John MacKay is a Scottish broadcast journalist, television presenter and producer, who is currently the chief anchor for the Central Scotland edition of STV News at Six. This is his second book.
Heartland is about Iain Martin who returns to his home on the Isle of Lewis to rebuild his life after the breakup of his marriage and to reconstruct the ancient family home, a blackhouse, now in ruins. He meets his old friend Neilie and his wife Catriona, bringing back memories of their friend Rob who was lost at sea 20 years earlier. Neilie alone had survived the accident, becoming the local hero as he had piloted the boat back to shore. Iain also discovers a skeleton under the floor in the blackhouse.
My teaser is from page 50.
The body had been laid to rest in a formal manner, on its back, the arms crossed on its breast and the legs fully extended. Over time it had settled awkwardly, twisted towards the right, with the distortion more exaggerated from the waist down.
Is it Rob’s body he has found? His suspicions are increased when Neilie confesses he had not been on Rob’s boat that night. At times the narrative stalls with lengthy descriptions of the locality and its history, all of which is interesting but it does slow down the story. I liked it well enough to look for MacKay’s other books – The Road Dance and Last of the Line.
See Should Be Reading for more ‘teasers’.