Cover Image: A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

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Member Reviews

The setting is what first captured my attention for this novel. Northwest Scotland at its most foreboding, during a freak storm in September. The descriptions in this novel were very vivid. The storm, the farm, the woods, the crows...

The policeman, Jack Russell has an interesting backstory and a somewhat jaded view of his world. He was portrayed realistically and I wanted to really like him, but somehow I just couldn't.

I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes on the Jennings's farm. The father and son were portrayed clearly and with understanding.

Alistair's mother Alice was an empathetic character and the prose gave heft to her alarming plight.

The plot was a conundrum. A missing persons case initially, it turned into something more. The reveal of the criminal surprised me, as I'm sure it was meant to do. Yet somehow I felt manipulated and dare I say... used.

I'm really of mixed feelings about this one. Yes, I did enjoy the read, Yes, it was memorable. Yet still, I have a few reservations.  It was a powerful novel and worthy of your consideration.

3.5 stars rounded up
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Such a great book. Makes for a wonderful read. I can not wait to read more from this author. I love books like this.
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I enjoyed this title very much.  I first thought I had read this before but I now think it was the title that misled me.  The story was original and (no spoilers) a very unique mystery.  I highly recommend it!
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Have you ever had a night, when the dream is super intensive, the plot changes constantly, characters change, location change? But you can’t wake up, you can’t stop the dream and your brain works on all cylinders and the story is more confusing and more disturbing. This book is like that. Author promises thrill, psychopaths and serial killers but there is so much more, almost all the characters could be psychopaths, or at least manipulators.

This story has many layers and some of them seem to be written just to muddy the waters of to increase the number of pages. If I had read the abstract of the book before I started the book, I would have looked for the pretender all the time and I would have read the book differently, but choosing the book the cover and for the name, gave me the opportunity to enjoy it without preconception.

Good read!
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I felt like this novel was very slow-moving; while I found the author's prose to be very beautiful, I did feel it was out of place in a crime novel.  The long, slow descriptions brought me out of the text and I struggled to stay engaged.
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The beginning was promising, however I struggled to connect with the characters. I found it unsettling the jump between multiple POV's and I generally disliked them all regardless of their personal tragedies or hidden past secrets.

The pacing was not right for me either, as it took forever for something to actually happened to which point i was more than ready to be done with . The antagonism between Jack Russel, the seasoned detective, his partner I found it quite annoying, especially was this partner was more interested to stitch him out out of spite rather than caring for the case - I am sorry, but i cannot get behind a character like that, bitter and self-absorbed. Sabotaging an investigation because you're jealous of someone's career so they don't end up their career positively, it's just wrong. 

On the plus side, the writing was actually quite good and enjoyed the prose, however there should've been more work giving some actually depth to the characters and accelerate the plot as it dragged too long. 

2.5 stars
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What a great book,  The characters were so interesting, you could really immerse yourself in the story.
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Thank you to Negalley and the Publsiher for the ARC. 

This is a great thriller novel. I love a good book with a thunderstorm. It was a bit heart racing at times for me. It had a great plot. It did keep me interested while reading it. I would recommend this book if you love a good thriller. 

Getting lost in a thunderstorm after retreating to the words to escape the storm. Survival is more than what they though while the search for them was going on.
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A good dark and sinister mystery novel, though it tends to drag on the middle of comes to a satisfying conclusion
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Haha, why is the leading man named after a pooch? 😊

Anyway, A Murder of Crows was an intriguing read with a strong lead and a strong antagonist. The serial killer on the loose just finding his taste for blood and murder was a great addition and is what got me interested in this story. It was very enjoyable! ✨✨✨✨ (4Stars)!
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I'm sad that I wasn't able to read this book, because it was too much at the same time. I guess that his book was amazing and I would love to try and read it. 
Now i will have to buy one!
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Wow, what a great story.  This is the first book I have read/listened to by Ian but will be keeping an eye out for more of them. The story was very well written and the plot kept me hooked all the way through to the end.

I really liked the way that Ian read the book himself as it gives extra depth knowing that this was his idea and vision when he wrote it.
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A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis

Blurb~
“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 forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer...”
 
The writing is incredibly descriptive and creates a rich and dynamic setting that is full of buoyant characters. The imagery is fantastic. The narrative is stirring and exciting and brings forth emotion. This writer has a good sense of how to keep you in suspense. Skewis is an author with a great talent for using the written word and creating an atmosphere in the book that relates quite perfectly with the subject matter. I found myself immersed in this book. I can imagine that his natural talent and writing abilities will only grow stronger over time.
 
The pace had an even flow. The characters and subplots were introduced slowly enough to follow. There are various characters and each has their own secrets that you begin to learn in a way that is not confusing or overwhelming. The story and writing is fluid throughout and even though sometimes, you don’t like what you’re reading, it is still evenly threaded.
 
