The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill
The must-read, incredible voice-driven mystery thriller
by C.S. Robertson
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Pub Date 20 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 20 Jan 2022
*** The unforgettable thriller readers are calling: 'enthralling', 'fascinating', 'clever' and 'remarkable'. And now picked as one of the Fifty Best Summer Reads of 2022 by THE TIMES. ***
'Robertson tries something audacious, and he pulls it off superbly' THE SPECTATOR
DEATH IS NOT THE END. FOR GRACE McGILL IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.
'A highly original thriller' MARK BILLINGHAM
When people die alone and undiscovered, it's her job to clean up what's left behind - whether it's clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.
When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.
A STAND-OUT NOVEL WITH A UNIQUE NARRATIVE VOICE AND AN UNGUESSABLE MYSTERY, YOU ARE GUARANTEED TO REMEMBER GRACE McGILL.
Praise for The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill:
'There are jaw-dropping revelations and startling assertions' THE TIMES
'Haunting, twisted and compelling' C.L. TAYLOR
'Twisted, twisting, original .... The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is unforgettable' CHRIS WHITAKER
'Dark and quirky - there's just something readers are going to love about meeting Grace McGill' SCOTTISH SUN
'One of the highlights of my reading year. A deliciously dark masterpiece' HELEN FITZGERALD
'A twisted story of undiscovered deaths and twisted minds, of people of little or no morality and Grace right in the thick of it, setting records straight and doing good in her own inimitable way' Reader review
'Wow! What an absolute stunner of a book. This was so different to a lot of the books out there at the moment. Totally gripping and thrilling and I couldn't stop reading it although I really didn't want to finish it!' Reader review
'A premise that, gratifyingly, delivers the goods in spades and does so with a superbly well drawn cast of characters and a rather unique, well written, often dark narrative. Compelling and wholly engaging reading. Top notch' Reader review
'The story was engrossing and I couldn't wait to see where it would go. I highly recommend this' Reader review
'A masterpiece' Reader review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 439 members
4 - 5 stars
Who is Grace McGill? Who indeed. She’s a death cleaner, that person who goes in after a body is found that may have been undiscovered for a while. However, there’s much more to Grace than this unusual career, oh yes, so much more .... she doesn’t just clean up the Glaswegian properties, she also likes to clean up mysteries too. Grace tells her incredible story.
Wow! This book starts dramatically and grabs your attention immediately and it’s one of those novels that is genuinely hard to put down. The premise is fantastic and I think it’s fair to say it’s unique and kudos to the author for that. You hear Grace's voice clearly as she takes you on a real journey. At times she’s darkly funny, she’s a loner except for George the cat, at others she’s almost a tortured soul and her voice becomes almost haunting in its tone. She’s obsessive and as she tells her tale you can see she has a compulsion to seek the truth no matter how much it may cost her. At heart she’s an unhappy but very good soul and much of her unhappiness can be laid at the feet of her appalling father whose characterisation is excellent, as you see him for the lowlife he definitely is. I don’t want to give too much away about what unfolds but let’s settle for a very messed up, dark mystery set in the past and as the reader makes sense of the clues Grace gives us or the discoveries she makes, it becomes even darker and dangerous. Although I do guess some parts of it that is irrelevant as the storytelling is so powerful that you are swept along in it and there are plenty of surprises still to come.
Overall, a twisted story of undiscovered deaths and twisted minds, of people of little or no morality and Grace right in the thick of it, setting records straight and doing good in her own inimitable way.
With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Hodder and Stoughton for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Will post to Goodreads when the book appears there and to retail sites on publication day.
Wow! What an absolute stunner of a book. This was so different to a lot of the books out there at the moment. Totally gripping and thrilling and I couldn't stop reading it although I really didn't want to finish it!
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great storyline with excellent characters. I would highly recommend this book as it was a great read.
A Premise That Gratifyingly Delivers….
What an intriguing premise. A premise that, gratifyingly, delivers the goods in spades and does so with a superbly well drawn cast of characters and a rather unique, well written, often dark narrative. Compelling and wholly engaging reading. Top notch.
I loved this book it had a very Rear Window feel to it. The idea that someone who sees what you’re up to but doesn’t necessarily interact with you. The story was engrossing and I couldn’t wait to see where it would go. I highly recommend this.
A new author to me.
The title fits the book well, but it didn’t do anything to make me want to read it. Nor does the cover.
Grace is a death cleaner, cleaning up after people have died and not been found for some time. It’s not your usual deep clean rate here!
Grace is the narrator, I really like that Grace is chatting to the reader. The writing style runs with the chatty natural feel.
I love Grace’s quirky mannerisms. It’s not just Grace that’s quirky, the book has a unique quirky vibe. Grace is a social outcast, she is lonely, isolated she is compulsive.
It’s not gory as such but there are places that turned my stomach.
Favourite quote ‘my smile is sort of….wonky. It’s probably because I don’t use it much’
I was hooked from the very beginning what a story concept. Very fresh and exciting.
I started off loving Grace, her quirky character really has good depth. The story is very character driven. There’s plenty of tension, it’s got a good pace throughout.
It’s a real WTF book! There are revelations that had me reeling.
It’s dark and gritty. I was hooked from the beginning, and miffed that I couldn’t read it faster.
I’m still dwelling on the ending. I don’t know if I liked it or not. It’s certainly a book that will stay with me for some time.
One that I would highly recommended.
Intinal I just like the cover of the book. I know don't judge a book by its cover but first impressions can mean something. Now onto the story Grace is a lovely character. I like following her story and all these discovers she's making. Once I picked this book up I couldn't stop reading. Grace investagting Tommy Death. You can hear Grace mind over going all the time you feel as if your looking through her eyes. I really enjoyed this book I couldn't believe that twist.
Grace McGill’s job is an unusual one, but it’s something about which she feels strongly. Setting things rights, returning a home back to what it was before a body was found within, often months after the person had died. No matter what she’s faced with – and yes, it’s all manner of remains, biological and personal – she takes her role seriously. With her mother no longer there and a father who shows no affection, it’s a quiet life with her cat. Until she clears out a home of an elderly man who lay undetected for months. Another life gone, but one that prompts Grace on a journey to discover what happened and the reasons why he had so many of one item in particular. It’s not just a clever read – you’ll sail through a range of emotions and there’s no way you’ll forget Grace after you finish the final page. I’m struggling to remember reading a book like it before, and what a way to start 2022 reading.
Very weird, very wonderful: a damaged, damaging, unreliable narrator, strangely endearing
This is an edgily satisfying, very uncomfortable read, with a central character whom ‘in real life’ one would probably want to avoid – she is hardly the most socially skilful, appealing person to encounter. The clearly misnamed ‘Grace’ who seems to have none of the qualities, physical, emotional, spiritual which might go along with expectations of the qualities association with ‘Grace’, is, oddly, someone whom, on reflection, after finishing the book, had this reader wryly smiling. Grace may not be in any obvious way full-of-Grace – and yet, and yet….
Grace McGill is uncomfortable in social situations, something of a loner. It might be tempting to think that she is neurodiverse, somewhere ‘on the spectrum’ perhaps. But although she may be uncomfortable with relationship, with emotional intimacy, this is not because she is uncaring. In fact, the reverse. She feels the suffering of the lonely, the terrified, the bullied and the victims far, far to intensely.
This has brought her into an odd profession. She is a cleaner – but not of the houses of the living. She is a forensic cleaner. She gets called in, after the police, the emergency services, the investigations of possible crimes have all been, gone, and done their jobs, to those premises where some poor soul has died alone, undiscovered, unnoticed as missing, till decomposition over weeks or months creates complaints from neighbours, responsive to rank and festering odours. It is then Grace will be brought in, clad in biohazard gear, to render premises habitable again.
