren't sure whodunnit... ah could murder a stiff drink to celebrate finishing it that's for sure!
Shona Kinsella
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: unbounders
A Murder of Crows is the story of a young couple who go missing during a powerful late-summer storm and the policemen who are trying to find them.

Although there are a few points where the prose doesn't flow as well or the exposition is a little heavy, I raced through this book, unable to put it down.

Jack Russel, the dogged detective, is a well-drawn character and the antagonism between him and his partner adds another layer of tension to the story. My favourite character though, is Alice. The
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Overdone! I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Written by Ian Skewis, and published by Unbound, London in 2017, the story is ostensibly about the disappearance of a young couple during a fierce storm near the village of Hobbs Brae, Scotland, and, to a lesser extent, about the police who search for them. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jack Russell is about to retire. This will be his very last case as a police officer. His ...more
Melissa Borsey
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ian Skewis sets an eerie tone in this interesting mystery that involves a missing couple, a retiring DCI, and a slew of dark characters trying to keep their secrets hidden. This story grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I enjoyed it all the way through. I thank Netgalley for a copy of this book for my honest review.
Elaine Tomasso
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I would like to thank Netgalley and Unbound for a review copy of A Murder of Crows, an atmospheric thriller set in the Scottish Highlands.

Caroline and Alistair set off for Hogg's Brae to visit Alistair's mother but they never quite get there. When a storm breaks and damages their car they take refuge in the woods and promptly disappear. DCI Jack Russell and his insubordinate and undermine partner DS Clements are tasked with finding the couple.

I was really looking forward to reading this novel -
John Murphy
Jun 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pish
Found this book a real slog and slightly confusing, had a strange and unsatisfying ending too. Pish in all honesty.
Julie Lacey
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland. A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again...”

This is a really good read. DCI Jack Russell is close to retirement so this is his last case before he goes. Tensions are running high between him and one of his colleagues, who is desparate for his job.
Jack doesn’t let this stand in his way and puts his all into trying to find out what happened to the young couple.
Alfred Nobile
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was my first read by Ian. I saw him read an extract at Noir at the Bar in Edinburgh and knew I had to get the book. A young couple disappear in a torrential thunderstorm. They are on the way to meet his mother.
This is a story of the investigation into the disappearance and features a dogged detective, an unreliable narrator, who suffering from dementia cannot be believed: or can she. As the story unfolds it becomes more than an investigation as secrets are uncovered and a satisfying ending
Nick Davies
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
There was a fair amount of this which was good - the isolation of the setting and the small-minded, small-town mentalities of the characters were generally convincing, and for all the plot was confusing and fragmented to a extent that I felt it didn’t ‘work’ overall, I got through this in a couple of days and was reasonably captivated.

The characters though, whether supposedly sympathetic or antagonistic, I did not like. Too many possible bad guys, too many good guys flawed to the extent that

As a reader, I really love a mystery that is well-crafted and keeps the reader guessing right to the very end. ‘A Murder Of Crows’ is one such book, and I find myself unable to recommend it highly enough.

Delusion and illusion obscure truth and reality in this suspenseful, intricate story of dysfunction in families and friendships, and of interconnected secretive webs of pretence and deceit that have tragic circumstances for the residents of a small Scottish village near Loch Ness.

May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, pigeonhole

This is a debut crime story by Ian Skewis. I enjoyed reading it very much. It was simply suspenseful, unnerving and mysterious. Can't wait for more books from this author!
Kelly Lacey
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was evident from the moment I opened Ian Skewis’s debut novel ‘A Murder of Crows’ that he posses an enviable flair for descriptive and lyrical prose. It takes real skill to make language so seemingly tangible that it can surround and consume a reader but, somehow, he does. Some may criticise that he does not say in ten words that which he can say in a hundred but I would assure them those words are not wasted; they add a glorious depth and texture to his book.
There also appears to be an
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Murder of Crows is an intense literary experience that takes the reader on a terrifying and sinister journey where we meet a cast of dark and charismatic characters all caught up in the disappearance of a young couple. I felt that whole "small village" sense creeping in, you know the kind where everyone knows everyone else, where strangers are not welcome and there is just that strange atmosphere that hangs over the place. The language and description used will set you firmly in the midst of ...more
Gaby Meares
I listened to Ian Skewis narrate this book which I think certainly added to the experience. His mellifluous Scottish voice is perfectly suited to a tale set on the west coast of Scotland.

Why only 3 stars? I found the plot very convoluted, and I was very unhappy with the end. And what was the point of the crows? Where they to add a sense of foreboding and mystery, with a tinge of magic thrown in? Not sure, as it was never revealed. However, there were certain elements which I thought were
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review.

A MURDER OF CROWS by Ian Skewis takes place in Hobbs Brae in Scotland with DCI Jack Russell picking up DC Colin Clementson on the way to Hobbs Brae Police Station, and it’s clear that Clements is a thorn in the side of Jack for more reasons than his aspiration to take over as DCI when Jack leaves.

