Into Books Review: The Mash House by Alan Gillespie

Book: The Mash House
Author: Alan Gillespie
Publisher: Unbound

Teacher-turned-writer Alan Gillespie hands in his debut work and it’s ready to be marked.

Gillespie’s mighty tome is set in the fictional village of Cullrothes, a remote, unforgiving corner of the Scottish Highlands whose inhabitants are inextricably linked by secrets, lies and the produce of its local distillery. Not for Gillespie the picture postcard view of this part of the world. Inspired by the works of Iain Banks, the author’s vista is as dark as a freshly dug peat field grave at midnight.

With each foreboding scene framed like a damaged, modern day reconstruction of a Nasmyth landscape, Gillespie takes the high road through the Shore Road to a village of the damnable, every bit as grim as devotees of the Tartan and Scandic Noir genres would demand.

Death, duality and a refreshing lack of contrition and obvious redemption make fascinating characters such as Alice Green – for me, the novel’s stand out creation –  the kind of morally opaque femme fatale a reader looks forward to making a second date with.

Though over four hundred pages long, its short, bite sized chapters make The Mash House  an easy book to dip in and out of, especially for those with limited available reading time.

Alternatively, bolt the doors, pour yourself a large glass of something strong and settle in for a long night in the company of Alice, Innes, Donald, Grandpa, Jessie and Johnny Coca-Cola.

But remember to sharpen that broadsword, unplug the toaster, take the stag’s head off the wall and keep all beloved pets safely locked up indoors…

Just in case.

Available now at The Mash House by Alan Gillespie: Unbound

George Paterson
@gfpaterson

Links:
Alan Gillespie website
Twitter

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