Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Blackhouse by Peter May

This first in a series book has been on my To Read list for a long time. When I opened it up and saw a pronunciation guide I nearly ditched it. I get so bogged down in that stuff it makes me nuts, most of the time. There weren't that many names/words, though, so I dug in. 

While reading I had several run of the mill life distractions that didn't allow for much curling up and reading for extended periods of time. This is something that can be a real killer for me, especially in a crime novel. I read it in such a disjointed fashion, in fact, that there was a major element of the story in the beginning that I had completely forgotten about when it was mentioned again at the end. 

It's saying an awful lot, then, that it never crossed my mind to put it aside altogether. It is just far too compelling -- and I am not even talking about the mystery at the heart of it. 

The series is set in Scotland's Outer Hebrides on Lewis Island, which seems the perfect backdrop for bad things to happen. May's writing evokes a nearly tangible sense of isolation and describes an unforgiving landscape. When a man who has a long history as a bully is found murdered, it's clear there will be no shortage of suspects. Edinburgh Detective Fin Macleod, a native of Lewis Island, is dispatched to assist in the investigation. Macleod, recently back to work after a devastating personal tragedy, is on shaky emotional ground even before he is compelled to return to a place haunted by his difficult childhood and right back into the lives of people he had thought and hoped never to encounter again in his lifetime. 

May's Fin Macleod puts me in mind of Susan Hill's Simon Serailler in so many ways, and if this strong first in the series is indicative of what's to come, I am in for a treat as I work my way through this series. 

Book borrowed from the Coliseum Boulevard branch of the
Montgomery City-County Public Library

Published in hardcover by SilverOak
October 2012

Published in trade paperback by Quercus 
August 2014


  1. I wish there was a "LIKE" button. LIKE!

  2. Hmmm - you had me at the Simon Serrailler comparison but the pronunciation stuff worries me - maybe audio . . .

    1. Don't let that stop you -- it's only a handful of names, and honestly I didn't have to keep flipping back and forth as much as I'd feared I might need to.