Shortlisted for Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2023
‘A remarkable suspense debut… exciting and unsettling.’ A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window
He won’t rest until he finds out the truth…
Cal Lovett is obsessed with finding justice for the families of missing people. His true crime podcast is his way of helping others, even if he can’t help himself.
His sister, Margot, disappeared when he was a child. Only one man seems to know something. But he’s behind bars and can’t be trusted.
So when the family of a missing Scottish woman begs for his help, he heads to Aberdeenshire in search of the truth.
Does Cal have what it takes to unearth the secrets hiding in the hills? And what if he finds something that leads him back to the heart of his own family’s past?
A gripping crime thriller by a brilliant debut novelist, perfect for fans of Jane Casey, Fiona Barton and Loreth Anne White.
Praise for Unsolved
‘One to watch’ The Critic
‘Evocative, with immersive descriptions of the Highlands setting… tightly plotted, well written and nicely characterised with a compelling mystery at its heart.’ Harriet Tyce, author of It Ends at Midnight
‘An assured and compelling debut. Elegant, reflective cold case mystery with a thriller’s pace, beautifully written to boot.’ Dominic Nolan, author of Vine Street
‘Gripping and taut, Heather Critchlow’s prose is as beautiful as it is exciting… A confident debut.’ Sam Holland, author of The Echo Man
‘A gripping, chiller of a debut. A darkly twisted tale with a touch of grace.’ Rachael Blok, author of The Fall
‘I loved Unsolved. It is both compelling and assured with a wonderful sense of time and place. The whole thing sang to me.’ James Delargy, author of Vanished
‘A nimble plot showcases Critchlow’s keen observation of human nature and the dark motivations of ordinary people… it got right under my skin!’ Jo Furniss, author of All the Little Children
‘Whip-smart and razor-sharp… had me turning the pages into the small hours.’ Alison Belsham, author of Death in Helmand
‘All the nuance of a Booker winner, all the pace of a bestselling thriller, this spectacular mystery will keep you reading long after you should have turned out the light.’ Kate Simants, author of Freeze
‘A beautifully written, perfectly plotted novel that’s a cracking start to an exciting new crime series.’ Sheila Bugler, author of Black Valley Farm
‘Completely enthralling. Critchlow has perfectly built suspense and tension for the reader. A must for the TBR.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader review
‘Unsolved had me hooked right from the beginning. The characters were all well-developed. Kept me guessing right up to the very end.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader review
‘A brilliant crime thriller. Critchlow does a fantastic job of capturing the reader and building empathy for Cal’s situation. The pace of storytelling is excellent, the narrative is skilfully plotted, and the characters come alive in the reader’s imagination.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader review
‘An exceptionally assured debut from a writer who is surely one to watch. This crime novel is character-led and beautifully written, with the added tension of a twisty plot and the gorgeous backdrop of Scotland.’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader review
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
True-crime podcaster Cal Lovett may be in over his head when he agrees to help find out what happened to a girl who disappeared in Scotland. When Layla Mackie’s parents ask Lovett to investigate the 1986 disappearance of their daughter, he quickly agrees. If nothing else, it’ll distract him from his current creative slump, failing marriage, and nagging grief over the disappearance of his own sister, Margot, when he was a child. But as he explores the Mackies’ case, he soon realizes that the parallels between Layla and Margot are too great to ignore. We eagerly followed the clues cleverly laid down by author Heather Critchlow. In between sweeping descriptions of the gorgeous Scottish countryside, she masterfully sets up plausible motives and believable red herrings throughout this engaging puzzle of a mystery. By the time we reached the end of this well-executed thriller, we couldn’t wait to see what happens next in the Cal Lovett Files.
A page turner that kept me guessing to the end - a really satisfying read. The author’s descriptions of the landscape created a depth and mood that drew me into the pages with the characters. I was with Cal and every step of the way. I definitely recommend Unsolved if you want to lose yourself in a good mystery.
Gripping and immersive
I thoroughly enjoyed Unsolved, even with a four year old running around under my feet I devoured it it two days. Really gripping story and great characters.