West Uist in the Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland, looks like the idyllic island community. It has its pub (serving heather ale), it has its fishing boats, it gets its fair share of tourists who come for the scenery, it has a castle, and it has its resident characters. Nearby on the island is the area known as the Wee Kingdom, comprised of a half-dozen or so “crofts,” or small farms, which have existed for several hundred years as perpetual grants from the lord of the castle. This isn’t the kind of community where you’d expect to find violence. But it is exactly that.
Deathly Wind by Keith Moray opens with violence – a family of four have been targeted by someone known as the “assassin,” who ruthlessly and almost gleefully shoots each one as they resting and playing on a beach by the water. A police constable, Ewan McPhee, doing routine rounds on his boat finds the bodies – and he’s promptly knocked unconscious. His boat is later found floating, and he’s presumed dead.
And then the murders really begin, and they seem connected to plans by the new “laird” of the castle to evict the crofters and begin installing a large number of wind turbines for power generation. In fact, the murders come so fast and furious that the reader is left to wonder if there will be any characters left by the end of the story.
Detective Inspector Torquil MacKinnon of West Uist has been on leave, and he returns to find his constable missing, people dead and dying, the community in an uproar over the wind turbines, and his obnoxious boss on the mainland making MacKinnon and the reader wish him to become the next victim. And MacKinnon finds himself not so much leading the investigation as finding himself sucked into its whirlwind and coming dangerously close to death himself.
Moray has published five Inspector MacKinnon novels, with a sixth scheduled for later this year (Deathly Wind is the second in the series). He’s also published three historical novels, The Pardoner’s Crime, The Fool’s Folly, and The Curse of the Body Snatchers; non-fiction books (under the pen name Keith Souter); and several westerns as Clay Moore. When he’s not writing, he practices medicine as a part-time doctor and medical journalist (he studied medicine at the University of Dundee). He lives in Yorkshire in England.
Deathly Wind is one wild story of murder, mayhem, motives buried in the past, and few things being what they first appear.