Published: 02/01/2014
ISBN: 9781783062195
eISBN: 9781783068036
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I have always loved writing, even as a small boy, often composing short stories for my own amusement during the school holidays. Then as a teenager, I was lucky enough to be taught by a larger than li... read more

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The Drumbeater
by Clive Allan

Something caught his eye, as if the sun was reflecting on something shiny. The source of this momentary distraction was the clouded glass face of an old wrist watch. He bent down to retrieve it, then recoiled abruptly, standing bolt upright. The watch, complete with decaying leather strap, was secured to the wrist of a skeletal hand.

Clive Allan has drawn upon thirty years experience as a police officer and a profound knowledge of the Scottish Highlands in his crime thriller, The Drumbeater

When skeletal remains are found buried on a beach near the remote Scottish village of Glendaig, the evidence points to murder, to a crime dating back seventy years to World War Two. The task of unravelling the mystery falls to history graduate Neil Strachan, now a career cop, fast tracked into a new role on Northern Scotlands Major Enquiry Unit. When Neil calls upon German naval historian, Matthias Fuchs, to help identify the remains, a name soon emerges, that of a dashing young U-boat ace who mysteriously disappeared in 1941: Korvettenkapitän Max Friedmann.

Neil seeks the assistance of Glendaig’s elderly residents, but encounters an impenetrable wall of silence, causing him to suspect that they know far more about the young submariner than they are willing to impart. With more questions than answers, and under mounting pressure from his cynical boss to wrap up the enquiry, Neil embarks on a race against time to discover the truth. He begins to unravel a tale of subterfuge, escape and astounding loyalty. A tale that will ultimately reveal a secret that could have changed the course of World War Two...

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Questions are being posed right from the start. Who is the mysterious family on the beach in 1935! Who was buried on the Scottish beach during the war and why? I was hooked from the first page right up to the dramatic wartime climax at the end, and the final unexpected twist!
I know the Highlands well, and this book accurately and vividly brings the region to life in word pictures...you can almost smell the heather. The plot is complex, and the reader needs to concentrate as the criminal investigation into the finding of the bones on the beach runs parallel to the story of how they ended up there. The whole thing comes together at the end in a neat tying up of all the stands of the book. The story does have a romantic theme that will possibly result in a tear or two, but also for the men there's a detailed portrayal of life on board the wartime German U-boats. Attention to detail, and the realistic portrayal of policing in the modern day are also strong points. The author knows his Scottish history as well. It's a book that would appeal to anyone!

by Abigail Tannock


Drumbeater, is a captivating, addictive, and brilliantly paced debut novel from a great first time novelist. It is a book that will engross you, and one which you will remember and savor.

This story transitions between 1941, during World War II and the relative peace time of 2009. It involves the discovery in 2009, by a vacationing Scottish couple of a wrist-watch-wearing skeleton near a loch in the vicinity of of Glendaig, a small village in the northwest corner of Scotland. Could the skeletal remains belonged a Nazi national hero who was submarine senior officer on a secret mission in 1941? That is for me to know and you to find out. But what is immediately apparent from the condition of "the Glendaig corpse"is that a homicide has been committed upon a high ranking Nazi Navy officer during the Second World War. The remainder of the story involves an modern day investigation (2009) that is undeniably absorbing.

Remarkably, by a rational and probing investigation conducted by a modern Scottish police investigation in 2009, a theory about the identify of the skeleton is shot down causing more intense intrigue to build and adding fuel to further investigation. Initially, local politics get involved over to what degree of police resources should be used in an investigation of possible crime which occurred about 70 years before the remains discovery. But there is no turning back and the remainder of the plot, craftfuly but rapidly unfolds, all with compelling suspense by the author's exceptional use of skillful and finely tuned prose.

This book was a real gem. It was written with near perfection in a way that does not come along too often. The mystery involved shifts back and forth seamlessly between 1941 and 2009. Both story lines from each time perspective were pitch-perfect, clever and brilliantly executed. The author's writing techniques fully describe both the physical and mental aspects of the characters. His fluid and colorful narratives of the Scottish landscapes, weather, and history are just down right convincing. He is quite the prolific story teller who I hope will gain the international recognition he justly deserves for this superb debut novel.

