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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

A chunkster bite of Scottish Noir
‘A Sinner’s Gift’
by Zoe Beesley
Book Beginnings

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts

For all you ‘First Page Browsers’

Sorry about the ‘white space’ post, but unfortunately the cover of this book doesn’t lend itself well to being a high impact page image, although it is rather wistful and eye-catching, don’t you think?

Cover Image Of The Book 'A Sinner's Gift' By Zoe Beesley



Cover Image Of The Book 'A Sinner's Gift' By Zoe Beesley“Sir?” He hesitated, nervous. “Did you hear me?”

Fergus Toop grabbed for his jacket.

“Don’t touch anything. I’ll be twenty minutes.”

Without waiting for a reply, Toop chucked the phone onto the couch and headed out of the door.


Cover Image Of The Book 'A Sinner's Gift' By Zoe BeesleyWhat had she done?

Lucy closed her eyes and cast the image from her mind, knowing that her life depended on it. She had to stop rehashing the past. No, more than that, she had to erase it.

She sat back with her spine rested against the wall and her eyes shut, increasingly aware of the sharp throbbing in her lower leg, conscious of the pain that was now a part of her.

Maybe, she reasoned, tragedy was something that embedded itself, festering in live flesh even when the event had passed.

An incurable virus that lays dormant in the soul.

Someone had told her that once, a man, his face and name lost to a life that she had long outgrown. But it was only now that she understood what it meant. Now it made perfect sense.

How ridiculous she’d been. How naïve. Treating it like it was all some game, a pastime intended to entertain children. The thought brought tears to her eyes, and she felt suddenly stupid.

Lucy Roy had not grown up with a normal family. There was no mother to tuck her in at night, no father to teach her right from wrong. Her life amounted to one mishap after another, a chain of regrettable events that started, most unfortunately, with her birth. But this time it was different. This time it had been her choice.


Cover Image Of The Book 'A Sinner's Gift' By Zoe BeesleyAfter a decade of working in the darkened streets of London, Officer Fergus Toop is back in the Highlands of Scotland.

Standing in the dim light, with the clouds threatening to break over the hills, hopes of a fresh start are fast becoming a distant memory.

Death is a part of him. He can’t escape it.

The scene before him is haunting, beautiful somehow. The remnants of the day just gone still linger in the sky, offering a final breath of light before the corpse turns to black shadow and the landscape claims the soul of a broken man.

A textbook suicide.

The evidence is there in front of him. But as Toop digs deeper he finds himself caught in a web of buried truths.

Only one thing remains certain:

Not even the dead can keep their secrets.

Image Of Author Zoe Beesley

When I first received my ARC of A Sinner’s Gift , author Zoe Beesley stopped by with this great Guest Post titled ‘Scotland’s wild and desolate landscape’. She has since returned and posed the question …

“I have just spent the weekend at a crime writing festival with lots of fabulous writers, getting advice on novel number two, doing a reading, and discussing ways in which the dark Scottish landscape is a character in itself. I was just wondering what your thoughts were regarding the more literary approach to crime fiction and the use of setting in A Sinner’s Gift?”

At 426 pages of a large format paperback, this book is already bound to be packed with a real sense of time and place, so I look forward to answering Zoe’s question very soon!

So you have taken a look, will you read the book? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderYou might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.




Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Lisa,

      I have only just started reading, but the storyline already has me totally intrigued and wanting to know more!

      I can see why you might consider the cover to be spooky, but it is also a little sad perhaps – is someone so locked up inside their own mind, that they can’t break free?

      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. Have a great weekend 🙂

    • I am really drawn in by the cover, however it just doesn’t look so good on a white page post, which is a shame but not the end of the world.

      Zoe is asking the question about whether to give her crime fiction a more literary twist. However from what I have read so far out of the 400+ pages which make up this book, there is already going to be quite a lot of descriptive writing and narrative on my journey towards solving this crime. I’m not really sure that there would need to be any more detailed analysis…

      To be fair, I am still only a short way into the story, so the jury is going to be well and truly out on this one for some time to come!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      From just the few pages I have read so far, Lucy’s character is already being developed quite nicely, although she has a very complex and troubled personality, which is coming across well in the narrative and dialogue.

      I think that the character of Fergus Toop is going to be really interesting, as he becomes more central to the plot. He obviously has a past he is trying to come to terms with and is probably still running away from, but peel back some of those layers and I suspect he is going to be one tenacious police officer.

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading in the coming week 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      Zoe is a new author and this is her debut novel. She was born and raised in Scotland, but now lives in New Zealand.

      If you click on the link below Zoe’s picture in the post, it will take you to a Guest Post she wrote for Fiction Books, when ‘A Sinner’s Gift’ was first published. In it, not only does she talk about the Scottish landscape she chose to feature in the book, she also writes very candidly about her journey into eventual authorship and publication.

      I have only read to about page 50 so far, so have quite a long way to go yet. However this is shaping up into a great story, written in two timelines and I am keen to see just how, when and even if, they merge together!

      Thanks for stopping by. It is great to catch up with you and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

Written by Yvonne