The basics: One month after the death of his son, Fin Macleod is not eager to get back to work as a detective in Edinburgh. When a man is murdered on the Isle of Lewis, Fin's remote home village, the grisly crime scene details are similar to a murder Fin worked in Edinburgh, he's ordered back to the Isle of Lewis, where he hasn't visited in twenty years.
My thoughts: The Blackhouse is satisfying in two very different ways. First, it's a compelling police procedural, a genre of which I'm particularly fond. Second, it's a fascinating character study of both Fin Macleod and the residents of the Isle of Lewis. May masterfully interweaves both storylines and timelines in a way that enhances both elements. As a reader, I was always eager to uncover clues to both Fin's past, both through flashbacks and current conversations with locals, and solve the pressing crimes.
The verdict: The Blackhouse is a deeply satisfying literary mystery infused with strong elements of ethnography and fascinating character development. As soon as I turned the last page, I ordered the second volume of the trilogy, The Lewis Man from the Book Depository (no official news of a U.S. release yet, but I'd expect it in fall 2013, about a year after The Black House was published.)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 401 pages
Publication date: October 2, 2012
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