It is always with a great deal of joy when a unknown author appears on the literary scene and causes a new heighten level of excitement for reading.This is a author, a new master craftsman, whose finely tuned, compelling and suspenseful novel was one that I did not want to finish because I knew there was not another one out there ready to read. Only to that extent this cannot be considered a "page turner".

This was a damn good book from beginning to end.

by Gordon Reiselt


Very rarely, a book comes along that will completely captivate you .
The Drumbeater is the perfect mix of true modern day policing , World War 2 naval history, Highland life with just the right amount of suspense and romance added!
The author clearly has a great love for Scotland , the scenery was so beautifully described that the Highlands themselves became another character in the book for me.
The story switches easily from the war years to present day , the characters are brilliantly and realistically depicted .The cold case that is the heart of the narrative and the resulting web of secrecy will keep you in suspense until the very end!
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone.

by Clare Holtby


The Drumbeater was a departure from my usual reading matter, what a wonderful way for me to discover a new direction, although, I have a very definite feeling that I have been spoilt?. This book was totally absorbing from the very first page, it has everything, murder, mystery, suspense, romance, wonderful attention to detail and to Scottish history, you can almost smell the heather and feel the wind in your face in the Scottish highlands. Waiting with anticipation for book number 2, only problem being 'how do you improve on near perfection?'

by L Raymond


When I first saw the cover of this delightful book, it had such an air of mystery about it; I knew that I must look further at the content and was not disappointed!
This is a great read. I could not put it down and was sorry when the last chapter came up.
I loved how so many different stories came together; events in World War Two, the loyalty of the villagers in Glendaig to each other, also the history of the families involved. Then there was the descriptive way The Highlands were portrayed; I could see the clouds over the Cuillins and the Lochs as if I was there. This is a lovely story and I would recommend it to anyone. Well done Clive Allan, now lets have book number two!!




by J Woolven


Clive Allan's The Drumbeater, is a synergy of contemporary policing, police culture and professionalism, and a stunning mystery surrounding the chance find of a body from WW2.
Inspector Neil Strachan is a compellingly and affable character, who is sensitive to the humanity of the individuals involved whilst maintaining a relentless search for truth. The author takes his audience to the stunning Scottish Highlands. Allan's skillfully detailed account of German Naval activities is interwoven with the lives of a small community living in a village during the 1940's. As a serving police officer in Australia, I compliment you for creating Inspector Neil Strachan. l can't wait for Allan's next novel.

by Bodley


A thoroughly enjoyable read, made more so, and interesting to boot, was that it was such a feasible storyline. The detailed description of the villages and scenery, really made me feel as if I knew the place and was there.
I found it easy to pick up and rejoin the story, and the transitions between 'past and present' were seamless.
There were some good mentions of the inter working relations within the Police force, and the work of the Pathologists, together with historical references to aspects of the war at sea that perhaps the man in the street might not be aware.
The characters of Neil Strachan and Alex Brodie and the remoteness of the Highlands leaves an opening for further stories of their work on perhaps more modern crimes?

by GD Peel


This really is a first class read. The descriptions of the area concerned are so beautifully done and the characters involved are described so well that one is immediately drawn into the plot.it is not often that one reads a book, and hopes that one day it could be seen on screen as a really good movie.I hope that we will read further adventures for Neil Strachan in the future.Thank you for the pleasure you gave me. Fraser Mackinnon

by Fraser Mackinnon


An excellent read, kept me guessing throughout. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone, looking forward to the next one

by Steve


A wonderful book, very well written; one of the best I've read in the last year. A long, drawn-out tale but one very well worth reading , would highly recommend. The author's knowledge as a police officer and of the Scottish Highlands shows throughout.

There is included detailed description of german u boats during World War Two. The tale is to find the identity of a skeleton found on an isolated beach in a remote Scottish village. Very soon it is realised by the police officer who is leading the enquiry that the skeleton is from the World War Two period of time. The same police officer was a graduate of history, which helps greatly in his ideas and searches.

There is a lot of historical fact involved; the two periods of times are woven carefully and clearly together. Deep intrigue long hidden secrets. Detailed descriptions of the area and of everything and everyone involved.