She has, as might be expected, dark secrets in her past, a traumatic childhood, which has left her too scared to allow intimacy and trust with others.
She is also somewhat – more than a little – obsessive. She knows she is damaged, and is drawn to others who are also deeply fearful, deeply lonely.
And she is not always the most honest of people. Not even to herself. And not to us, either.
In this case, information which we, the readers, piece together, shocking surprises we are given, don’t feel like the author playing crass games with the reader, but there are places in Grace’s memory and past which SHE cannot bear to view.
The reader is unlikely to LIKE Grace, but she excites our care and compassion – and even, our understanding.
A most strange ‘psychological thriller of the literary kind. One which did not seem contrived. I will certainly want to read more by this author, and am delighted to have had the privilege of discovering such an unusual read by a first time author, thanks to the publisher via NetGalley
I raced through this twisty and dark story in one sitting! Grace McGill is a death cleaner. She cleans up after those people who die alone. Along with their bodily remains she cleans up their clutter and secrets...
One old man lies undetected for months. At his funeral she discovers he has old friends. She wonders why they hadn't been checking up on him when he was alive.
Grace also lives alone with her cat and visits her ungrateful and abusive father through duty, not love. She misses her mother so much.
Something makes her delve deeper into the past and tries to find out what secret binds the men together after finding the items in Tommy's flat, something's not right and she's determined to get to the bottom of it at whatever the cost.
It's hugely compelling although very dark and disturbing. I loved it!
Grace McGill is a 'death cleaner', after a corpse has been removed from a house Grace goes in and deeps cleans. Grace has a niche in cleaning up the 'undiscovered' which have sometimes been decaying for weeks or months.
Aside from her unusual occupation, Grace is a unique character, painfully shy, obsessive and more comfortable around death than she is around most living people.
Some photos and a collection of newspapers found at one of her clean up jobs triggers an obsession to try and solve a mystery.
This is a very dark book, even before the mystery / thriller unfolds. I found Grace's character fully believable and was compelled to read her story.
The plot starts as a creeper and a thinker, as Grace's investigation deepens it twists and loops wildly. There is real tension and threat and we really get into Grace's head, "What do you think you know, and how do you know it?" is a question she gets asked (and asks herself) more than once.
There is a real depth, with lots of introspection and reflection on loneliness and social isolation.
This is a book that really hooks, and lingers after finishing, the more I think about it, the better this book is. The characters, atmosphere, plotting, pace and tension are all absolutely spot on and hugely impressive.
I only discovered after reading that this is from the same author as Random and Murderabilia, I wasn't surprised by this, as the quality is obvious, and I love this foray into a more psychological mystery.
In my opinion this book is destined to become a modern dark psychological crime classic.
Thanks to Netgalley and Hodden & Stoughton
I have to say that in all my years of reading and the thousands of books that I've read, I have never read s book like this. I was even doing a child's trick of reading under the covers last night so as not to disturb my hubby. It's amazing, gripping and very well written.
A clever book, loved it.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book. This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
An interesting premise turned into a compelling and troubling story. The novel centres around the strange and quirky character of Grace McGill, a cleaner who specialises in cleaning up particularly unpleasant death scenes. She initially comes across as an eccentric loner but as the story develops we see an obsessive and more sinister side to her character as she tries to clear up mysteries about the people she cleans up after. A highly original and readable book.
This is an unusual murder mystery, I’ve never read a book like it before. Grace is an engaging character, self employed to deep clean the homes of people who die and lay undiscovered for a long time. Half way through the tale turns a turn to the dark side, and the plot thickens. I almost gave up on the book because I didn’t like the story line with Grace’s relationship with her father. It made uncomfortable reading, but I think it was, sadly, realistic. Not an uplifting book, but interesting and gripping right to the end.
I really enjoyed this book, the storyline kept you reeling in and wanting to read more and more. Grace was described and written so incredibly well, a matter of fact all of the characters were. It kept me so intrigued. I loved the thrill and suspense, couldn't put it down once i started reading that i stayed up to the early hours to finish it. I had an idea where the ending was coming but i still enjoyed the book and thought it was such a likeable book. I would recommend to fellow book readers 5*
Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for letting me read and review this book, i look forward to what's more to come from the author.
Good grief this is absolutely mesmerising! Long time since I read such an original voice and intriguing story. Grace McGill is probably one of the most complex and original characters I have encountered in a thriller. She is so compassionate, unforgiving, an avenging angel with only a cat for company. The narrative - all in Grace's voice - is always interesting but seems fairly safe to start with but gradually little things start to jar and information is revealed to seep through and disturb thoughts. This is a cracking read, action-packed, twisting, dangerous and unpredictable.
I have read many books over the past few years with characters named in the title, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, The surprising days of Isla Pembroke, The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to name a few....
I don't think of those characters will stay with me longer than Grace McGill....she is an amazingly, complex character.
Grace works as a cleaner, however she is no ordinary cleaner.....she attends the scenes of those who have died and lain undiscovered for a number of weeks and months. Whilst this is not a job many of us could stomach, Grace takes great pride in her job and feels she is doing a great public service.
Grace is cleaning a number of properties in Glasgow and discovers what might be a link between a number of deaths in the city which appear unrelated. She also discovers information relating to an unsolved missing persons case within one of the houses which she has cleaned. This takes Grace on an investigation across Scotland as she seeks to uncover the truth.
I really enjoyed this novel, set in Glasgow and containing great, realistic descriptions of the city. I will, of course, not spoil of anything however the journey of Grace and her character will live with you for a long time.
Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest, inbiased review.
This is a murder mystery with a difference. The story is told by Grace who is employed to clean up after people have died and lain undiscovered for a long time. The account Grace gives of her work is not for the squeamish as she goes into considerable detail about he aftermath of such deaths. In the curse of her work, Grace stumbles on a mystery involving some of the deceased and sets about investigating. Her investigation leads her to the island of Bute and to discoveries surrounding a disappearance that took place in 1964. What makes the story different concerns Grace's own back story. This fuels a twist in the story that happens unexpectedly in the middle of the novel. This twist comes as quite a jolt and feels as though the story has changed direction so suddenly that it takes the reader some time to adjust to it. It made me wonder whether the writer planned it from the beginning or just had the idea mid-way through writing. Nevertheless, I wanted to find out the whole story and this kept me reading so that I finished the book very quickly. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes crime thrillers that are a bit different as long as they have a strong stomach!
Seldom does a book engage me where I literally have to say up all night to reach the end, this book did.
Very hard to summarize without revealing the plot, so suffice to say, Grace engages you from the start and takes you on a journey of many twists & turns, most totally unexpected.
Best book I’ve read in 2021 so far.
An unexpectedly good read!
Grace is a tortured, sad, lonely young woman who has chosen a career that lets her think she's helping people when in fact she's punishing herself. While believing that she's helping people she's causing herself more pain by doing terrible things until she stumbles upon a decades old mystery where she finds people with more secrets than she has.
Grace McGill is an insular, friendless woman, living in Glasgow in her 30s. She has her beloved cat, and she has her own business - deep cleaning the houses of Undiscovereds. People who die alone and stay that way until they are found weeks, sometimes months, later. While working in the home of a man named Tommy Agnew, her suspicions are aroused by a hidden photograph and a stack of newspapers, all from the same date over many, many years. Grace can't get the mysterious life and sad death of Tommy Agnew out of her head, and she soon begins an investigation that could cost her her life. The past has stayed buried for many years already, but Grace has never been one to brush things under the carpet .
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder Straighten for giving me an advanced copy of this masterpiece.
Knock, Knock, Knocking on Horror’s Door.
Another unique, difficult to categorize book read this year!
Grace is a death site cleaner. How morbid is that?
Not particularly keen on interacting with anyone, Grace takes pride in her work disinfecting and decontaminating homes where people died and lay until discovery. She respected the lives of those she cleaned up after and is saddened by the fact that they died alone. At times reflective and others mournful, her complexity is rooted in a sincerity to help lonely people.
