A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Countdown to Death by Iain McChesney- A Book Review


Ten strangers are lured to a remote Scottish island at the invitation of a reclusive industrialist.

Stranded on Lord Black's wondrous estate, the disparate guests have more in common than they first realize.

Accused in a mysterious letter of having committed crimes in their past, one by one they are hunted down. But who is the killer? Will any of them live to find out?

A modern retelling of the Agatha Christie classic--with a shocking twist.


Countdown to DeathCountdown to Death by Iain McChesney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Countdown to Death by Iain McChesney is a 2015 Wayzgooze Press Publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Ten green bottles, hanging on the wall! And if one green bottle should accidentally fall, There'll be nine green bottles...”

A group of people from all walks of life are invited to visit “Lord Black” in his Scottish Island 'castle' in a secluded and remote location. Once they arrive, they realize that their darkest and dirtiest secrets are about to be exposed and justice is about to be served…

“Something that last in this world, that's what counts, the rest of it is snow falling in springtime.”

As the synopsis of this mystery tale explains, this is a modern day retelling of the classic Agatha Christie novel “Then There Were None”.

Daring to put a new spin on such a groundbreaking and beloved classic is a little bit risky, in my opinion, so, I wondered if the author was either deep in his cups, had brass balls, or perhaps he was, in his own special way, paying homage to the classic mystery novel and especially to Ms. Christie, who quite literally turned the mystery genre on its head when she wrote “Then There were None.”

I approached the story with a slight feeling of trepidation, wondering in what way the author puts his own personal stamp on this familiar outline, hoping this wasn't too ambitious of an undertaking. I also wondered how I should approach it, since the temptation to compare the old with the new might be unavoidable. As it turns out the story is very well written, even stylish, with some wickedly dark humor, and a few illustrations added in, to put the cherry on the cake.

Despite the obvious and very familiar plot, the formula is one that in so enduring, it continues to work, time and time again. The story does what it sets out to do, which is to keep the reader guessing who will be the next victim, and who the murderer is and if he/she is performing some sort of twisted form of vigilante justice, or if there is another more sinister motive behind the murders, and of course the scenario creates a vast amount of tension when paranoia and suspicion sets in among the guest. There are shocking revelations, confessions, twist and turns, which created an atmosphere that's been missing in mystery novels for a long time. However, the modern day mystery lover will enjoy the updates which include current technology, and more grisly descriptions, giving the story an even darker tone.

Having read one of this author's books in the past, I knew going in the writing would be impressive, and was happy to see the obvious respect he has for this genre, using his very vivid imagination to breath new life into this standard classic. The dialogue was crisp and distinct, the atmosphere was unique and of course the story has a stunning and spectacular conclusion.

This is a fun and interesting spin on the classic novel, very unique and witty, which could even spark a renewed interest in British, 'locked room', or vintage mysteries, or maybe inspire a few more retellings in the future! I for one think that is a great idea! I had a great time reading this one!



Countdown to Death


About this author

Born and raised in Scotland, Iain McChesney is a writer of classic mysteries and the author of Murder at Malenfer.

His second novel, Countdown to Death, is a modern re-telling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, drawing inspiration from the remote gothic qualities of the Scottish highlands in homage to the classic whodunit.

He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife and two children.

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