Out Of Shot is a mystery set in the Highlands of Scotland. The story mainly takes place in the remote village of Kylecraig and revolves around journalist Claire Armstrong who is spending a year making a film in the hope of helping to save the village school. Claire spends much of her time either filming in the school or the surrounding hills and shoreline.
During that year, drama comes to the village when one of the school children goes missing and Claire questions whether she should continue to film the villagers; shock waves move through the community. For much of the time Claire is desperately lonely; she does befriend the new school teacher, but when he abruptly leaves she’s left alone once more.
I thought that the author did a good job of portraying the isolation in a remote setting; Claire’s first cottage and the wild beach come instantly to mind. However, I did struggle to warm to Claire. I wanted her to have a more realistic range of emotions; she came across as angry far too often.
Some of my favourite parts were the scenery and the traditional village gatherings. The film-making element was very interesting, too; the author’s knowledge and experience in this shone through. The mystery didn’t work for me, which is a shame; it got a bit lost, becoming more a piece of journalism than a fully engaging mystery story with gritty suspense and danger.
Overall I enjoyed the setting and I understood the isolation, but the mystery needed more of a boost to give it a chance in this popular genre.
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A remote Highland village. Two outsiders. One missing child. And a guilty secret….
Film-maker Claire Armstrong has swapped city life for a remote coastal community in the Highlands, where she is making a documentary.
Claire is drawn to the mysterious new arrival, Jackson; but even as their friendship deepens, he won’t share any personal information about himself. And why does he choose to live in a van on the beach in the dead of winter?
When a local child goes missing, the village is swamped by journalists and TV crews. Suspicion and anger turn to hatred, as some locals are convinced that Jackson is the prime suspect. He is driven from the village – or has he run away?
And will Claire be able find out the truth, before somebody stops her?