Coffin Road

Coffin Road 1

the Sunday Times Bestseller and BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick

by Peter May

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 12/01/2016

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it.

A detective crosses rough Atlantic seas to a remote rock twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. With a sense of foreboding he steps ashore where three lighthouse keepers disappeared more than a century before - a mystery that remains unsolved. But now there is a new mystery - a man found bludgeoned to death on that same rock, and DS George Gunn must find out who did it and why.

A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father's death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist's suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that others were behind his disappearance.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth - and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.
Crime & Mystery
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Quercus Publishing
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Peter May

Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award-winning journalist at the age of twenty-one and a published novelist at twenty-six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BCC, he quit journalism and during the high-octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland's most successful television dramatists.

He created three prime-time drama series, presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.

He has won several literature awards in France, received the USA's Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded the ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South-West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A Brilliant read!

    by on

    Coffin Road is the eighth stand-alone novel by British author, Peter May. A man wakes, washed up on a beach on the isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides: he doesn’t know who he is, where he is, or how he got there, but he has an overpowering feeling of dread about something that has happened. Instinctively, he does not reveal his amnesia to those around him, relying on the information he gleans from conversations and from items in his cottage to gain knowledge of who he is.

    His neighbours know him as Neal Maclean, a writer who is almost finished a book about three lighthouse keepers gone missing from the Flannan Isles in 1900. It soon becomes apparent to him that this is a cover, but for what? A boat trip to one of the Flannan Isles, Eilean Mor, leads to a discovery that explains the dread, and has him wondering if he is a murderer.

    In the two years since her father’s suicide, Karen Fleming has gone from a hormonal teenager to a rebellious adolescent, mired in guilt over her last words to him, maintaining a defiant ugliness with shockingly dyed hair, tattoos and piercings, layers of pretence that hide her inability to accept that her father took his own life. Craving a closeness no longer possible, she seeks out her godfather, Professor Chris Connor, her father’s closest friend. And learns something that makes her determined to know the truth.

    Stationed at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, DS George Gunn is sent to investigate the bludgeoned corpse discovered by tourists in the chapel on Eilean Mor. The victim is unidentified, and murder is a far from common crime in the Outer Hebrides: he wonders if this case will see him completely out of his depth.

    As he effortlessly builds the suspense, May gives the reader a real page-turner: the plot is original, with quite a few twists and a dramatic climax in a remote island lighthouse during a fierce storm; the characters are, with their flaws and failings, totally believable; the setting is expertly rendered, and the gorgeous descriptive prose is a bonus.
    May touches on some interesting and very topical themes: the importance of bees in the world’s ecosystems; the devastating effect of reputedly harmless pesticides; the power of the large, multi-national agrochemical companies; and the concealment of unfavourable research results. May’s love of the Outer Hebrides is apparent in his wonderfully evocative descriptions:

    May has written novels set in the Outer Hebrides before, and this novel is bound to have readers seeking out his earlier works. A brilliant read!
    With thanks to Hachette and TheReadingRoom for this copy to read and review.

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