The development was amazing! Can I just say that again? AMAZING! The tone of the book was immensely pulling and dark. There are SO many suspects that you just don’t have a clue who the killer might be. Just when you think you might’ve guessed it- bam!- here comes another character with a motive. It was a perfect mystery thriller for me. I love all the different stories of all the characters, each with their own suspicious stories.
I was captivated the whole time.
 
While I don’t feel the characters was fully developed, I don’t think it was necessary to the overall story. You got just enough to understand how they each could’ve been the killer and why. Jack Russel was the perfect lead detective (DCI) for this story! Even though his character is soon to retire, I hope we learn more about him and are able to follow him through more mysteries- prequels perhaps? Anyway, the dynamic of animosity between he and his partner is palpable. They provide and excellent backdrop for the way the case is handled. One thing that caught my attention was the analogy of the weather and the sense of doom in the story. (Was it an analogy? Well, it seemed so to me.)
 
I have touched on the characters a bit but I just have to point out that I am a nurse and have worked with dementia patients. Skewis’s portrayal of a mother with dementia was dead on and brilliant. I enjoyed the different perspectives of the chapters and felt it gave a greater perspective on the story as a whole.
 
This was an enjoyable, albeit, intense read and I look forward to reading ore by this author. 5 stars from me!

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley. all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This review, or portions thereof, with be posted (when able) to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, IG, Pinterest, FB, Litsy, Kobo, BAM, and my own blog.
Unfortunately I am unable to provide all links at this time as I am using my phone.
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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 off guard by a fast moving, violent thunder storm. Alastair and Caroline end up in the woods where they disappear. Alice Smith, Alistair’s mother, reports them missing. The case falls into the lap of DCI Jack Russel and his partner Colin. As they start digging into the young couple’s disappearance, it becomes apparent that there is no small list of suspects, and Hobbs Brae remains a town that can hold secrets, for it also the location where Alistair’s father, William, went missing when Alistair was just a boy. His case remains unsolved. DCI Jack Russel is determined to get to the bottom of this disappearance.

After police searches of the forest turn up a large amount of blood that is later matched to Alistair, it becomes apparent that at least half of the couple met with a dark end in the forest surrounding Alice Smith’s property.

This is a somewhat dark tale told from the perspective of each of the main characters. It did have a twisted ending. It is a strong debut novel. I look forward to reading subsequent novels from this author.
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A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis is a dark read. All around a good book, some twists and turns and it holds interest pretty easily.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of A Murder of Crows in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book started out really strong for me, but then it got a little slow in the middle. I pushed through and finished.
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I would like to thank the author, the publisher and Netgalley for issuing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I requested thus book as the general description  seemed very promising, however, I struggled to finish this novel. The beginning sounded great and I enjoyed the setting and the atmosphere, but after some time I began to get tired with characters who seem not developed well. The ideas were good but I could not relate even to Jack Russell. There are secrets, there is a tragic parental experience, however, something is missing.
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This was a very good murder mystery with lots of twists and turns. Each character has a full bodied character that you sympathise with immediately. 
Can't wait for more.
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I wouldn't say that this is an appealing book, more an engaging one. The story centres on a group of people who hail from Hobbs Brae originally, some still remain, some are returners. And someone is killing them.
Jack Russell is the DCI who needs to solve the case before anyone else comes to harm. His colleague Colin Clements needs to learn to be less impatient for dead man's shoes! 
Jerome regrets the way he brought up his son Scott, and misses his deceased wife, as he struggles to run his farm.
Alice is struggling with fugues and forgetfulness brought on by her dementia. She doesn't know that her son Alistair has gone missing, presumed dead.
Matthew White has his own secrets and is determined to come out on top, being a successful business man, he has no intention of failing. 
And others in the village have their own agendas, good, bad and indifferent.
I enjoyed this book, but I don't feel like it is finished, maybe the next book needs to be read straight after, to give that satisfied reader feeling!
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A Murder of Crows is best described, in my opinion, as literary crime fiction. While it is a police procedural at its core, Skewis writes with an elegance that readers would typically expect from literary fiction. Utilizing rich language and an abundance of descriptive elements that bring certain aspects of the story to life, there is no doubt at all that Skewis is a talented writer.

Located in the Scottish community of Hobbs Brae, readers are instantly sucked into the world of the diverse characters that make up the small village. It is in the creation of the community that Skewis' literary prose truly shines. The setting gives a claustrophobic feeling to the atmosphere of the story and each character adds a layer of depth and, in many cases, the sense of suspicion that can only be found in a small town.

That being said, something about this book just didn't connect for me. The pacing always felt a bit off and the fact that narration jumped between 6 or 7 different characters made it a bit tricky to follow at times. Additionally, I wasn't entirely satisfied by the ending and, while I can't say much without spoilers, felt intentionally deceived by the author in a way that I just couldn't embrace.

I would still recommend giving this book a shot if the plot sounds interesting to you, but it might be best to check it out from your local library rather than spending your hard-earned money on it.
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