It was almost the end of the book before we knew who the skeleton really was and of what had happened at the time.

by Brenda Wright


What a wonderful story! It held my interest right to the end. The characters are complex and real and i couldnt wait to find out the whole story of what had taken place so long ago. Excellent writing, very nicely put prose and descriptive language. If you are partial to very good writing you will love this book. This is the book we all wish we could write! Loved it!

by Jan Baldry


Considering that the Drumbeater is the first book from the pen of Clive Allan it just goes to show how an accomplished writer he is with such a naturally gifted talent. The historical research carried out emphasizes the care and dedication taken in writing this novel.
The novel set in Scotland flows from the very first word to the very last with uninterrupted ease. The story effortlessly swaps between the War years to the Present day and does not make the story disjointed in any form. The characterization of the locals of Glendaig is so perfect that you feel that you personally know them and the descriptive writing used brings the West Highlands to life. This coupled with the attention to detail of the police work leaves you wanting more.
An enthralling and excellent read from start to finish. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. I’m immensely pleased to hear that there will be more books flowing from the pen of Clive Allen, therefore the character of DI Neil Strachan can live on!

by Neale Ambrose


Wonderful descriptive text. A good balance of character and scenery description with a strong plot. Clever use of switching from present to past.

by Miss T A Hemery


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the Scottish landscape and towns and villages were detailed. The historical detail was excellent and to the layperson with no real knowledge came across as credible . The present day was believable and interesting. Some books struggle with the moving between present day and the past but this one seemed to slip easily between the two and the flow of it was good. I found some of the names hard to keep up with (e.g Ursula, Ursel) which made me have to concentrate and as some one who is a bit of a fast, skim reader that's probably no bad thing!

A really great book and, particularly for a first novel, impressive. Hope to see more from Clive Allen although this will be a tough one to follow.

by Caroline


The Drumbeater straddles a number of decades but I never felt lost. The plot is really interesting and the setting are very easy to imagine the way the author has described them. A far as crime novels go this is one of the most enjoyable I have read so far this year.

by GoldenJ


For anyone looking for an intelligent and well research crime novel The Drumbeater takes some beating. I have a particular interest in the area in which the novel is set and more than a passing interest in Naval history and when it was suggested I didn't think twice. What I found was a well written and plausible story which quickly drew me in. The Drumbeater gets a big thumbs up from me and an easy 5 stars.

by Simon


This book was recommended to me by a friend and I am glad he did. From the moment I picked up the book, I didn't want to put it back down. It is one the best researched and well written books I have read in a long time, and is paced just right so you don't get confused and you can't possibly get bnored. The scenery captures your imagination straight from the start and the characters are believeable so you can relate to them, which I find, always helps get me into a story.

This is a perfect mix of a detective story, historical fact, and mystery. It is definitely worth a read. I hope Mr Allen is going to wrote more.

by Gill Short


This is a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing book which kept me guessing and turning the pages. With beautifully drawn characters, an intriguing plot and evocative descriptions of the Scottish Highlands. A most impressive first novel and I'm looking forward to more from Clive Allan in the future.

by Jools


An excellent book. Hard to believe it is the authors first publication. I particularly liked the way the author dealt with the two different time periods and how they blended together to get the story told. I will be looking forward to his next book.

by J M Ellis


A very good book! I could not stop reading it. Looking forward to the next book by Clive Alan.

by Christina Rundin Morgan


5 out of 5 stars Terrific read,a great first novel by Clive Allan. The plot is solid with twists and turns that keep you guessing and it's conclusion beautifully brings the story together. I can't wait for his next book and this really is a must read!!

by Trevor


I doubt that anyone who comes across 'The Drumbeater' by the UK fiction writer Clive Allan could fail to be impressed by the sense of atmosphere conveyed by its striking cover. This is a book that makes an immediate statement. Its author takes his work very seriously and is offering the reader something rather special.
'The Drumbeater' crosses over several genres and will therefore appeal to a wide readership. Predominantly a crime thriller set in the remote Scottish Highland community of Glendaig, it switches smoothly between a 'cold case' present-day murder enquiry and the Second World War setting of the crime itself. This is a debut novel of considerable substance and Allan must have spent a huge amount of time on his research. The characterisation is impressive and the writing charged to the brim with atmosphere. There's so much here for devotees of police procedurals right through to lovers of beautiful Scottish landscapes and, with a sea mist drifting from many of its pages, this book will also find an enthusiastic welcome from those interested in naval history. If there was ever a story screaming for transition from page to film, then surely this is it?
I really liked it and was reminded of some of Frederick Forsyth's or Jack Higgins' earlier works. Perhaps the novel's length might challenge today's market, but the narrative shows real pace at times and all credit to Allan for sticking to his guns and writing the story he wished to write. He is clearly an author who believes in bringing detail to the page, and good for him.
If you like to settle down with a solid and engaging read, Allan's writing is for you.

