The Key-Stone of the Bridge reminds us that the Scots are different in so many ways. The unique characteristics are encapsulated in this tale a very Scottish tale, full of chills, thrills, mystery, whisky, and suspense.
Four men are on a mission, to fulfill a last request and scatter the ashes of their friend on a mountain. They reunite at an allegedly haunted and isolated shelter amid the creaking bonds of an alliance built in the amber whisky haze of their misspent youth.
In beautiful and unusually calm winter weather, they complete their task, but then well, things start to get a little strange.
The mountains are usually deserted in winter but two visitors appear seeking shelter and tell of meeting a mystery hiker. That night has some strange goings on but they blame that on the whisky. Then when there is no sign of the mystery hiker, the four decide to look for him or his body. But the weather deteriorates, their misfortune grows and they return to find their sanctuary gone. Now, they are in a fight for their own survival.
Will they struggle through reach civilization and finally discover the shocking truth about their guests and the mystery hiker?
By Eileen Shaw on 28 Aug 2014
There’s a fabulous energy about this book and it carries you along regardless of whether you want to go. Some of us will want to – others will baulk at the language (crude, rude, bad-taste puns and all). But it has a verisimilitude that cannot be ignored. This is how these men speak and if you want to read the book you have to swallow down your namby-pamby distaste. It is nothing if not authentic. Scully and his mates have come to the highlands of Scotland to say goodbye to Banjo, a mate who has died. They’ve brought a plaque to erect in the bothy which they habitually use as a base for their journey.
The stories they tell each other have a flavour more of the tenements than the mountains, but they stage their own version of Burns Night, incorporating a wonderful story of escape from a horde of dead and deadly carousers, who cannot pass the Key-Stone of the bridge. I’ve heard this story before, but cannot remember where; it’s a chilling tale just right for a night on the merciless hills of snowbound Scotland. There are other tales told throughout this extraordinary book as these guys just can’t keep anything to themselves. There is also an encounter with the supernatural, but I’ll leave you to find out about that. It emerges towards the end of the story and casts a chilling shadow on the experience of the group.
Good work, and it’s especially good that none of the crudity and rudeness is excused on the grounds that we won’t all understand how necessary it is that these people are portrayed just as they are. Nicely executed, roundly offensive, no concessions expected and none given. This book is highly enjoyable throughout.