Her gallows sense of humor sometimes had me smiling at unexpected times although there’s no lightness of being here as the predominant subject matter is death.
She’s definitely a fascinating character and I wanted to learn more about her.
Be prepared for overt descriptions caused by the remnants putrefying bodies. I credit the author for researching the science of removing and disinfecting the pathogens created, but the grisly technicalities may be a little much for some. If you’re not friends with eww and goo, this party may not be to your liking.
Those cautionaries aside, I love books like this! Wickedly off-beat, original, and slightly bizarre, I was pulled in from the first page. Let’s just say this grabbed me in a death grip and wouldn’t let go.
Another 2021 Favorite!
Thank you to NetGalley UK, Hodder & Stoughton, and C.R. Robertson for my opportunity to read an advance review copy. Set to be published on January 20, 2022.
Grace McGill - death cleaner. Grace cleans the houses of people who have died and lain undiscovered for weeks/months. Sounds like a horrible job but it suits Grace. She lives alone with George her cat and enjoys her job treating the dead and their homes with respect. She is such a fantastic character who creeps into your heart and stays there. When Grace comes across a mystery the story takes off. It's such a brilliant, dark and often quite funny book that will live with you for a long time after the last page. 5***** from me!
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and C.S. Robertson for giving me the opportunity to review this unique book.
Creepy, compelling and totally captivating, I absolutely loved Grace McGill.
I'm a huge fan of crime and thriller, as well as true crime and podcasts, and I remember being horrified and fascinated at the idea of after-death cleaners who come in to do the dirty job nobody else can bear to do. Grace McGill specialises in the undiscovered deaths, the ones where people have laid unfound for weeks, even months.
This story evolves from a morbidly fascinating peek into Grace's dark world into a truly captivating thriller as she attempts to understand the mysterious circumstances behind several deaths and one girl's disappearance decades ago. I definitely won't forget Grace in a hurry...
Think you have a bad job? Think again. Grace McGill is a death cleaner
Think you are lonely? Think again. People die and lay lonely Undiscovered in their homes for months
Think you know where your moral compass stands? Think again, put yourself in this book's characters shoes and pick honestly a decisive choice faced with the same situations they face
A refreshing original gripping, engaging finely written dark twisted thriller.
I absolutely loved it.
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is like nothing I’ve read before and quite simply I couldn’t put it down.
Grace McGill had a rather unique job. When someone dies and is left undiscovered for an my period of time, she enters the property and cleans up what’s left behind be it clutter, human remains or dark secrets. When an old man is discovered in his flat months after he died, it seems to be an unremarkable like and unnoticed death, but Grace knows there is more to this. She sets about cleaning up in more ways than one.
It’s dark and compelling. It gets its teeth into you and hangs on the the very last page. A very worth five stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author for the chance to review.
Grace McGill is not who she seems. She's quirky, withdrawn and yet compassionate to a fault. Grace is quirky in her own right especially with what she does as a career. She's a crime scene cleaner. Not just any crime scene cleaner, she cleans up after people who have died and were not discovered right away, the forgotten.
Grace's character is unique, especially in her personality and attitude. This also helps me keep on reading as at the time the story can be extremely slow in development. The first few chapters are annoying as the author repeats how difficult Grace's profession is and which type of chemicals she used to clean up. It's a repetitive issue. Push through these slow parts and repetition and in the end, I was not disappointed. This is a unique read that should not be passed up.
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was a very interesting book a little slow at first but very engrossing. Grace is a quirky complex character who lives her life cleaning up after people who've died and not been discovered for a while. the people get inside her head and heart. There is also a mystery that goes back to 1964 that is connected to some of the people that have died an nteresting twist that I didn't predict. It touches on the themes of loneliness and isolation and the many secrets that people carry
I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review
I loved this one. Very fast paced, had me turning pages as I tore through it – I had to see how it would end. The characters were well rounded and the narrative felt believable. Gave me chills. Solid five
Given the choice, you wouldn’t swap lives with Grace McGill. She’s a trauma cleaner - cleaning up wheb someone dies and is left undiscovered for months after their death. This, whilst trying to handle her past and the emotionally abusive father who expects to be waited on hand and foot. But one day during a cleaning job she stumbles across something which sets Grace off on a path for answers.
Wow this book blew me away! Grace McGill is a such a gift of a character. I could not get enough of her captivating narrative, enriched with dark gallows humour. The plot drew me in straight away with its grisly details and then kept me turning the page as quickly as I could with the mystery of past events and the shocking revelations that come think and fast. And that ending! It’s the most apt, haunting ending I have read all year. Grace McGill will stay with me for a long, long time.
Thank you so much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion.
A cross between CSI and Greg Davis's The Cleaner.
Actually I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well executed, The characters were well developed and the plot intriguing. Some reviewers have said this book is slow going but I completely disagree. Just because 10 people don't die on the first page doesn't make it slow. The plot reaches out and grabs you, tentacle by tentacle until all eight are holding you prisoner. You just can't let go of the book until you've finished. Everyone seems to want to label Grace as autistic but I don't believe she is. She is, definitely one hugely fascinating character. I really enjoyed the way the story progressed and we became more attune to what makes up Grace as a person. The fact that a large part of it is set "doon the watter" on the Isle of Bute a place I know extremely well made it for me.. The atmosphere created was so full on I was back there in an instant, walking the same streets. Wemyss is pronounced Weemz for the uninitiated. I liked Grace. Yes, she is an enigma and complicated but despite everything I found myself liking her very much. The ending I was unsure about but after thinking about it, I do think it was the right thing to do, the right way to end the book. A very good read
Grace McGill has a job that very few of us could do. She cleans the places where people have died, people who didn’t have anyone who cared enough to worry about them. She literally cleans where they were found, and takes each death to heart.
This is such a good book, told in the first person, which, for the tale it is, is ideal. I probably know more about the decomposition of a human body than I really wanted to know, but it certainly plays a large part of explaining Graces’ character and reasoning. How she explains, to herself and to the readers how she copes with the nature of the job. Very few of us could. I thought I knew where this book was going, then suddenly it went somewhere so unexpected, I really had to keep reading to see how it resolved itself. And again, the ending, so unexpected. Excellent read.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Graces cleans homes for a living, well exhomes as the owners all have one thing in common their dead and lay undetected for some time, from weeks to months. It's a specialist job more than i ever realised!
There are similarities with a number of them, I simple daisy. Another of Grace's time consumption is making models of the scenes rooms she had cleaned just certain ones to keep their memory alive. The story takes a turn when Grace attends the funeral of one of the men whose body laid undetected for 5 months. She meets two of his friends and the adventure begins the search for truth.
This is a gritty thriller set in Glasgow and some hair raising twists that will match with stories of old from the old city. I feel this is more than worthy of 5 stars so sit back and enjoy I hope you do.
This is a very dark and controversial story, which needs someone who is into this kind of thing. Thankfully I like forensics, serial killers and the dark sides of humanity so this book was right up my alley.
If I have to compare it to something it would be the movie “Se7en”, in tone and subject matter. I saw this story in the same visual style as the film.
Grace is a very sad but memorable character, she cleans up after dead people. Because of her solitary lifestyle she gets obsessed with these people she works on and their stories lead her to a mystery. I think that’s all you need to know to get immersed in her life story.
It’s not a feel good book, it’s very real and extremely dark. I really liked it and would recommend it for people into thrillers and dark themes.
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C.S.Robertson is certainly different, it's also extremely good.
Grace is a death cleaner, when a body has been discovered in a property she goes in and deep cleans the premises after the cadaver has been removed. Author C.S. Robertson delights in detailing the smells,bugs,germs and toxic hazards left in such premises after human bodily fluids have seeped into the furnishings and decor of these places after a body has lain there,often for weeks or even months.
