Scottish crime writer, Craig Robertson has rebranded as CS Robertson. I've been a big fan of his work since his debut novel, 'Random'. In fact, even now, there is a dark aspect of that book that I still think about. All of his novels have been darkly psychological and thoroughly entertaining. I had high hopes for this new chiller, and I was not disappointed.
'The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill' is a first-person narrative as we follow the titular character about her life and strange work of cleaning up after the dead. She gets all the jobs nobody else will touch; the bodies left to decompose in their own homes, those who died lonely and forgotten. It takes a special kind of person to take on a job like this and Grace definitely fits that bill. She has a very complicated relationship with her father, no friends to speak of, no neighbours to converse with, and only a cat for company. She, like the people she cleans up after, is alone and lonely. She's also incredibly strong and determined.
Grace is also not what she seems. I must have forgotten I was reading a book by Robertson as halfway through the tone changes and it becomes much darker as Grace's own secrets are revealed. But that's where Robertson is a master of the genre. He's adept at reeling you in, making you think you know where this is heading only to turn the story on its head and make your jaw hit the floor. From then on, it's an entirely different novel, and the gloves are off.
This is a wonderful read and touches on many issues that are important to society today – loneliness and sadness, terminal illness, the treatment of the elderly, and the decision over the right-to-choose when to die. In places, this is an incredibly sad story, but it's written so beautifully with depth and style.
It's a dark and disturbing novel. It's chilling and haunting. It's original and touching. This book will genuinely be one of your best reads of the 2022.