by Marcus Case


A brilliant first book by Clive Allan. Once you start reading, it's very hard to put the book down, as you want to know who the remains belong to - is it going to be this person or perhaps that person, lovely twists in the book and hopefully not the last book by Clive Allan. Well done, well worth reading.

by Mrs C Thrower


Wonderful read! Enjoyed it thoroughly! Excellent writing and research.

by Marcie, Corning New York


A real page-turner to the end

by Avid reader


I purchased a paperback copy of “The Drumbeater” in September 2014. I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with him about this book or any other subject. The comments that follow are my own personal opinion. I received NO compensation of any kind, or from any one, to provide this review.
This novel was very impressive as it tracked the investigation into a murder that occurred almost seventy years prior. Neil, the investigator, led us through a maze of clues and evidence, all while under time restraints, to solve the mystery of the corpse buried on a Scottish Beach. The investigation went back to World War II. The prevalent silence of the elderly residents, he found in the nearby village, all added to the intrigue of spies and secrets that finally brought him to the startling conclusion.
The author told a unique and entertaining story and did it very well. His ability to use a very difficult timeline and walk the reader smoothly through it was very professional. His historical references were well researched and that accuracy gave the book a tight validity. I did find the story would occasionally veer off into a paragraph of excessive description. These had a tendency to bog down the pace of the book. They were quite beautiful and some were even poetic, but had little to do with the plot. As I read, I found them superfluous and unnecessary, and often skimmed over them to get back to the story.
The book provided the psychological details, and intelligent analysis of a good murder mystery. I really enjoyed this book and found it difficult to put down. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read. I am looking forward to the author’s next book.

by Christine


A gripping, intelligent, good sized book combining modern policing with historical events during WWII. A combination niche which has generally been overlooked. The book made for compelling reading and the art of the Author draws you into the tale bringing the story to life and including the reader. Cannot praise this book too highly and would recommend it to all avid/novice book readers. A proficient and professional book and an up and coming Author to follow. Eagerly awaiting the sequel and hope there will be many more to follow.

by Stella Coppard


Well just finished "The Drumbeater" by that renowned author Clive Allan - have to say I couldn't put it down - those of you who like a bit of history + a mystery, give it a go - twists, turns & a fine read - that's all

by Nigel Smith


Cracking read, love the detail and the pace. Superb story telling. Hopefully more to follow.
I used to work with this guy, really pleased for him and top drawer stuff :)



by Gary


Couldn't put it down.....perhaps a little overly long on the discriptive front, when one is really wanting to progress with the story, but thats a personal view. Great first novel, really enjoyed it, looking forward to the next.

by Dennis


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The present and past merge so well. Sorry when I finished it as such a good read.

by VivienneD



The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking, ‘This needs to be a movie.’ The story opens with a skeleton discovered partially buried on the beach in the Scottish Highlands. Artifacts found with the skeleton point to him being a German soldier during World War II. But there had been no German operation in the Scottish Highlands – or had there? With resources tight, Detective Inspector Neil Strachan is given till the end of the month to learn the identity of the dead man. The vivid characters come alive as the intriguing mystery unfolds. Neil questions the few elderly townspeople of Glendaig who’d been there during the war, and it becomes apparent they know more than they’re telling. Fierce loyalties between family and friends extend beyond ties to country and ideal. The reader is taken between top secret wartime operations covered up by both UK and Germany, and a modern day police investigation in 2009. The story is superbly researched and finely told with intricate details of places and events, both in World War II and in the present. In a word, excellent.

by Laurie Hannan


I really enjoyed The Drumbeater, couldn't put it down, once l started to read, there are many twists and turns and lots of unexpected surprises, all through the story, the Author has kept you guessing all the way, and has done a great job in his research of the places starting from Scotland to London, and the Land-Marks, History, Mysterious, and has been well written for the Authors first book, hope to hear more from him, Well done Clive.

