Review: Coffin Road by Peter May

Coffin Road - Peter  May

Published by: Quercus (14th January 2016)


  • ISBN-13: 978-1784293123


Source:  Real Readers


Rating: 3*



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.



I found this book quite tough in the beginning; it seemed to take ages to get going and I considered abandoning it more than once.  Once I reached the halfway point, however, the pace quickened and I became much more interested. I really liked the way the three separate stories were interwoven and how the layers of each built in the second half of the book.


The main character is mysterious, as intended, but I found it hard to feel very much empathy, despite his having no idea who he is. Other characters added to the story and have it more complexity.


One thing I love about Coffin Road  is the fantastic description of the environment - it made everything feel more real, and I could almost feel the wind as it whipped the characters' hair and bashed the boats around. Although it seems violent, the place sounds beautiful in a wild way and makes me want to visit the area.


Once the threads all started drawing together, I started to really enjoy this novel. In fact, the last quarter, in particular, I found hard to put down, and the twists and turns were mostly unforseen. Fans of the crime thriller should really enjoy this book.