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Death is a Welcome Guest

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, 2016

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781848546554

Price: £7.99

ON SALE: 4th June 2015

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery

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Longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year

Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.

Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish island.

He finds himself in a landscape fraught with danger, fighting for his place in a world ruled by men, like his fellow traveller Jeb – practical men who do not let pain or emotions interfere with getting the job done.

This is a world with its own justice, and new rules.
Where people, guns and food are currency.
Where survival is everything.

Death is a Welcome Guest defies you to put it down, and leaves you with questions that linger in the mind long after you read the last page.

What's Inside

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Welsh is a leading figure in a group of female novelists who've written recently about the end of days. What unites them is that they haven't presented a world blasted by bombs and radiation. Their literary vision is of a more gradual, and far more terrifying, devastation
Magnus and Job ride out of the city and deep in the countryside discover a murder has occurred - straight from the pages of Agatha Christie, for the setting is an isolated group in a manor house . . . The plot gallops along while the writing crackles with the sights and smells of a sharply imagined world . . . this book, the second in [Welsh's] Plague Times trilogy, left me hungry for volume three
It is the sheer plausibility of this vision of a hellishly distorted world that makes this book so enthralling and scary . . . utterly contagious
Sunday Mirror
I wasn't sure what to expect from the ending given the fast pace of the last few chapters, but I absolutely loved it and now can't wait for the final instalment in the trilogy
Welsh Librarian
Thought provoking and engaging . . . an intelligently crafted book that plays with the mind . . . What gripped me more than anything were the little touches found throughout the book. With owners falling prey to the sweats who's left to feed their pets? The pets become wild and will attack for food. It's all very Stephen King! . . . A wonderful and very quick read, Death is a Welcome Guest is certainly welcome on my bookshelf. It will leave you with questions long after you turn the final pages
Milo Rambles
A cracking good story
[Louise Welsh] is indeed a canny writer and knows when a theme or story line is about to outstay its welcome in our imaginations. Before that happens the tale shifts a gear and the excitement builds to a higher pitch . . . As for the Sweats, well, we are about to enter a drug resistant era and the last Black Death episode in the UK was only in 1900. Food for thought while we await Book 3 with anticipation, fear and gleeful foreboding
Welsh brilliantly summons up a tough world of terror, desperation and dog-eat-dog survival
The second of Louise Welsh's Plague Times trilogy, set in a dystopian England ravaged by the Sweats pandemic, is as grippingly intelligent and atmospheric as the first, which is saying a great deal . . . But the novel is far more than a modern-day plague-ridden whodunnit. The theme of justice and belief amid chaos is accompanied by superb dialogue and an overpowering mood of moral and medical decay
The Times
A cracking story and with the way that the author brings it over to the reader, quickly draws them into the world. The dialogue works wonderfully well but, for me, the best part was the principle character; I loved the way that he was accessible for readers . . . hard to put down
Falcata Times
By turns social satire, prison-break tale, road novel and study of a disintegrating cult, [an] adventurous, shape-shifting book
Sunday Times
Death is a Welcome Guest expands the canvas of its predecessor, but employs even more muted and melancholy tones . . . Welsh's quest narrative echoes everything from Arthurian romance to Sarah Perry's wonderfully uncanny After Me Comes the Flood. In both novels, slippery questions of identity rub sticks with religion and sexuality. For Welsh, the resulting sparks illuminate uneasy ideas of justice, morality and sacrifice. I have no idea where part three is heading, but I cannot wait to find out
Independent on Sunday
A gripping page turner . . . The story may be fictional but the threat, the fear, the horror is very real . . . Welsh has a natural ability for characterisation and story-telling. Welsh is a genre-defining writer to take an interest in; she smashes through the boundaries and creates her own rules . . . The raw emotion as society crumbles and restlessness takes over is palpable on every page. It's very easy to lose yourself in this book and it almost makes you believe you're reading a true account. You'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the person sitting next to you on the bus when they sneeze
If you're a fan of the BBC series, Survivors, either Terry Nation's thoroughly gripping original from the 1970s or Adrian Hodges' extremely creditable reimagining of a few years ago, then this is a series you mustn't miss . . . Death is a Welcome Guest is a bleak, no holds barred look at a rapidly-disintegrating society, slipping inexorably back into the sort of devastation last seen in the 14th century when the Black Death cut a swathe across Europe, leaving millions dead. Like the first in the trilogy, this book poses the question as to whether one more death amongst a host of others has any meaning . . . With the threat of the ebola virus a constant companion these days in the media, the book makes uncomfortable but always wholly engrossing reading. This is post-apocalyptic story-telling at its very best
Louise Welsh uses her story to examine where the cracks are in our society and most especially to look at human nature in both its good and bad forms giving a lot of pause for thought on what might happen should the worst happen . . . I am going to be very interested to see how the author completes the trilogy - will both these tales merge or will there be another completely different viewpoint? No idea but can't wait to find out . . . this is shaping up to be a really great trilogy, one that will stay with me. I cannot wait for the finale
Welsh has produced a thriller with shades of an adult Lord of the Flies: a dark and all too vivid picture of how survivors will go to any lengths to go on surviving . . . She sets out to paint an all too frightening and convincing picture of how the human race would deal with finding itself in extremis. Her characters are icons, yet individuals; her images of a superficially idyllic countryside with rot and destruction just under the surface are all too appallingly realistic
Promoting Crime
Welsh's fast-moving tale switches from a terrifically choreographed prison break to a road-trip through a post-plague landscape . . . Welsh imbues what could have been a simple narrative with more profound meaning and resonance . . . After the thrilling climax, readers will be desperate to find out what happens next in what, Welsh assures us, will be the final entry in this fascinating, unsettling and all-too-plausible trilogy
Sunday Herald
Almost everything about this scenario is familiar, from the abandoned luxury hotels to the looped news bulletins on TV . . . But Welsh's writing is so effective that it was as if I were encountering these tropes again for the first time; as if I was 12 again and watching Threads the 1980s BBC nuclear drama to which this series is clearly indebted. Richly imagined and, in Welsh's hands, horribly plausible
A taut menacing thriller that will keep you riveted until the end
The second volume of Welsh's disturbing dystopian trilogy makes for grim but compelling reading
Stunningly imagined, hugely scary
Irish Independent