by Rose Maureen Steiger


This novel has a substantial cast of characters, all fleshed out and differentiated – there’s a family tree at the beginning to help you keep track of people. The shock opening with the finding of a skeleton still wearing a German watch leads to a detailed – and very knowledgeably written – police procedural during which clues aplenty are discovered but the mystery deepens considerably. The book’s pace is kept lively with the interspersing of dramatic and exciting action told in flashbacks to 1941 and wartime submarine action off the Scottish coastline. I was impressed both by the author’s depth of knowledge of the police and of the Scottish Highlands but also by the convincing detail around weaponry and wartime submarines. At the same time, the elderly characters being interviewed in the 2009 sections ring true. There are a number of pleasing twists too and an epilogue to tie up remaining loose ends. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you have read it.

by Lesley lodge


This is by far one of the best and most enthralling books I have read this year. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Clive's ability to vividly illustrate the Scottish Highlands of today and war time years and to then move deftly to evoke the feelings of horror and fear that must have been experienced by German U Boat crews as they snaked their way around the coast of Britain is breathtaking.

The story itself is gripping. So many twists, turns and sub plots that I struggled to understand how they would all come together. But come together they did in a fabulous finale which left me breathless. Clive's assiduous research added to the reality of this fascinating tale, set in two very different times, and provided the authenticity that made the story so convincing.

Of course the police procedure was spot on, Clive is an ex police officer, but DI Neil Strachan is both a likeable and highly effective investigator whose character is crying out for an A List actor to portray him in a TV Drama!

It is such a shame that writers of this quality, producing such brilliant stories struggle to get shelf space when all we see in certain national stores are ghost written 'autobiographies' of self defined 'celebrities.' The public are being deprived of brilliant new authors like Clive. They don't know what they are missing!

by Graham Bartlett


Saw it recommended, but still wasn't sure. however, I am thoroughly enjoying it.

by agedone


I do not generally read books - but knowing the author personally and having worked with him, thought I'd give it a go. The depth of detail and historic content along with excellent story telling had me hooked from the start and wanting to know as much detail about each character as possible, which was done with amazing detail. Can't wait for the second book!

by Mike Moules


A brilliantly constructed story that keeps the reader guessing right up to the very end!
The in depth knowledge of the German military system and the detail used in describing the Scottish highlands is outstanding!
Hard to believe this is Allan's first published work, you would think he had been writing for decades!
Let's hope there are more to come!

by Pete Ashton


Just finished The Drumbeater & all I've got to say is what a great read. Clive's attention to detail is fantastic when describing the landscapes of Scotland & the characters, I don't want to give anything away about the story but if you are interested in history & war you'll love this. I'm amazed this is only his 1st novel as it's written very very well. Well done Clive am waiting eagerly for the next book.

by Paul Boiling


What a thoroughly absorbing and interesting read this was. A cold case wartime mystery set in the present day Scottish Highlands, written by an ex-policeman turned author who has described the atmosphere and the landscape of the surroundings with such descriptive detail that I felt as if I was right there at times. Reminded me of holidays spent in the Highlands and made me feel like packing a bag to return there straight away, or at least once I'd read the book right through to the end.

Snippets of well researched military history, interspersed with historic family mysteries and steady and methodical police work and procedures.

There are several twists and turns that leave the reader wondering who exactly the culprit or culprits were, and an interesting new detective DI Neil Strachan, a no-nonsense straightforward and thorough copper who just gets on with the job, but trusts his instincts and intuitions along the way. A remarkable debut novel and I really hope there will be a whole series to read. A TV series would be excellent with all that scenery to admire as well. What's not to like.

by Caryl Williams


What a great book this is, though I had to go slowly as I really never wanted it to finish. A combination of family history and military history skilfully woven into an intriguing and absorbing story suited me perfectly, and what a refreshing change to find no gratuitous violence, rape or pillage, which seem to be essential parts of so many modern crime/mystery books today. The description of the Scottish landscape is powerfully evocative and well observed, and the sections set in the Second World War are exciting in a 'Boys' Own' sort of way but interesting and factual at the same time. It's going to be hard to follow up on something of this standard, but fingers crossed for the next book. Oh, and just one 'negative' comment - is it actually true that the Gatwick Express was on time and waiting on the platform? Really? No delays, cancellations, or signal failures at Purley? Now that IS a stretch of the imagination!!