Grace is a strange character to say the least but she does empathise and respect her "clients", even though they're no longer alive. While cleaning one "client's" premises Grace finds tantalising clues about events he appears to have been involved in several decades earlier and decides to investigate.
Just when the reader thinks they know Grace and her quirks they discover a whole new side to her,a real curveball.
As Grace follows the trail of the age old mystery she discovers that there are those who want the past to stay in the past and she's in danger.
This is a quite amazing book,bordering on the dysfunctional Grace is not the most likeable character but you certainly won't forget her, aside from her soul-mate George no-one seems to understand her,including herself. Author Robertson skilfully takes us inside Grace's head,and trust me that's a very strange place to visit indeed.
Clever stuff,a fantastic read and a book that deserves massive success.
Grace McGill is a loner. She lives alone, she works alone. Her work is her life. She is the person called upon to clean up when a body has been discovered in a property weeks or maybe months, in some cases many months, after death. It is a difficult, unpleasant job, but one Grace feels compelled to do. She feels duty bound to do this job, if not her, then who? Whilst doing one particular clean up, Grace becomes intrigued by a photo and a collection of old newspapers, each with the same date though different years. With her usual attention to detail, Grace decides to search out what they mean, and, like everything else that Grace does, it becomes and obsession.
This story is told from the narrative of Grace, and the reader really gets into her mindset, we live her obsessions and compulsions, even though we know she is in danger.
When I started this book, due to its subject matter I thought it wasn’t for me. When I realised I had read 50% of the book without a break I knew I was hooked! Absolutely compelling, totally absorbing and very macabre! I loved it.
Thank you NetGalley.
Thank you to Rachel from Houghton & Stoddard! She messaged me about this great new book and invited me to read it. I was intrigued by the premise and gave it a go.
All I can say is wow! I could not stop reading it. So many twists and turns and such a unique concept. Please consider changing the title-it is almost too descriptive!
Thank you for the chance to read this I give it 5 stars. Not giving anything away but know that Grace will stay with you for while after you finish.
I'm not sure I can review this without giving away spoilers......So I will just have to shout from the rooftops how good this is. It starts off a seemingly pedestrian thriller and then...............well you just have to read it to do it justice. This is a great thriller, with a compelling lead character, great plotting and a brilliant twist that I'm still reeling from.
I would like to thank the author, the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this book. I really enjoyed it it was so different from what I was expecting and I read it in two sittings because I needed to know what happened. I will be recommending it to everyone I know.
However disturbing and 'TMI' the earliest chapters seem, don't make the mistake of putting this book aside. Yes it's dark and disturbing early in the story, but we'll worth sticking my with. Grace, a loner and social misfit, has the distasteful job of cleaning the homes of the not so recently dead, largely people who like her were alone. She becomes obsessed with an old photo she's come across while working a particularly messy home, and this leads her investigate the history of the deceased person and his four friends in the photo with him. A truly dark and surprisingly addictive thriller.
I absolutely loved this book - I didn’t see where it was going and it took me completely by surprise!
Gripping, dark and creepy, I would recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a slightly different type of thriller.
What a very unusual book. More importantly, what a very unusual, fascinating book; and Grace certainly had a very unusual job. Unusual is a funny word – it can be good unusual, or weird unusual. In this instance it is both.
Grace is a cleaner – she is employed to go into homes where somebody had died and remained undiscovered for weeks and she is employed to sanitise the house and remove all harmful toxins, or what have you.
Incidentally, I spent quite a lot of time dwelling on the amount of research the author had to undertake to learn a) how they go about cleaning up and b) all the science about decomposition. Then I got to pondering ‘why’ would you think of researching that, then I got to thinking ‘ what a surprising subject to come up with as a plot.
Then I just got onto reading and enjoying the book. It took very surprising turns. Now what is weird is that I really liked Grace. Wouldn’t want her as my BFF but …
Thank you to the author publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
Grace McGill is a death cleaner who deep cleans the property once the body has been removed having been left for some weeks. Although she appears a loner as the story unfolds it takes an unexpected turn showing her true seedy and dark personality which was disturbing to appreciate. I found it an usual plot and gripping. Thanks for an ARC. I look forward to more from this author.
What an excellent, cleverly written thriller from the author! Grace Mc Gill is such an interesting character, a bit of a loner, apart from George the cat her only friend. She cleans up death scenes for a living, macabre but someone has to do it. The book has an original, fascinating plot which drew me in from the beginning. I was totally engrossed in this fast paced and darkly different psychological read which I highly recommend to lovers of the genre. An easy 5* read. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.
Wow what a great story with great writing I was totally absorbed with the characters and story line. It certainly kept me turning the pages at every opportunity I had.
I will certainly recommend this book and post reviews on sites on publication day.
Thank you to Rachael Quin and NetGalley for the ARC for which I have given my voluntary and unbiased review
I absolutely loved this – it’s one of the most unique books I’ve read in a very long time. Totally absorbing and thrilling, with a big boom halfway through that was shocking to say the least. It was dark, grisly, dangerous, sad and happy all at the same time. It’s a book you just HAVE to read and you won’t want to put it down. I was hoping it would go on forever. Extremely well written, and if this really is a first time author all I can say is wow, what a future you have!
Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this brilliant ARC in return for an honest review.
I could not put this book down. It was a gripping story from beginning to end. It provided a real and disturbing insight into the mind of a lonely, unhappy person who wants to do the right thing but goes about it the wrong way.
When I read the synopsis, I could not wait to get started and what a fascinating read it has been. To me at least, a totally innovative story with some surprisingly real people. Some of Grace's job detail could be thought of as a bit too accurately detailed but that detail is essential to the atmosphere of the book. I do not do spoilers but can say that there really is a sting in the tale (sic). If you are looking for something truly original and thought provoking then this is the book for you!
Even though I have rated this book 5 Stars, I have to say that it would have rated 6 Stars but for its excessive and unnecessary use of expletives - 120 variations of the f-word alone. Why have so many writers decided to accelerate the dumbing down of the English language by making expletives so much part of their writing?
Grace McGill works alone. She sorts out when a person dies. Someone who hasn't been missed for months. She goes into their properties and cleans out their lives. But everyone has been someone and had a life and Grace knows this.
Dark adn chilling but compulsive reading!!
I loved this book. From the moment I comprehended what Grace’s job is, I knew I was hooked. She’s very proud of her work and she takes it seriously. So much so that she builds dioramas of the rooms she conducts her work in, down to the pictures on the walls and daisies found on the pillow. Her job? Cleaning apartments and homes of people who have been dead for quite some time and not found. For weeks, months even. The description of what she cleans isn’t for the tender tummies; I couldn’t understand what a person must have in them to make them as confident and diligent as Grace. She’s certainly an odd little lady.
Being a stickler for detail, it’s no surprise that Grace notices a couple of the natural deaths she cleans after has a dried daisy near the dead body. She reports this to the police, who thinks she’s wacky because of her job even before she describes finding a daisy. She’s almost laughed out of the police station. So she becomes her own sleuth and is determined to find what’s behind the sudden rash of “natural deaths” for a group of old men who, by chance, all vacationed together years earlier at a beach. The same beach and the same year a young lady disappeared.
Grace talks to us throughout the story. Numerous times she tells us what she thinks, then tells us what she actually says. This gets almost hilarious. You seriously can’t help but love this quirky little lady. So where’s the mystery? Where’s the thrill? Oh, my nothing is ever as simple and simple-minded as it seems. And THAT’S what I LOVE about this plot. I was hooked on the mystery but I was entertained by the protagonist. You just can’t help but love her. No matter what she does.
Sincere thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is January 20, 2022.
What an original story!
Initially I was going to give this intriguing book 4 stars but then it went in a direction that I didn't anticipate and kept me engaged so I've gone for 5 stars.