Jack reports to the Chief Superintendent who informs him that a young couple has gone missing in the wake of a
Melanie Lewis
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible-books
A very dark and disturbing thriller, written and narrated by Ian Skewis. What made A Murder of Crows quite different was the fact that it's very character led. The listener gets to meet and learn about all the players, good and bad, and has the whole length of the book to decide who's done what and why. There is no obvious motive for anything that has happened, and I rotated my choice of villain around each and every character. If you are unsure if the murderer is a career police officer or a ...more
Patrick Kincaid
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ian Skewis’s debut is a very fast read. One of those that you pick it up, lose yourself in, and before you know it, you’re 100 pages in. Fast paced, then—but it doesn’t skimp on enjoyable detail. He sets his sometimes-chilling, sometimes-grimly-funny events in very real locations, and brings his characters properly to life. There were stretches that reminded more of the grotesque horrors of an Iain Banks novel than of conventional crime thriller. Elsewhere, the dogged protagonist – DC Jack ...more
Sadly, despite four separate attempts, I did not finish this. I heard Ian Skewis read from this - beautifully: the audio book will be a treat for those that take their books that way - at Bloody Scotland, was seduced by the cover and had no hesitation in buying to book.
But the written voice - no matter how I tried I could not believe it, care for it nor for the characters. So now have abandoned it for good.
Dinah Steveni
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
Memorable characters -- demented Alice, feral youth, broken dream drunks. Eerily atmospheric village and surroundings. Unhappy families riven through and through with appalling secrets. Beautifully presented by the author, Ian Skewis who achieved an occasional elegiac tone which made me stick with the story to the end. Or is it? I can see a two part series (Netflix) in the offing to accommodate book two -- the follow up. I'd watch it.
Jo Reason
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this so much, specially as I listened to the audiobook and the voice is very sexy, but I found it confusing as I found the jumping from the characters rather confusing, not sure what the son of the policeman had to do with the storyline, I also found a lack of character development
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-netgalley, 2018
I really enjoyed this mystery. The author has done a great job for a debut novel! I hope there are more to come.

This book was well written, kept me reading with the twists and turns as to who the killer was. This is one I would recommend to those liking a good thriller of a mystery!

* I was provided an ARC to read from the publisher and NetGalley. It was my decision to read and review this book.
Ashley Gillan
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
WThis book has some mixed reviews on Goodreads. But I have to say, for me, it was a solid, excellent read that kept me gripped from the beginning.

A dark, stormy atmosphere pervades the book and just adds to the mystery and tense feeling to it. I loved it.

The main mystery of the book is the disappearance of two young people, a newly-pregnant couple, who were returning to town to visit his ailing mother. They were caught in a huge storm and disappeared into the woods. As his last case, DCI Jack
Katy Carmichael
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I got to page 190 and realised life was too short for poor writing! The story may well turn out to be brilliant but the poor editing and lack of research coupled with the ridiculous and ill-educated choice of adjectives (what's a tarnished dress for heaven's sake?) meant I would have thrown it against the wall if I hadn't been reading on a tablet.

A point of accuracy in particular riled me. A DC is never in line to take over from a DCI without first being a DS and a DI. And no constable
Daphne Georges
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everyone is guilty in this thriller

Hopefully there will be a sequel to this mystery because the author left too many tantalizing loose ends. But it's satisfying by itself as only an English thriller can be. Can't wait for the next one!
Satinder Hawkins
Dec 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book began with a soon to be retiring detective beginning his last case. Allusions are made to his good reputation, the fact that he was a professional, and that he routinely got results. And then pretty much every action after this goes to belie this point. Jack Russell is none of the things that the book begins by saying. Literally every thing he does is so amateurish and petty and mean that the whole experience of reading this book was like watching the mean kids on the playground. There ...more
"Nothing ever ends, not really. Everything is a prelude, a prologue, to something else..."

I really liked this book. It has an eerie and sinister undertone to it that draws the reader in. I guess you could even say it had a kind of Noir feel to it. It definitely isn't your regular police crime procedural so if that's what you are after you will be disappointed.

It begins with a "prologue" told by one half of the missing couple who disappeared during a torrential thunderstorm one night just outside
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
***Contains (sort of?) spoilers!***

I had a hard time getting through this book. Despite issues I had with some of the writing the story itself is intriguing and well-spun, enough to keep me interested.

The character Alice is magnificent: the authors description of the experience of alzheimer's is absolutely heart-wrenching. We can truly feel the character's panic and désespoir at her worsening condition: " It made her angry, frustrated, and she was about to slam her fist against the sink when
Hana Correa
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Murder Of Crows is the debut novel for Ian Skewis. The novel is a strong debut novel that focuses on the darkness inside us as human beings. A darkness that sometimes wins and takes over in some individuals.

The story is set in Scotland, in the rural, small town of Hobbs Brae. Alastair and his pregnant girlfriend Caroline are coming into town to visit Alistair’s mother who is suffering from a rapidly progressing case of dementia. They never make it to her house. Along the way they are caught
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