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In our Star Read holidaying Highland journalist Rebecca can't resist a hot story ...

By Margaret Chrystall

On opening the debut Rebecca Connolly crime fiction novel by Douglas Skelton, I remember looking round our newsroom to see if he had installed a spy camera somewhere, so accurate were his descriptions of the quickly changing world of local journalism.

Children Of The Mist by Douglas Skelton.
Children Of The Mist by Douglas Skelton.

Little has changed with the fifth book in the series, Children Of The Mist (Polygon, £9.99), this week’s Star Read, as the changes keep coming.

The young journalist we first met at the Inverness-based Highland Chronicle newspaper has moved on.

Rebecca is using her journalist’s research skills to check out a possible guest for a TV series being made on romance scams. We meet her talking on the phone about elderly Harry, a possible victim of ‘catfishing’, with the show’s presenter Leo. But while she is parked up on a Highland road near Loch Rannoch to take the call, another story edges into her life.

As a series of cars pull in around her and people get out, one carrying a wreath, Rebecca: “… felt her reporter’s nose twitch. What was going on in those woods?”

And that is all it takes to distract her from a much-needed holiday with her new love interest, solicitor Stephen. The mystery of a missing young man in the atmospheric Black Wood cranks up Rebecca’s instincts for a story.

As well as juggling her concerns for Harry, and digging back into the life of the missing man, Rebecca is struggling with her addiction – the job – as always, putting it before her personal life.

Douglas Skelton.
Douglas Skelton.

A former journalist himself, Douglas Skelton offers searingly accurate insights into a journalist's psychology. And as a master of creating plots that neatly sidestep anything predictable, he leads his readers here to possible scenarios that disappear like the deftly-drawn Highland landscapes into the mists of the title.

If you have followed Rebecca’s rollercoaster experiences so far, it is satisfying to see a character you've learned to love, thrawn and driven as ever, but ... mellowing?!

Children Of The Mist by Douglas Skelton (Polygon, £9.99).

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