It's hard to place this book into a specific category, there are different elements to the story but all told from the point of view of Grace McGill. We hear her thoughts and see through her eyes as she goes about her job cleaning after the undiscovered deaths of the title.
So refreshing to read a book that doesn't follow well worn paths.
This book really is a cracking read! Grace’s character is one of the best I’ve read for a while, she is everything you need in a leading lady. This story is really unique as it manages to be a really compelling crime thriller set against a subtle backdrop of powerful observations about modern society. This story is brilliantly written and plotted and I will be recommending it everyone I can.
A different approach and a superb read. Thoroughly recommended.
I love the frequent use of 'thinking' versus 'saying' where Grace often thinks rather differently to what she says.
I've never come across a book where the lead character cleans up after bodies have been found weeks after death in a flat/house etc. and is so enthusiastic and meticulous about her job. Grace is puzzled by one death where he has kept a number of newspapers on the same date each year. So she decides, with the help of a photograph of 5 people to work out why and what happened.
So the book progresses along these lines for the first half quite as expected - trips, meeting people good and bad plus fear of being followed/harassed. Then, almost by stealth, the book turns on its head and my views on Grace immediately changed.
I'm not going into any more detail on the book except to say that by the end I was trying to decide what should be the moral outcome and, for me, the actual ending is perfect.
Wow, this book is brilliant. I couldn't put this book down,
CS Robertson sure knows how to draw you in.
A must read book for 2022
Thank you NetGalley
Grace McGill cleans up after the dead. Sometimes old or lonely people die at home but are not found for some time. After police and SOCOs are done, and the body has gone, there is always residual organic material contaminating surfaces, furniture, carpets and other fomites, seeping into floorboards and corners, carrying with it all manner of toxic, poisonous and pathogenic materials. Grace is a one woman business employed to decontaminate, deep clean and return the premises to a habitable state. Her latest job is the flat in which Thomas Agnew died in his bed – 5 months ago! After the major cleaning operation, she also has to tidy the place, removing items that might be of value to any family members that can be traced. She is intrigued by a collection of newspapers from the same date but different years and an old photograph with a smashed glass frame, wrapped in a similar newspaper and hidden in a drawer, and takes them for own, private, collection of memorabilia from her jobs. She also notices and bags a single, dead, daisy. She has found a flower like this at previous scenes! Is there a serial killer on the loose, noticed by her but missed by the professionals? Intrigued by Tommy’s paper collection and the photograph, she embarks on an investigation which leads her to a possible murder and the likelihood that she will meet a similar fate.
The story is narrated by Grace, who is a unique creation, deeply philosophical, shy but bold, with a complex back story, and a fascination with the homes of these undiscovered corpses. The writing is extremely skilful, poetic and pictorial, and with a solid and authentic rhythm of Glasgow (I was born and spent many years living in these streets) without resorting to alternative spellings. The plot seems to be unfold in a light, slightly darkly comedic, but as we sink in it becomes darker and more complex and then there are at least three twists in row which take the reader into new and uncharted waters. And then a couple more. I’d give it 6 stars if that was allowed.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.
Loved this quirky and creepy book! Great cast of characters in this one. I loved the POVs as well. A cracker of a read and huge on the creep factor.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book
I don’t know where to start with this review. To be honest I just want to say:
Don’t read anything about this story.
Avoid all spoilers.
Just start reading and don’t stop.
Thank me later.
I’m not sure that will be quite enough. Even if I add *****Five Stars***** you would probably want a bit more. Okay I will do what I can but seriously, avoid spoilers.
Grace McGill lives in Glasgow. She works for herself and offers a specialist cleaning service – she cleans houses which have been neglected for prolonged periods of time and need to made habitable for a new resident. Often the reason the houses need a particularly deep clean is because the prevoius resident of the house has died in the house and nobody has noticed for a lengthy period of time. The Undiscovered Deaths part of the title suddenly clicks with the reader.
Needless to say the content of this story can be and may be upsetting for some readers. I don’t often include warnings when putting together a review but this time I feel it important to highlight that C.S. Robertson does not shy away from the work Grace McGill undertakes and the steps she may need to take to clean a home. It’s not detail which is included for shits and giggles, it forms an important part of understanding Grace and is dealt with factually and then the story proceeds.
Grace herself is a fascinating and unforgettable character. She lives alone (with a cat) and knows that people have trouble accepting what she does for a living. Even the cops who will contact her with new work can find her tricky to engage with. But Grace takes her work very seriously and wants to ensure she does right by the people she is cleaning up behind. She gets a quite unique insight into their lives and she is always respectful to their memory.
But Grace is now facing a strange dilemma. She has noticed something in one of the houses she is cleaning which does not seem to belong there. It is similar to an item she found at a previous house-clean. Curiosity leads Grace to a funeral and in turn she heads out of Glasgow to the Isle of Bute. Many years ago the island made the news and Grace has to consider the possibility a long-forgotten story may have a resolution in an untidy Glasgow flat.
I can’t say much more and I don’t want to say much more about the story. I DO want to say more about the writing which I found to be gobsmackingly good. C.S. Robertson tells a compassionate, haunting and unforgettable story and I loved reading about Grace. She dominates the story and shows a savvy inner strength when facing very challenging circumstances.
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is out in January – I cannot wait for everyone to read this too.
OMG WHAT A READ!!!
For a start the blurb actually lived upto the book. Grace is a wonderful but flawed character with a job that would leave most people cold. Grace is a death cleaner. She cleans up the home after someone has passed away. The story is not for the squeamish and is quite dark in places. As far as Grace is concerned it is just a job until she clears the home of an old man and decides to investigate how this man passed away. This is a masterpiece of story telling, emotional, shocking and full of surprises and little gems. This book will stay with me long after I have turned the last page. Fantastic and a very happy reader.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
Really good book different from what I've read lately,dark and weird and very original.
Gripping and fast paced.
If you like something a bit out there then this book will be for you.
Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.
Loved, loved, loved this book!! The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is such a breath of fresh air. Told from Grace’s perspective and the work she does for those people who lay for months undiscovered. There is a dark twist which seems perfectly plausible to Grace. One boom you can devour in the day.
Just when I thought I had figured out where the story was going I turned the page and I was so wrong. An unusual occupation, a missing girl from the 1960s. What is the link?
A very unique and gripping tale to the very last page.
I will be looking out for more bokkd by C. S. ROBERTSON.
I was not sure what to expect from The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill but wow what a book it is. It follows Grace in her chosen career as someone who cleans the houses of people who have died and laid undiscovered for some time. It is a very unique story and Grace is a very quirky character. On the whole I really enjoyed it and am glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my ARC.
Wow! Got to say this certainly packed a punch. No idea what I was expecting (a bit of a murder mystery maybe), what I got was a whole lot more. It took a good few chapters for me to warm up to it, and then, BAM!!! The hits just kept coming. The more that Grace uncovered, the more questions I had. She’s a true anti-heroine, if there’s such a thing. Her job as a ‘cleaner’ alerts her to an unsolved crime from over 50 years earlier, and as Grace investigates this mystery we learn more about her, and her dark dark thoughts. I was on the edge of my seat, I was thinking I knew what was coming next, but I really didn’t have a clue. A thrilling, emotional, and completely addictive, unpredictable mystery. I loved it.
This was so good! A very unique story about Grace McGill and her unusual job of deep cleaning the homes of people who have died and been left undiscovered sometimes for several months. Grace lives a lonely life with her cat George with as little contact with others as she can manage. After cleaning the home of a man who lay dead in his home for 5 months, Grace notices that something of importance is lurking among the dead man’s belonging. Finding a daisy by his pillow reminds her of previous cleanings that she’s done and leads her on a trail that becomes dangerous and very personal.
If you enjoy a good mystery, this will be a book to keep you guessing and evoke lots of emotions along the way.
