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The Blackhouse
Cover of The Blackhouse
The Blackhouse
A Novel
by Peter May
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From acclaimed author and television dramatist Peter May comes the first book in the Lewis Trilogy—a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, a formidable and forbidding world where tradition rules and people adhere to ancient ways of life.

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that has the hallmarks of a killing he's investigating on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to see if the two deaths are connected. His return after nearly two decades not only represents a police investigation, but a voyage into his own troubled past. As Fin reconnects with the places and people of his tortured childhood, he feels the island once again asserting its grip on his psyche. And every step forward in solving the murder takes him closer to a dangerous confrontation with the tragic events of the past that shaped—and nearly destroyed—Fin's life.

The Blackhouse is a thriller of rare power and vision that explores the darkest recesses of the soul.

From acclaimed author and television dramatist Peter May comes the first book in the Lewis Trilogy—a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, a formidable and forbidding world where tradition rules and people adhere to ancient ways of life.

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that has the hallmarks of a killing he's investigating on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to see if the two deaths are connected. His return after nearly two decades not only represents a police investigation, but a voyage into his own troubled past. As Fin reconnects with the places and people of his tortured childhood, he feels the island once again asserting its grip on his psyche. And every step forward in solving the murder takes him closer to a dangerous confrontation with the tragic events of the past that shaped—and nearly destroyed—Fin's life.

The Blackhouse is a thriller of rare power and vision that explores the darkest recesses of the soul.

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 30, 2012
    Television dramatist May’s brilliant first in a trilogy set on the Gaelic-speaking Isle of Lewis, northernmost of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, introduces Fin Macleod, a Lewis native and Edinburgh CID detective sergeant. While grieving over the accidental death of his only child, Fin investigates a grisly homicide nearly identical to a previous case in Edinburgh. Back in Macleod’s home village of Crobost, first-person flashbacks gradually unveil contradictory episodes of horror and compassion in his youth, counterpointing the third-person account of the present-day murder case. Abundant local color—much of it physically and psychologically wrenching, like the islanders’ annual culling of seabirds, a primitive rite of passage—matches Macleod’s tormented emotional landscape. The struggles of such multidimensional characters as Artair, Macleod’s boyhood friend, and Marsaili, the girl they both loved and Artair married, add depth. In the acknowledgments, May (Blowback) reveals that he drew much of his inspiration from five years filming on the island.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2012

    Because of his ties with the region and his fluency in Gaelic, Edinburgh-based DI Fin Macleod is dispatched to Scotland's remote Isle of Lewis to compare two deaths. Two hangings, one in Edinburgh and one in Fin's childhood home of Crobost, share the same traits. Is a serial killer or a copycat at work? Since the Crobost victim was the village bully, Fin must sift through multiple motives and his own memories to tease out the killer. Chapters alternate between Fin's youth (in first-person voice) and the current investigation in this thrilling coming-of-age adventure laden with premonition and dread. VERDICT Order, read, and pass it on! Well known for novels and television dramas, Scottish author May (Backlight Blue; Chinese Whispers) has written a mesmerizing new trilogy opener. May brings the story to a breathtaking conclusion with an astonishing twist at the end. Compare to Simon Beckett's Written in Bone for locale and Tana French for tone.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 15, 2012
    Scottish novelist May (whose series include the Enzo Files, starring a Scottish forensic scientist working in France) starts a projected trilogy, again with a Scottish sleuth, with a shotgun blast of a debut. Two bodies are found hanging from trees: one in Edinburgh, the other on the Isle of Lewis, the most northerly isle in the Outer Hebrides. Edinburgh cop Fin Macleod, originally from Lewis, is assigned to the case for no more reason than that he speaks Gaelic. Two narratives vie with each other. One involves Macleod's struggles with confronting people whom he left behind years ago. The other, which eventually informs the first, is Macleod's first-person memories of his life on the island. The reader knows that Macleod, against all odds, overcame poverty and bad schooling to win a spot at the University of Glasgow and that he threw it all away in his sophomore year and became a cop, a decision he's regretted ever since. The two narratives are brilliantly executed until they converge in an absolute stunner of an ending. The isolation and desolation of Lewis is an apt metaphor for Macleod. For once in crime fiction, a detective confronting demons from his past is not merely a stock plot device. May gives it an urgency that, by novel's end, makes perfect sense. A gripping plot, pitch-perfect characterization, and an appropriately bleak setting drive this outstanding series debut.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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