Moristoun is a noir fiction novel which is set on a Scottish island and features the subject of suicide.
Public defender Buchan is needed urgently on the mainland. Part of his work includes trying to prevent suicides. His latest case is James McSorely, a thirty-year-old who has a long list of misfortunes, and Buchan hopes that a quick intervention will turn McSorely’s life around. He offers McSorely a job as his assistant on the island of Moristoun with the added bonus of free accommodation.
Most of the inhabitants of Moristoun are stuck in their day-to-day routines. Being cut off from mainland Scotland, there is also very little to occupy them, except for football. This is a favourite topic of conversation in a pub called the Tortured Soul.
But all is not what it seems. Apart from Buchan, the only island inhabitants able to return to the mainland are McSorley and Gail, the pub landlord’s daughter. Secrets are being kept and McSorley discovers that he wants answers.
I would describe this as an intense story, and I found I needed to take breaks from it before continuing. One drawback was that some of the chapters jump back to the past with no warning, so I was not always immediately aware in which era I was reading, and this made the secondary storylines harder to pick up each time. A chapter heading to indicate the time jump would have made the reading flow better.
The suicide theme was woven through the grim setting. The author used a mix of criminal action and seedy characters, which worked well for the genre, and there were also moments of wry humour to lift the bleak future of the island’s inhabitants. A different read for me, not a genre I often choose, but it’s good to shake up reading habits from time-to-time.
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McSorely has had enough. His life has spiralled out of control and nothing has gone his way. There seems to be only one option open to him, one last thing he can do to take control of his fate. All hope is lost.
But far away on the mysterious island of Moristoun, Buchan is charged with the task of dissuading McSorely from this drastic course of action. Moristoun is where people like McSorely might end up, having exchanged one kind of hopelessness for another.
A glimpse of the ‘life’ he might be heading for might change McSorely’s opinion of his own existence, but a glimpse of the entrancing Gail behind the bar in the pub and a hint about Moristoun’s true nature could render all of Buchan’s efforts to rehabilitate the despairing McSorely equally hopeless.
I was born in Dundee but now live in Glasgow with my wife Thanyalak and daughter Jennifer. I have worked as sports journalist since 1997, when I started out writing football match reports for The Sunday Mail newspaper while still a journalism student.
Since then I’ve written and edited for a wide range of publications, including the Scottish Daily Express, The Big Issue in Scotland, The Herald, The Scottish Standard and The Scottish Daily Mail. I now work full-time as a sub-editor for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.
When not at work I relax at home with my family and survey my simian empire, rhesuspark.com, which is probably the world’s only spoof monkey park.