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The Last Refuge Hardcover – 22 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (22 May 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1471127737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471127731
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A former journalist, Craig Robertson had a 20-year career with a Scottish Sunday newspaper before becoming a full-time author. He interviewed three Prime Ministers, reported on major stories including 9/11, Dunblane, the Omagh bombing and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He was pilloried on breakfast television, beat Oprah Winfrey to a major scoop, spent time on Death Row in the USA and dispensed polio drops in the backstreets of India.

His gritty crime novels are set on the mean streets of contemporary Glasgow. His first novel, Random, was shortlisted for the 2010 CWA New Blood Dagger, longlisted for the 2011 Crime Novel of the Year and was a Sunday Times bestseller. He is also the author of a series of novels featuring crime scene photographer Tony Winter and Detective Sergeant Rachel Narey; Snapshot, Cold Grave and Witness the Dead.

Craig also has a weakness/fascination/obsession with black pudding and has travelled across Europe in search of the perfect pud. This admittedly strange pilgrimage included being a judge at the world black pudding championships in France.

Product Description

About the Author

During his 20-year career with a Scottish Sunday newspaper, Craig Robertson interviewed three recent Prime Ministers; attended major stories including 9/11, Dunblane, the Omagh bombing and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann; beenwas pilloried on breakfast television, beat Oprah Winfrey to a major scoop, spent time on Death Row in the USA and dispensed polio drops in the backstreets of India. His debut novel, RANDOM, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger and was a Sunday Times bestseller

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
John Callum arrives on the Faroe Islands in order to find anonymity. To the northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway, the eighteen islands which comprise the Faroe Islands are isolated, windswept and seem a good place for Callum to leave behind the demons which pursue him. Formerly a teacher in Glasgow, Callum has constant nightmares about an incident which happened there. No longer able to teach, he is willing to undertake any job and manages to find work in a fish factory and a home in a deserted little shack, belonging to his employer.

Before long, Callum finds that he is uneasily settling into his new surroundings. Some accept his statement that he wants to settle there; others are more questioning, or even resentful. Although befriended by local man, Tummas Barthel and French photographer, Serge Gottori, others are not so friendly. When Callum meets attractive young artist, Karis Lisberg, he attracts the attention of her aggressive ex-boyfriend, Aron Dam, and the displeasure of her pastor father. Plus, there is another troublemaker, Toki, at work. The rural idyll is not turning out quite the way he expected, with warnings and threats being left outside his new home. When a man is stabbed to death, Callum – the outsider, the foreigner, the stranger –and a man who was seen arguing with the victim shortly before his death, is the obvious suspect.

This is a truly stunning crime novel, in which the Faroe Islands themselves are almost a character in the story. With long winters, little daylight and inhabitants with Viking ancestry and a language he does not understand, this is very much stepping into the unknown for Callum. Everyone knows everyone else and there is nowhere to hide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole on 22 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
The Last Refuge grabbed me from the first page and wouldn't let go until the very end. The setting is absolute perfection. Few people have even heard of the Faroe Islands. (I am one of the lucky ones; after seeing a stunningly beautiful photograph of towering green cliffs and cascading waterfalls, I learned that it was taken on one of the eighteen islands that make up the archipelago.) Craig Robertson puts readers right in the middle of this incredible landscape and shares not only its beauty, wildlife and remoteness, but the towns, the people, and the customs and language as well. My reaction to the setting was visceral and immediate.

But setting alone does not make a book. To it, Robertson adds a strong cast of characters. John Callum is a man filled with secrets, and although readers quickly learn how horrifying his nightmares are and how quick-tempered he can be, they somehow know that he is a man who can be trusted, a man who can be a friend. Robertson makes them want to shake Callum until he tells them why he ran away from Scotland-- and it's a secret that takes a long time to unveil.

Karis, the woman with whom Callum falls in love, is alluring and mercurial. She has secrets, too. Many of the secondary characters do, and Callum even has a difficult time figuring out the local inspector, Broddi Tunheim, who refuses to go quietly into that good night once the Danish police have made their entrance. These three characters-- and others-- shine brightly in this tightly woven plot that has so many twists and turns.

Yes indeed-- The Last Refuge is a perfect blend of story, character and setting, each of which illuminate and strengthen the others. Sometimes bleak and desolate, it's an enthralling look deep into a man's soul and deep into a fascinating place. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 22 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
John Callum is in the Faroe Islands to make a new start. Plagued by nightmares from the life he's left behind in Glasgow, he slowly settles into the close-knit community - taking a job at a salmon farm and living in a basic shack belonging to the farm's manager, the religious Martin Hojgaard and his good-hearted wife, Silja. He even starts a relationship with passionate, volatile local artist Karis Lisberg. For a while, life is looking good.

Then he wakes up in the harbour after a heavy night's drinking and finds a knife in his pocket - a knife covered in someone else's blood. As John tries to piece together what happened the night before, he learns that a body has been found. With the locals drawing ranks against him and a freshly arrived Danish police team regarding John as their number one suspect, John's biggest worry is that they might actually be right ...

Tartan Noir meets Scandinavian Noir in Craig Robertson's standalone crime novel whose slow burn plot makes excellent use of its atmospheric setting and its protagonist's mysterious past. However, the reveal of the killer was a bit of a let-down and didn't quite make sense in the context of what we're told while some of John's actions are incredibly reckless (even when considered in the context of the discoveries we make about his past). I'm a fan of Robertson's writing - he has a crisp way with description that gives you a sense of both place and violence and kept me turning the pages while there are also some funny lines. However, if this book sparks a series, I'm not honestly sure that I'd read on, although I would always check out Robertson's other work.

Despite his first person voice, Callum is a mystery for most of the book.
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