I was very happy to receive this book from NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.
It’s a quick enough read even if the pace is slow at the beginning but keeps you wondering what on earth is coming next!
Grace comes across as a socially isolated girl snd it’s hard to make her out or warm to her. Then when the revelation comes you your interest is roused again.
A very very good story!
I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars and I look forward to reading more by C.S. Robertson.
Reviews will be posted on Goodreads, Amazon and my Instagram page.
It’s taken a global pandemic to make death a more frequent, if not always acceptable, topic of conversation we’ve become more accustomed to talking about. But what if death wasn’t just a scary, inconvenient truth we’d rather ignore but a major factor of your chosen career?
Because Grace McGill is a specialist cleaner who scours homes after a resident has moved on or a deceased occupant’s body has been removed. One unifying theme in her work is how often those of a certain age especially die alone, unnoticed, unmissed. Grace acts compassionately, wanting to honour their memory.
Left undiscovered for weeks or months at a time, she has the grisly, thankless task of professionally disinfecting and rigorously cleaning a house, and safely disposing of the toxic evidence of a death. The well researched factual details provide evidence of just how thorough and vital a job it is.
Once she returns home, with only her cat for company, Grace’s way of honouring the dead, apart from rescuing a few personal tokens to pass on to family or loved ones, is to create a precise diorama of the area as she has left it. Spotless and bodiless but accurate to the tiniest detail.
But one death in particular causes her to sense a connection to the mysterious disappearance of a young girl decades ago on the Isle of Bute. She attends the deceased’s funeral, notes who is there —as seen in a group photograph in the house—and starts to stalk them with intent to search for answers.
This beautifully written novel dives into dark territory but never loses its grip on the essence of great storytelling. As threads join, unravel, and twist again, the gripping narrative shifts into something unforeseen, taking Grace and the reader into a clever play on the title. A stunning, compelling read, but not one for the faint hearted or squeamish. Grateful thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC.
I have to be honest - I definitely do not envy Grace McGill her choice of career. Cleaning is far from my favoured pass time on a good day, but going to the homes of the not-so-recently deceased and making good what remains is most certainly not on my list of things to do if ever seeking unemployment. But Grace McGill is a very different personality to me, perhaps more empathetic, certainly more strong stomached, actively seeking out the cases of those who have lain undiscovered for many months after their death, taking the time to find out about the deceased and taking each of their stories to heart. She is a fascinating character indeed, multi-layered and so well imagined that going on this journey of discovery with her, following her all the way to Bute as she tries to learn more about the past of one of her 'clients', seems the most natural thing in the world. Sort of.
There is so much I could say a bout this book but I don't want to journey into spoiler territory. The lion's share of the book centres around Grace's infatuation with a photograph that she discovers during a clean up, her bid to discover it's origins, it's meaning and to identify the other people in the picture. Although this may seem a very strange obsession - most of us can likely imagine a passing interest in a person's story but perhaps not the level of scrutiny Grace engages in - but the more I learned of Grace, the more natural and understandable her actions became. And as the story progresses, the tension and the mystery really start to develop, Grace uncovering loose threads that threaten to see her whole existence unravel when pulled upon.
The author is adept at creating memorable characters who really draw you into a story and grace is no exception. She has a very complicated past, and a troubled relationship with her own father which goes some way to explaining her actions. There is a great deal of empathy with her, but also a whole host of contradictions and her ways of coping with the atrocities she must see are fascinating and yet authentic. I was really drawn to her, keen to see her uncover the truth, even if she was somewhat less confident or outgoing than the typical amateur detective, for that is surely what she is.
There is a mystery at the heart of this whole story, with a fated summer on Bute playing a key part in the progression of the story. I loved the nod to the wonderful town of Rothesay, and the island as a whole, to the residents and businesses that make it a truly special place to visit. With one quite important exception, CS Robertson has captured the heart and spirit of the place, and I could picture each of the landmarks as he described them, bringing a smile to my face, and a pang of regret too that the pandemic has prevented any trips to the island the last couple of years. Knowing how welcoming a place it is, the sense of threat that the author manages to underline the narrative with gave it an extra edginess that just made the tension greater and my need to get to the truth grow.
This is a perfectly paced read, a blend of suspense and threat, moments of pulse pounding tension and atmosphere, and an underlying of melancholy and inevitability that held my attention to the very last page. There were scenes in the book that caught me unawares, but parts which seemed sadly anticipated. And that ending, understated and yet emotionally powerful at the same time. Definitely recommended.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC of this book. Whilst this is the first novel by CS Roberton, there are a number of previous novels as Craig Robertson, including the Narey & Winter books which I cannot recommend highly enough. The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill shares some themes with the earlier stories - death, photography and a slightly morbid obsession with collecting things. However, this is an entirely different animal - the majority of the book is viewed almost entirely from Grace's perception and as it develops the reader becomes aware that this is not always entirely healthy. The ending, whilst it has a sense of inevitability is still shocking and is just right considering what has gone before. Read this book - yes it verges on the unpleasant at times but Grace is such a well-realised character that you will be carried along on her journey. I wish I could give this an extra star just because of the subtle double meaning in the title but I'll make do with 5.
Different kind of book about a death cleaner called Grace whose job is to clean up after a person has been dead for a while undiscovered. Grace talks you through every job which has twists and turns and funny as she goes home every night to a cat called George who she talks to.
This book keeps you gripped and I would recommend.
Grace is a death cleaner. This is something I’ve not heard of previously so instantly my interest was attracted to this as a book I knew I had to read. This is a book which grabs your attention and pulls you in quickly.
This is unique, interesting and addictive. I have found myself hooked quickly and unwilling to put this book down. I have been fully invested. There are many twists and turns in this book. From the deaths to the thoughts we find out about- this is just fantastic.
This is a book that will provoke emotions as you read, especially when there are bodies which have been undiscovered. This is something that I’ve found myself being emotionally invested in which I didn’t think I would be.
Robertson is a new author for me and I can safely say I haven’t been disappointed by this one. I have been transported to Glasgow as I’ve followed Grace on the journey throughout this. She has been a special character who I have loved. I am definitely keen to read more by this author. This is a must for the TBR.
Grace has one of those jobs that few aspire to. But it is one that she, well kinda, enjoys. She lives alone with only her cat for company and doesn't really interact with, well, anyone. In fact, she actually seems to care more for the dead than the living, which isn't a bad thing when she runs her own business as a professional death cleaner. What's one of those? I hear you cry. Well, she is the one they call when someone has died alone in their home and been left a while. You get the picture! But, on occasion, she does more than just clean. She is quite reverent in her actions. And then there's the dioramas she makes which brings her a bit too much publicity. But then, one of her clients sticks in her head beyond her just cleaning up. There's something about him and his death that she just can't move on from. Especially when she starts to rummage through his drawers and finds a photo and some news articles...
This was a strange book for me and one that I actually enjoyed despite all the blood and guts and gore all spelled out in minute detail by Grace. It's a bit of a slow burner as there is quite a lot to set up. More than you realise once we get over the brow of the hill and it all starts to come together.
It's very character driven in nature, with Grace basically hogging the limelight all the way through. But despite her hermit like existence, she manages this extremely well. Even when she describes her job, there is something quite captivating about her. Spoilers prevent me from waxing lyrical about her too much but you'll get what I mean when you read the book.
This was a book that kept on giving. Just when I thought I was sure of the direction it was going in, the author threw me such a brilliant curve ball that I had to stop a moment and take stock of what I had just read and the implications... It's been a while since I was that floored.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
Death is not the end.
For Grace McGill, it's only the beginning.
When people die alone and undiscovered, it's her job to clean up what's left behind - whether it's clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.
Wow! What an original gruesome plot for a book, and what a book! It had me hooked from page one and I was so engrossed I read it in one sitting, reading into the early hours because every time I tried to put it down I was thinking about it and had to pick it up again.
