Under The Marsh by G.R. Halliday


Twelve years ago DI Monica Kennedy caught the notorious serial killer Pauline Tosh, imprisoning her for life.

When Pauline asks Monica to visit her at the remote Highlands Carselang prison, the detective thinks she’s playing games.

But then Pauline hands her a hand-drawn map with a cross marking the desolate marsh lands near Inverness and Monica can’t ignore it – she was always convinced there were more victims out there.

And when a body is discovered it looks like they’ve found a new name from Pauline’s kill list.

But things are never that simple…

An atmospheric thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, perfect for fans of James Oswald, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid.

I can’t believe that I’ve never discovered this series before! As a fan of strong women characters, crime thrillers and books set in Scotland, Under The Marsh ticks a lot of boxes for me so I’m surprised it managed to slip under my radar! But now I have to say that this book is so good that I immediately ordered the first two books in the series as soon as I finished this one as I think I’ve discovered my new favourite series! Under The Marsh is dark, shocking and utterly compelling and I found myself completely wrapped up in the atmospheric mystery that grabbed me from the very first chapter.

When serial killer Pauline Tosh asks DI Monica Kennedy to visit her in prison, Monica goes out of curiosity as she’s convinced they didn’t find all of Pauline’s victims. So when Pauline gives her clues to discover another body, Monica is shocked when they do actually find something buried beneath the marsh. But Pauline is renowned for playing games and Monica knows that nothing will be quite as it seems…

This is a twisty crime novel where the reader is never quite sure who to trust. I loved how the storyline slowly unravelled, gradually revealing its secrets as Monica works hard to follow all the clues using good old fashioned police work! I know this is the third in the series but I didn’t feel I couldn’t follow the characters like in some series where I have tried to start part way through. Saying that though, I do need to delve deeper in her life and character which is why I want to read the first two books in the series as well! I loved the balance between “work Monica” and “home Monica” as it gave a well rounded account of who she is and what makes her tick. She’s relatable and amiable, hardworking and strong minded so I took to her immediately.

If you’re a fan of Scottish Crime then this should definitely be on your reading list. I lived all over Scotland during my teens and my twenties so I knew many of the places that were used in the settings here. The Highlands are stunning so to contrast that beauty with the ugliness of murder made perfect sense to me! And G.R. Halliday uses his local environment to perfection throughout Under The Marsh to show how evil can lie dormant beneath even the most idyllic of backdrops.

As you can tell I absolutely loved this book-it’s a breathtaking read, beautifully written with a gritty and gripping storyline that continued to surprise me throughout. I highly recommend it!

Under The Marsh was published by Vintage on 21st July 2022.

G.R. Halliday was born in Edinburgh and grew up near Stirling in Scotland. He spent his childhood obsessing over the unexplained mysteries his father investigated, which has proved excellent inspiration for From the Shadows. The book was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Debut Prize 2019. G.R. Halliday now lives in the rural Highlands outside of Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and swimming in the sea, before returning home to his band of semi-feral cats.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.