THE BIG CHILL | Doug Johnstone
(The Skelfs #2)
08.20.2020 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Skelf family runs a private investigation company and a funeral home business, which means that their lives are filled with death and dark concerns. Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah are also constantly meeting trouble and deception with the cases they take on. The Skelf women are haunted by their past, but trying to move forward with their lives. Unexpectedly a car crashes straight into one of the funerals they are putting on, which throws the family into a complicated and perplexing quest to find the identity of the driver. A professor’s death, a missing teen, and a murderous ex-husband also meddle with the Skelf women in this darkly funny and tense story!
THE BIG CHILL is the second installment in Doug Johnstone’s series about the Skelf family and picks up immediately where book one, A DARK MATTER, left off. I absolutely love the Skelf women and felt myself quickly reconnecting with Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah as I followed them on their latest adventures.
Johnstone gifts the reader with alternating narratives told by Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah. While their lives naturally overlap consistently with the cases they are working on and their day to day actions, we are still able to get to know them on an individual level through each of their narratives. I love the individual quirks and emotions that the reader feels for each of the women. Watching each of their struggles and successes as an individual and as a family are intoxicating and comforting. I truly felt myself cheering for Dorothy, Jenny, and Hannah to overcome their hardships.
The pacing of THE BIG CHILL drives the narratives at a rapid pace throughout the story. The chapters are kept on the shorter side to propel the story as a whole, as well as the cases the Skelfs are working on forward. I loved the momentum and clever cliffhangers that we found throughout the chapters that motivated me to read large chunks of the book at a time. I was thoroughly entertained and committed to finding out the answers to the many cases the Skelfs were working on. Despite the cases being so different, I felt that they were all equally important. Johnstone does a fantastic job of weaving the investigations together to give the reader a classic detective aspect to this book.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of THE BIG CHILL and this series in general is Johnstone’s ability to make these books feel like a comfort read despite covering some dark topics. Johnstone’s use of humor gives these books something unique that allows them to stand out in the crime fiction genre. This is a series I am fully committed to and each book leaves me wanting more! I can’t wait to see where the Skelfs find themselves next!
Please be sure to check out all of the amazing bloggers heading up this tour!
A huge thank you to Orenda Books for my gifted copy!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book