If you are looking for a thriller with a dark difference then this book is for you.
Highly recommended, 5 stars!
What a roller coaster of a read!
A very unique and compelling story with plenty of twists and turns .
Grace McGill , is a cleaner one who cleans up flats/ homes of people who have died in their own homes they can have been left undiscovered for months.
Grace is certainly a complex character , certainly not living the dream in her personal life she is a loner living with her cat George.
The book is brilliantly written , it’s dark and twisted in places and has the perfect ending.
Highly recommended !
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.
One of the most extraordinary books of the year. Grace McGill is a gloriously complex character. Her voice as narrator can be dark and chilling but also teasing and beguiling. Death is a large part of her life.
The plot is innovative and original and perfectly structured. It's full of twists and turns, surprises and shocks and completely under the control of Grace.
I love the Scottish locations in the background and the attention to detail. I will never forget Grace and I think it will be a long time before I decide if she is saint or sinner.
Really unusual book, at first I thought it was coming off the back of the darkly comic tv show ‘the cleaner’. I was very wrong, this is dark, twisted and very much not comedic. Very assured writing style, with well rounded characters and a terrific sense of loneliness all through. I think this will be a word of mouth hit within the crime reading community, then will become a big seller. I can see this could win awards as it crosses crime with intelligent modern fiction.
Going in and decontaminating a room where a death has gone undiscovered is certainly not a job for everyone but Grace seems to excel at it with her organisational skills and ability to distance herself from the horror and sadness in each place she is employed to clean.
She is a stand out character in her complete isolation from society and friendships and the way the story is so compelling told through her voice.
Loved the reveal, loved the premise and loved the character!
I really enjoyed this book, it was dark, slightly sinister, filled with brooding revenge and deaths.
Grace has an unusual job, she cleans properties where people have died. Sometimes they are not discovered for months, and that sets Grace and the reader wondering what sort of society we live in, where people can fall off the perch, and disappear from memory so quickly.
I have worked in Nursing Homes, where some residents don’t get any visitors or any communications at all, how lonely they must feel, and what a neglectful species we are. With a nursing background, I did rather feel at home when the process of body decomposition was discussed, it took me back to the lectures we were given by the hospital pathologist, all gooey , smelly and repulsive, but part of the natural process.
Grace not only cleans and disinfects the properties, but she makes a diorama of each death. Now, before I saw an episode of The Simpsons, a few years ago, I didn’t know that was the official name for these models, but they make a great teaching tool, as you recreate the room, you are remembering crucial details that help in the hunt for either a killer, or death by natural causes.
However, our Grace has another side to her careful attentions of the deceased body, and she does seem to experience far more unexplained deaths than the other cleaners. A photograph found in a flat, whilst she is cleaning it, arouses her curiosity, and she seeks out the truth that connects these five young men in the picture, with an unsolved murder mystery , on the Isle of Bute, many decades ago.
There are many surprising twists and turns to come, and we are looking for a serial killer, but the most staggering surprise came towards the end, when all of the pieces of the jigsaw come together with another death. No spoilers here!!
I found this a fascinating story.. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers Hodder and Stoughton, for my digital copy, in exchange for my honest and unsolicited review. I have given this a 5 star rating. I will post to Goodreads and other outlets later.
Grace McGill has a job that not many people would want. It’s a job that police officers can’t stomach, it’s a job that nobody wants but somebody has to do, so it might as well be Grace.
In the depths of Glasgow Grace arrives at the house of Thomas Agnew. It’s been five months since he passed away but having had no family or friends his remains had only just been found. It’s Grace’s job to clean and disinfect the property, his home. So sad that a person not be discovered after such a long time. Grace removes all smells, bloodborne pathogens, potential biological hazards and any other substances that could be hiding in any flooring or grout, making it liveable once more. She takes some of his things, personal items that any long lost relatives may want, including a photo of him and some pals of his from years ago on some trip to Bute.
The thing with the dead is that their stories don’t always die with them, sometimes the ghosts of the past can come back to haunt the living and eventually reap their revenge!
I saw a friends review of this book and when @netgalley emailed me with it I knew I had to check it out. It’s quite a sad book, thinking about people that really do die alone and aren’t discovered for a long time. I really enjoyed the twist, not what I was expecting at all and the ending worked great with the storyline too.
Towards the end of last year, this book was recommended to me by Rachel Quin from Hodder & Stoughton, what a mind-blowing read! This book grabbed hold of me with both hands and kept me captivated right up to the very last page. This is a unique, dark read you won’t want to put down. I raced from page to page eager to learn more about Grace’s undiscovered deaths. The author focuses the story on old people who have been forgotten. People who are suffering through lonely days after they lost their partners and friends. People who have truly been forgotten. This adds a heart-breaking reality to this curious tale.
As an introduction to C.S. Robertson, I can say that The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill has converted me into an instant fan. This story is told from Grace McGill’s perspective. This shy, insecure woman quickly crawls into your heart and as more and more of her troubled character is revealed you are left in awe. This character is a genius creation. The author draws you deep into Grace’s sad life and when your heart is just about to shatter, he delivers a twist so subtly that you are left doubting what you are reading. This is a fabulous work of fiction that has left me eager to read more from this author. (There goes my TBR for 2022.)
Grace McGill lives a simple life. She is happy not to be noticed as she is uncomfortable around people and making conversation is torturous. Grace is a cleaner. She makes a living cleaning crime scenes where bodies have been found long after someone has died. The worst possible scenes are her speciality. She takes pride in her work and tries to treat these homes with respect. When she is called to clean a house where Mr Thomas Agnew laid dead and undiscovered for months, she finds a pile of newspapers, all dated the 23rd of July for various years. Intrigued, Grace starts digging into the old man’s life, eager to discover the relevance of this date. Meeting two of his old friends at his funeral, Grace realises that they are hiding something and fuels her curiosity. Determined to find the truth Grace finds herself drawn into a mystery and soon finds herself being followed and threatened. What will Grace do with the truth, and how will it change her life?
Starting this book the day I attended the funeral of an 84-year old man, left me open to the sadness hidden in the pages of this book. It shows how easily society manages to forget about the old people who are alone. This was a heartbreaking element to the story which I felt the author highlighted beautifully. I loved this book and Grace McGill stole my heart. She might have overstepped, but she cared. (You will need to read to the book to understand what I mean by that.)
Grace McGill is an unusual character. You will either love her or hate her. She is shy and battles to make conversation, yet she cares about the people she cleans up after. She treats their memories with respect and tries to help the surviving relatives to understand the deceased’s final moments.
This strange woman, who prefers to wander around unnoticed shares her story piece by piece and leaves your head reeling when you see the full picture. This character reminded me never to trust a book by its cover. There is so much more to this woman. She is a brilliantly creative creation. I loved her, flaws and all!
This is a five-star read! I loved it. You really should add this one to your TBR for 2022, you do not want to miss out. Mystery and thriller fans can expect the unexpected when they reach for this title, there is a remarkable twist that is guaranteed to leave you amazed!
Just in case I have not been clear, I highly recommend this book. Please, please, please get yourself a copy. You will not be left disappointed; this is a marvellous read!
This is not a title for the squeamish! I had to pause eating a snack whilst I settled into the first few pages…the post mortem detail of body debris at the scene of death is graphic. That’s not a criticism; the writing is simple but all the more powerful for that. The Grace of the title is a specialist cleaner who attends property where people have died and lain undiscovered for weeks. Set in Glasgow, there is an inevitable sense of dark humour in places and with Grace, a loner, I found a surprising sense of sympathy. She takes pride in her work…she has empathy with the deceased, but more than that, she has a keen eye for detail and an enquiring mind. Her backstory is revealed bit by bit and she uses a sharp, incisive intellect to put together pieces missed by others.