by S Light


This is an amazing book, really didn't want to put it down and it's quite long, so not possible to read in one session. Hadn't expected to enjoy it as much as I did because of the historical aspect but in fact it was so well written that I loved those parts. The parts of the book written about the Second World War were set in winter & I could feel the cold & the snow. The modern day was set in summer & the descriptions made me feel that I would love to explore northern Scotland. The main character was very likable & I look forward to reading more books concerning him. I found myself gradually working out what I thought might have happened & though I didn't guess all the ins & outs I had worked a lot of it out correctly by the end of the book. I think this book would make a great film. Highly recommend this as a great exciting read & I look forward to more books by Clive Allan.

by P. Don


This is a lengthy but very readable and pacey novel. It starts with the discovery of a body in Scotland, and the mysterious circumstances that this reveals. The novel then switches between contemporary detective work and historical fiction relating to the death that had been discovered. This produces accounts of rather traditional rural Scotland which is convincing and with a certain charm, and historical detail relating to the second world war which seems convincing, interesting and well researched.

by R Lawson


An excellent book that is one of those that I didn't want to put down. Something of a unique plot which the author dealt with excellently. Alternating from the present day to the past, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and feeling the need to leaf through several pages in order to discover what happens next, subsequently keeping you in suspense until the end. Thoroughly recommended.

by Lynette


Thoroughly enjoyable read, found it quite a page turner. I kept thinking I new what was going to happen next and was proved wrong time and time again. Enjoyed the dual time frame from ww2 to present day. Great description of the highlands and villages I was transported there, highly recommend this book.

by Amazon Customer


A near perfect historical crime novel
As many of its genre, The Drumbeater starts with the discovery of a dead body, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just a run-of-the-mill, family feud or revenge murder story, for this is a very carefully crafted, extensively researched, part-WW2 whodunit of the highest order.
It starts off with a lot of characters, arguably a few too many, and demands your full attention. The story gathers pace and it wasn’t long before I really wanted to find out what happened. But it’s not all action; in fact one of the most attractive aspects of the writing is the evocative description of the west coast of Scotland scenery.
I found the historical research at occasional risk of overwhelming the story, but equally it provided the narrative with an assurance and authenticity which encouraged me to plough on reading, fully trusting the author.
If the editing had been of a slightly higher standard and the introduction faster and more compelling The Drumbeater would, for me, be a near perfect historical crime novel. As it is, I thought it comfortably deserved 4.5/5 – and, as Amazon does not permit such a rating, I happily award it 5 stars – because it’s such a cracking, plausible, engaging and well-told story.
An exceptional debut novel by a naturally-gifted, observant and articulate author. Apparently, he promises more of the same in his next book. I shall definitely read it.

by Martin Shepherd


Complex, thrilling, brilliant novel! I’ve had a few issues with putting thoughts and opinions on paper in a way that makes sense, so much to say! First things first, I want to thank the author Clive Allan for reaching out and sending me the digital version of The Drumbeater.

Welcome to Glendaig, a little town in the Scottish Highlands. A peaceful place until the remains of a person wearing a German watch are discovered in a beach nearby. Young Neil Strachan, a career cop with a background in History is given the task to solve the mystery. When the young policeman gets in touch with a German navel historian specialist called Matthias Fuchs, they soon discover that, not only they have a murder case that dates back seventy years on their hands, but also the revelation of something that could have changed history.

It was a long and intense read, one that I will remember for a long time. Allan’s style of writing is absolutely incredible and along his great descriptions, the deep knowledge in historical events, police procedures and the way everything comes together is breathtaking. The clues are analysed in a great way and the psychological details make this novel unique and for me one of the best mysteries I’ve read so far. I actually had my heart on my throat from trepidation in wanting to know what came next. A real page-turner, filled with twists and turns, just how I like them.

The author organised the story in a hasty manner, connecting the present and the past in flashbacks of the life and activities inside a submarine in 1941, so it gives the perfect balance between the historical events with the present modern investigation and interpretation of what happened back then. The different sets of characters are very well thought and very well represented in my opinion and their depth made them more than just simple characters. I managed not to lose track of who is who in the novel, the idea of a genealogical tree in the beginning was a great idea, I definitely consulted it a few times. Neil is a great protagonist and the details of his personal life make him than a mere policeman.

I really enjoyed the setting of the story. Like I mentioned before, the descriptions in general are great, but those of Scotland are memorable and I definitely got the urge to visit.

