Blackbird

Publisher: Harper Collins

Fourteen-year-old Alex McCarthy has lost her beautiful, talented older sister, Olivia. She’s gone missing, on New Year’s Eve. At the same time, a flock of dead blackbirds fall mysteriously from the sky, as mysteriously as Olivia vanished.

On an island like Orkney, there are only so many places Olivia can be. Yet there are plenty of suspects. Alex is determined to find her sister, dead or alive. Unfortunately, the only help she has is a drunken detective with a shadowy past of his own. While Alex searches for her sister, is she putting herself in danger?

This is a gripping mystery with an atmosphere of bleak, brooding melancholy that suits the Orcadian setting very well. Gomes keeps the reader guessing with plenty of possible suspects, red herrings and clues. The affections between the two sisters is very well conveyed. This is as much a book about family tensions as it is a carefully plotted crime novel.

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