Candles and Roses - Alex Walters - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Candles and Roses – Alex Walters

Murdered young women are found laid out between candles and roses. The case comes close to home for DI McKay. He is obsessed with catching the killer


DI McKay #1

 It is raining and you are simply soaking wet – dying to get away from the street. You are so glad to be out of the cold that you ignore the disturbing flash of foreboding just before you are drawn in and realise it is too late. You are never to be seen alive again, your body will be laid out between candles and roses. You have become another lost soul.


DI Alec McKay wants to keep up the appearance of being a force to be reckoned with, a grumpy Scot and “streetwise metropolitan” from Glasgow rather than the “turnip-eating provincial” from Dundee he in fact is. His DS is Ginny Horton, as English as can be and as deceiving in her appearance as McKay because she “looked as if butter wouldn’t melt in her arse” contrary to her inner strength and confidence. When young couple Greg and Kelly make out in the woods, they stumble upon the naked dead body of a girl laid out amidst candles and roses. McKay, with upon his desk the open case of Lizzie Hamilton, a girl gone missing the summer before, takes this murder personally. The young woman is a lost soul, another Lizzy like McKay’s own daughter. The reader is unaware of what happened to McKay’s daughter but it has obviously taken a toll on his marriage. Kelly is convinced something similar must have happened to Lizzie Hamilton.

As Kelly knew her, she wants to investigate and for that purpose, takes on a waitress job at the Caledonian with its creepy landlord Denny Gorman because it was here Lizzie Hamilton was last seen. Denny Gorman has a wandering eye for girls, the “old grope” according to boyfriend Greg, who is not too happy with Kelly’s initiative. Meanwhile, McKay has difficulty identifying the young woman in the woods; it turns out she was a runaway from a controlling and dominating father and a docile mother. McKay doesn’t like the father at all but to say he murdered his own daughter? When another young woman is found murdered, in a cave near the sea surrounded by candles and roses, McKay and Horton fear a serial killer is at work. Both women were runaways from home with estranged parents. After moving away from home, it is conspicuous they ended up just there. Why should they have come back, lost souls as they were?

Can McKay put aside his personal emotions about his own daughter Lizzy as well as the open case from last summer? Is Kelly endangering herself by being close to Denny Gorman, owner of the Caledonian? Does working there in any way help to discover the whereabouts of Lizzie Hamilton? McKay’s second in command, Horton, fears McKay is personally involved. Horton knows McKay needs closure, will do anything to help the lost souls, to somehow amend for what happened to his daughter. Finding the girls’ murderer may prove to be difficult and time is limited because if it is a serial killer, chances are he will strike again. With every new lead, McKay gets more stuck in the case and cannot help thinking of his own daughter. The dots the police are able to connect point at new directions, at horrible secrets and damaged lives. With the press upon them, the body count growing, will they catch the murderer?

My Thoughts

Alex Walters’ crime debut is an intriguing detective novel, set in the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. I loved this great and exciting thriller. What makes the book so enjoyable is the perfect mix of police work and personal events. The reader is as involved with the investigation as the police and has the same clues to puzzle with and find the killer. And then there is the ending… I can’t wait to read the next book in the DCI McKay series!

About the Author

Alex Walters Author Image

After working in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking branche, Alex Walters now runs a consultancy bureau in the criminal justice sector. Under the name Michael Walters he has published three crime thrillers, set in Mongolia. Alex Walters has written two thrillers, set in and around Manchester, ‘Trust No-One and ‘Nowhere to Hide’ as well as two crime novels Late Checkout’ and Dark Corners featuring DCI Kenny Murain. ‘Candles and Roses’ is the first of a new crime series, set in Scotland’s Black Isle.

Book Info

 Paperback   252 pages
 Publisher   Bloodhound Books  (27 Sept. 2016)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  0995511195
 ISBN-13  978-0995511194

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