A great read that I highly recommend to the fans of the mystery, thriller, suspense, historical genres.

by Andrea Nuno


As I read the synopsis for The Drumbeater and saw the book’s length, I questioned whether I wanted to read it. I enjoy historical fiction and mystery. But I’ve read several World War II stories recently. Did I want to read another, and a début novel at that?
I am so glad I decided to dive in and see what Clive Allan had brought to the table. Not once did I look back and regret it. If I weren’t working on my manuscript, The Drumbeater would have had me reading until I completed it.
Allan’s career in police service enhances his writing. His background results in detailed characters, scenes, places, police activity, and dialogue. All this moves the plot along quickly and with ease. The story flowed exquisitely from one chapter’s end to the beginning of the next. Nothing was lost in transition.
Although he claims his English origins, Allan confesses to a long love affair with Scotland. Thus his choice of setting for The Drumbeater. Combine Allan’s love of Scotland, his background in police work, and an interest in military history, and you have the origin of Detective Inspector Neil Strachan.
DI Strachan is not your run of the mill detective. He has a graduate degree in history and struggles to build a good reputation in police work. Strachan is tasked with unraveling a mysterious case dating back to 1941. His only clue is the skeleton found in a grave on a Scottish beach.
Quirky characters from a nearby village may or may not be witnesses. But DI Strachan works hard to decide who’s telling the truth. Allan strives to weave together each strand so the reader has a seamless tale of deceit and honor.
If you’re a fan of great historical mystery harking back to WWII, you’ll like Allen’s, The Drumbeater. If you like settings in Great Britain and environs, specifically Scotland, you’re going to want to read this book. I urge you to pick up a copy, sit back, and enjoy!

by Sherrey Meyer


What an excellent book!!! I would normally be put off by a book of this thickness, but undeterred, I cleared a bit of time, and took a run up at it. I needn't have worried! From the first chapter I was in there. The descriptions of places, events and people, made it so real as the story effortlessly flips back and forth through time, entertaining and educating me about a part of history I've never really thought about. It seemed so real that having finished the book, I really do believe there is a remote Scottish village called Glendaig, and a Detective Inspector called Neil Strachan. I have Clive's next book lined up.

by Jacky Elliott


Complex, thrilling, brilliant novel! I’ve had a few issues with putting thoughts and opinions on paper in a way that makes sense, so much to say! First things first, I want to thank the author Clive Allan for reaching out and sending me the digital version of The Drumbeater.
Welcome to Glendaig, a little town in the Scottish Highlands. A peaceful place until the remains of a person wearing a German watch are discovered in a beach nearby. Young Neil Strachan, a career cop with a background in History is given the task to solve the mystery. When the young policeman gets in touch with a German novel historian specialist called Matthias Fuchs, they soon discover that, not only they have a murder case that dates back seventy years on their hands, but also the revelation of something that could have changed history.
It was a long and intense read, one that I will remember for a long time. Allan’s style of writing is absolutely incredible and along with his great descriptions, the deep knowledge in historical events, police procedures and the way everything comes together is breathtaking. The clues are analysed in a great way and the psychological details make this novel unique and for me one of the best mysteries I’ve read so far. I actually had my heart on my throat from trepidation in wanting to know what came next. A real page-turner, filled with twists and turns, just how I like them.
The author organised the story in a hasty manner, connecting the present and the past in flashbacks of the life and activities inside a submarine in 1941, so it gives the perfect balance between the historical events with the present modern investigation and interpretation of what happened back then. The different sets of characters are very well thought and very well represented in my opinion and their depth made them more than just simple characters. I managed not to lose track of who is who in the novel, the idea of a genealogical tree in the beginning was a great idea, I definitely consulted it a few times. Neil is a great protagonist and the details of his personal life make him more than a mere policeman.
I really enjoyed the setting of the story. Like I mentioned before, the descriptions in general are great, but those of Scotland are memorable and I definitely got the urge to visit.

by Book Traveller


I'm not often moved to write a book review, but this was something a bit special. A beautifully written and cleverly woven crime/historical fiction story, set against a backdrop of wonderful Scottish scenery, and moving seamlessly between the 1940's and the present, this was a book I didn't want to put down. I'm about to buy Mr Allan's next offering - hope it's as good!

by Amazon Customer


 

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