This is a very original story, fascinating and sometimes repulsive in equal measure. The extraordinary, for most of us, is stripped to base level and recounted with compassion and honesty. It’s dark, intriguing and a genuinely compelling page turner. Different and I really enjoyed it.
My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.
This was really a unique & different book & I was a little unsure at the start but I couldn’t stop reading it.
A very dark & weird story set in Glasgow it was nothing like I have read before.
Grace McGill is not your average cleaner as she cleans properties where people have been found dead & decomposing for many weeks or months.
As you can imagine not pleasant & the author goes in to great detail.
She becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding some of the deaths & the story takes a whole new direction.
It is quite a morbid story but so clever with all the twists & turns as the story progresses.
I got really engrossed as you really have to pay attention to every detail.
I would never have guessed how this book was going to turn out.
It is writing on a whole new level.
Such a compelling read & very different.
A brilliant story. Probably my favourite this year and as a fellow Glasweigen, the author is spot on. Brilliant weird and dark story set in the British weird and dark city of Glasgow. Xx
This was quite a strange book in many ways but very well written. This was another new author for me which I’m always pleased to discover. This book kept me entertained and interested all the way through.. A great story. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
The undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is an exceptional delve into the very dark mind and pretty sad life of Grace. I could not put it down; although I recommend going with etiquette and not reading it at the dinner table!
I found the book's death cleaning subject matter facinating, depressing and definitely gory, but it intertwines with the mystery of the missing Valerie, to give a beautifully written, very unique book. I highly recommend it.
Thanks to Netgalley, for allowing me early access to this book in return for a fair review.
Author C.S. Robertson has created a distinctive voice in Grace McGill. A cleaner who takes care of the dwellings of the recently deceased, she takes an exceptional pride in her work. Grace is a fabulous character and one who does not always make the best choices.
Original and immersive, this is a book that messes with your head and confounds your expectations. The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is the story of what happens when Grace McGill thinks she has found a similarity between the most recent houses of the dead that she has cleaned.
Robertson’s central character is lonely, dedicated, sometimes a little obsessive about creating perfection in her work. Bleach is her friend. In her life there is only George, her cat and a father who is both abusive and needy and to whom she attends with the penance of a dutiful daughter who resents each and every task she undertakes for this poor excuse of a man. Grace leads a solitary life, alone and a little damaged, we feel, but with a real sense of purpose in her life as she makes the lost found again – she sees them and that comforts her.
It’s not a happy life that Grace leads, but she takes a kind of contentment from honouring the dead through her work. And it is that need to honour the dead that drives her to consider the link between her last three death cleans. These were lonely people, too. Each left undiscovered for some time. Grace hates that there was no-one to visit these people; no-one to know that they had died and to mourn them. So she often goes to their funerals, too.
And when she discovers that link, she is compelled to see where it leads her and the result is a dark, compelling mystery that fascinates and absorbs the reader in the mystery and puts Grace in real danger.
I absolutely loved this character. So well-drawn, with such a distinctive voice, Grace is unlike any other character I have met. Robertson’s story is a dark, psychological thriller that drops surprise bombs all the way through the narrative. The characters are down to earth and richly drawn and the plot line absolutely riveting.
The sense of place is fabulous, especially the parts of the book set in Bute, which sing with the pleasure that this island brings to all those who visit.
Verdict: Distinctive, compelling, rich and surprising, this is a beautifully plotted book that delivers in all the right ways and Grace McGill is a character you will not forget. Dark and delicious, like the best chocolate this book will melt a little when it reaches your heart. Highly recommended must read.
Welcome to Grace’s world. Grace is a death cleaner; she deep cleans places where people have died, usually when they have lain undiscovered for many weeks. She is meticulous and obsessive about her work, and often takes a memento or two with her before making a diorama of the room.
Her latest job is cleaning up after the death if Tommy Agnew who died 5 or 6 months ago in a tenement in Glasgow. No one seems to have noticed that he had died. Certain aspects of his room intrigue Grace and she decides to investigate more. Before she knows it she is involved in something far darker and more dangerous than she intended.
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill is a fantastic and highly accomplished novel. Grace is a truly original narrator, and as she reveals more of herself and her story you realise that the book is taking a very different turn and everything you have read needs to be reconsidered. It certainly fits into the category of thrillers but there is so much more to the book than that. You really come to care about Grace, and the historic crime that she uncovers throws up many more uncomfortable questions. The descriptions of Glasgow and the Isle of Bute are evocative and give the book a real sense of place.
Thank you to #netgalley and #hodderbooks for allowing me to review this ARC.
Unusual and eerily delightful! If Eleanor Oliphant had decided to be a cleaner specialised in sanitising locations where severely decomposed bodies have been discovered, she would be Grace Mc Gill.. This is the quirky story of Grace who sometimes get emotionally attached to the departed she cleans after and how she becomes obsessed with one in particular but not everything is what it looks like and she soon becomes untangled in a complicated search for answers related to events 50 years ago.
An inventive book with a very loveable character which will grip you and leave you amazed as well as unsettled. A definite must read!
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read.
The premise is so unusual in that a cleaner delves in to the lives of people who have died and she has cleaned up after them.
Dark and twisty and really enjoyable.
This 8s 9ne book where words fail me to give a proper description. Its a very different read than I would normally undertake centred as it is around Grace and her Cleaning company which specialises in deep cleaning properties where the occupants have died and lain undiscovered for long periods.
It is a very dark book and follows Grace in her daily life which is often quite lonely.
During the course of her Cleaning jobs she uncovers a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young woman some fifty years ago and becomes obsessed with finding the answers.
In the process she is trying to maintain a normal life and deal with an alcoholic and abusive father.
Despite the darkness of this book I couldn't put it down.
Absolutely amazing book, totally unlike anything I’ve read before. A slow and steady but really interesting start to reel the reader in and then a twist that really ramped it up. The ending was just as it should have been, so fitting. This is a definite 10 out of 5 stars for me!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
Creepy, Disquieting, Subtle, Thought Provoking, Addictive,
Just some of the ways to sum up this absolutely phenomenal book which kept me up until the wee small hours to finish. A mystery within a mystery, there are hundreds of thoughts and emotions that run through your mind as you are completely absorbed in the life of Grace McGill.
Wow a book that drew me in and then had so many twists and turns that I could not put it down.Grace a death cleaner first appears to be quirky a but as the story continues she starts to appear to be sinister a truly strange personality.Highly recommend this totally unusual shocking read.#netgalley #hodderstoughton.
I chose to review this book because of the description. I didn't realise that I knew of the author. Craig Robertson is a very good mystery thriller writer. A good many of his books feature a Glasgow based police detective Rachel Narey. She doesn't feature in this one but this is an excellent book nontheless.
Grace McGill has lived in Glasgow all her life. Not yet middle aged, but an abusive father who made her late mother's life a misery, has left her disappointed in life. She lives with her cat George in a flat in a run down area.
Grave works as a specialist cleaner. If someone dies at home and remain undiscovered for sometime, Grace makes sure that the deep clean ensures no contamination is left at the end.
Her father is still alive and lives nearby making unwelcome demands on Grace to shop and clean for him.
One of Grace's cleaning cases makes her suspicious. A dried daisy is left near where he died. A group photograph of five young men holidaying in Rothesay makes her suspicious when two of the friends deny they were there. Grace investigates going back to the sixties when the photograph was taken, and suspects that a missing young girl from this time might have something to do with the five men.
She decides to visit the island of Bute to get a feel for the missing girl. But someone is watching her every move!
I highly recommend this book. It keeps you reading. Plenty of twists and shocks. The ending is very poignant.
I hadn't realised that the singer Lena Zavaroni and her family originated in Rothesay. She had such a short and difficult life. I knew the man that she was briefly married to.
I look forward to more from this talented author.
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