Cover Image: The Mash House

The Mash House

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Member Reviews

Mystery / thriller set on a Scottish island, with the owners of the local distillery and hotel as the focal point for local crime and drugs. Gillespie introduces a broad selection of characters- all interlinked given the small community - very few of which are particularly sympathetic or really that engaging. Without wanting to come over as someone who has to ‘like’ a character, some empathy would be helpful, and I’m afraid it wasn’t working for me.

Gillespie’s prose reminded me a little of Jon McGregor’s in the stark simplicity of description and dialogue, but without the warmth that he generates for both location and personality.

There’s a degree of heightened, absurdist reality which I quite enjoyed despite the complaints above - whilst I was never fully absorbed i did want to know how the narrative was going to be resolved. An interesting effort.
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Brilliant! This is an intense and incredibly satisfying novel about a corrupt and toxic small town in the Scottish highlands. The sense of isolation and rot within the place is so profound right from the start. Told via a wide ranging cast of characters, this builds into a picture of a community rocked by scandal and tragedy. I particularly loved how twisted some of the characters were, you could tell the author had a lot of fun writing them - it was a lot of fun reading them too. Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks so much for the copy to read and review.
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Set in the early Noughties, "The Mash House" is an exciting debut. Alan Gillespie is a gifted writer, excelling at descriptive, cinematic prose which transports the reader. You can virtually smell the amber nectar emanating from the pages. 

The book cover is stunning, and an accurate depiction of the contents within. The story centres around fictional Cullrothes, and is beautifully evocative of Scottish village life. There's something recognisable in each of the characters, authenticated by their dialogue. The book hosts quite a big cast of characters and it's interesting to discover how they all contribute to the overall plot. I particularly loved the relationship between Jessie and Grandpa. I loved to hate the absolute horror that is Alice - queen of the micro-aggression. The opening chapter will stay with me for quite some time! There's also some wicked, pitch black humour scattered throughout, plus a hilarious (and unexpected) nod to one of comedian Limmy's iconic creations. Can you spot it? 

This is a book I found hard to put down as I was so drawn into the narrative. Alan Gillespie is an exciting new Scottish novelist. He perfectly portrays the isolation, and contrasting claustrophobia, of island life. "The Mash House" is as darkly addictive as village gossip. I loved it!
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Phew, what a journey you go on with this one. From feeling pure hatred with some characters to adoring others.
Its twists and turns kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. Particularly Jessie and her relationship with her Grandpa really moved me.
If you are an animal lover be warned that some scenes from the off may bother you.
There are some truly graphic scenes that are described to such minute detail that this is not for the faint hearted,
The crime list stacks up as more secrets are revealed, wondering who you can really trust- if anyone.
Gripping, thrilling, dark.
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