The Chemical Detective | Fiona Erskine| Review

“Forget about the past. Forget about the future. Focus on the moment. Focus on the pleasure.”





DR Jar Silver, skier, scientist, international jet-setter, explosives expert.

Working on an avalanche control in Slovenia, Jaq stumbles across a problem with a consignment of explosives. After raising a complaint with the supplier, a multinational chemical company, her evidence disappears. Jaq is warned, threatened, accused of professional incompetence and suspended. Taking her complaint further, she narrowly escapes death only to be framed for murder. Escaping from police custody, she sets out to find the key to the mystery.

Racing between the snowy slopes of Slovenia and the ghostly ruins of Chernobyl, can she uncover the truth before her time runs out?


I was kindly sent an ARC of this book by Point Blank at One World Publications and asked to be part of their blog tour on Wednesday 3rd April 2019. Firstly I want to say thank you to Point Blank and the wonderful author Fiona Erskine for giving me an early opportunity to read this book.

From the moment I was sent the synopsis of this book I knew it was something that I had to read. It sounded as if it would be full of mystery and definitely a book that was going to pull me in from start to finish. This book did exactly that and did not disappoint.

The Chemical Detective is very slow burning in relation to the plot and its general development, but for me that is not a criticism. Instead of giving me everything that I wanted straight away, Fiona constantly left me wanting more and more which made me struggle to put the book down. It is worth noting that I devoured this book in one sitting, not because I wanted to get it over and done with but because I just could not put it down. At the end of each chapter I found myself wanting to continue. Not many books can do that to me, so bravo Fiona! The slow burn in particular really sets you up for an explosive plot twist that you do not see coming. Fiona’s writing style can really lead you up one path, expecting to know what is coming next and then BAM theres a completely different path in a completely different direction … didn’t see that coming did you?

The novel itself is so beautifully written, I found it so easy to imagine what Fiona was describing, whether that be a situation, character or particular location .. even the food that a character was eating.

“He served the scrambled eggs on toasted crumpets, a thin sliver of pink salmon sandwiched above the little craters of butter, turning opaque where it touched the hot egg piled in a pyramid and topped with a  sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and sprig of parsley”

I dare you to tell me that the wonderful descriptive writing above has not made you think about salmon and eggs on crumpets and made you particularly hungry. You would be lying if you said it didn’t. I digress .. I know what the protagonist had for breakfast is not what you look for in a review but I just couldn’t help myself, it is such a beautiful writing style.  You can expect that kind of visually descriptive writing throughout the book which I feel like really adds to the experience of the reader.

The book is described as a high-octane feminist thriller and that could not be more accurate. Our main protagonist is a sassy female, a strong, intelligent and independent character who is like a breath of fresh air to read about. I really liked her character she grew on me as the plot thickened and even more likeable traits came to light throughout. Honestly, she might be one of my favourite characters in a thriller that I have read. I find that characters in thrillers tend to be arrogant and unlikeable however Jaq was the complete opposite and I really enjoyed reading about her.

I was kindly sent a press release with this book which told me a little bit about the author. Fiona is a profession chemical engineer and that really is apparent in her writing. She is clearly a very intelligent female, one of which I admire. Some part of this book can be very science heavy and I found myself having to concentrate more than I would have liked in order to understand it in parts. Please don’t let this put you off, I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the subject of science so it seemed to go over my head but this does not have a negative impact on the story. It certainly didn’t put me off finishing and enjoying the book.

The Chemical Detective is Fiona’s debut novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I definitely believe that someone with a scientific background would enjoy this book even more. Thank you Fiona for bringing this book into the world, I cannot wait to read the next instalment.

Again, thank you to One World Publications for giving me this fantastic opportunity.

This book will be released on Thursday 4th April 2019. You can purchase it here.

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