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Guardian Not the Booker Prize 2019

Votes cast and reviews for The Peat Dead, in alphabetic order of voter


Vote 1: Sulaiman Addonia ‘Silence is My Mother Tongue’ (The Indigo Press)

Vote 2: Allan Martin ‘The Peat Dead’ (ThunderPoint Publishing)


Vote 1: The Peat Dead by Allan Martin. At one level a crime novel, this book is a wonderful depiction of a Hebridean island (Islay) with an intelligent plot that’s chillingly relevant to today’s unsettled political climate. The conflict between the pursuit of justice and the abuse of power by the state is brilliantly presented. While poignant flashbacks bring home the casual brutality of those in power. A book to make you think, and not one you’ll forget in a hurry. Brexit Noir at its best.


First vote: The Peat Dead by Allan Martin
Police procedural cum political thriller, I was glued to it from page 1 when peat-cutters on Islay reveal some body-parts, right up the dramatic conclusion when … well, just read it yourself and you’ll find out. What I liked, as well as the plot, was the humour – including a discussion about aliens and a car chase (on an island!) – and the characters. Each of the witnesses who takes the investigators back to World War Two has their own character and mode of speech. The other thing this book does for you is makes you think. There’s a conflict between justice and policy. I’m for justice! I’m looking forward to the next outing for DI Angus Blue and Dr Alison Hendrickx.


My first VOTE goes to Allan Martin’s book The Peat Dead. Extremely well-written, it’s a gripping tale that looks at the lengths the ‘powers that be’ will go to in order to prevent the truth behind a ruthless wartime crime being uncovered. And while there are those who will do anything to prevent justice being done, there are others who will do everything in their power to see that justice IS done. The setting (the island of Islay) and characters are excellent and the writing is infused with honesty and humour.


I would like to vote for : Allan Martin – The Peat Dead (ThunderPoint Publishing).

I read this very recently – I believe it is his debut novel. I enjoy crime fiction and would highly recommend this book. It is a gripping crime novel with interesting characters, set primarily on the Scottish island of Islay. There is plenty of local detail about the island – and one of its main products, malt whisky! The plot is very engaging, having a political dimension which is reminiscent of similar events in recent times. The story is also told partly via flashbacks to the time of the Second World War. Although the subject matter is pretty dark, the tone is lightened by humour via some of the characters. I am looking forward to the author’s next book, which is to be set on Jura.


VOTE 1. THE PEAT DEAD – ALLAN MARTIN (ThunderPoint Publishing)
In a busy life with so many books to consider, reviews to read and lists to ponder, not least this one, gems can slip by under the radar. Not this time. The Peat Dead is such a gem that delivers from its intriguing start to it’s fascinating and thought provoking conclusion. And the start is five corpses dug up by a peat cutter all shot in the back of the head. On the Scottish Island of Islay. Visit Scotland will soon be on the case organising tours of the locations on Islay as is Angus Blue, Inspector to you and a genuine original in a cluttered field. Now buy and then read on…


VOTE 1 Allan Martin – “The Peat Dead”
This is a super story about zombies from Islay who form a 70s-style glam-rock group… no, not really! I had to get past the title to a very well-crafted criminal investigation story.
The strap-line:”History just won’t go away” or words to that effect: how true; from the evocative image in the Prologue of the reaching hand to the final “loose end” from the past being tied off, one of Mr Martin’s central themes of “justice being done” is explored (there may be much of DI Blue (the Boy in Blue) in Mr Martin, himself. Anyway, how far does one go to serve justice? And I don’t just mean the exhilarating car-chase that broke speed limits even on Islay! There is collateral damage… who’s to blame for that? There would have been more, much more, too, had it not been for Inspector Blue and his team. And, Bad Guys note: you can’t just bury History and hope it will stay buried! (The book could be read as a warning not to write your memoirs, by the way…) The “long arm” in this book doesn’t really belong to the Law… the Bad Guys are as keen to silence their own. And just who are the Bad Guys?Phew! I ended up suspecting just about everyone! It’s a great read – bring on No.2 , please, Thunderpoint.


Vote 1: Allan Martin The Peat Dead (Thunderpoint publishing) This book drew me in with its build up of realistic policing. Inspector Blue keeps his superior informed, respects and works alongside his colleagues, uses local knowledge and even does his paperwork. The interplay between the past and the present, as both stories unfold not only builds the tension but shows how honest investigation can play a role in bringing victims of past cruelty back to a small measure of justice and life.


VOTE 1 Bitter Leaves – Tabatha Sterling (Unbound)

VOTE 2. The Peat Dead – Allan Martin – (Thunderpoint Publishing)


My vote 1. Donald S Murray – As the Women Lay Dreaming

My second vote: Allan Martin – The Peat Dead (ThunderPoint Publishing)
This is a very readable book. It is a detective story where for once the main character, a policeman, is not a damaged character. This is refreshing and one can concentrate on the plot. Set in Islay one quickly becomes fascinated in the historical basis of the book. The plot is fast moving and full of three dimensional characters. One gets caught up in the fast action and feel the need to find the answers to the case. It makes Islay feel like a place to visit and soon. Will read more by this author.


Vote 1: The Peat Dead, by Allan Martin.

This is one of the best debut crime novels I have ever read. It grips from the first page, with a gruesome find on the Island of Islay, in Scotland. The writing is elegant, and evocative.You can amost taste the whisky that the hero, Angus Blue, enjoys sipping of an evening (and I don’t even like whisky!). The story is a well plotted, skilful blend of past and present. Also with humour, and believable, all-too human characters. This crime novel, with the body – count rising, becomes a rip roaring adventure story, which reminded me of the best John Buchan books! A great read, and a worthy vote! Looking forward to the next book by this author.

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