Friday, March 1, 2013

book review: The Blackhouse by Peter May

The backstory: The Blackhouse is the first mystery novel in Peter May's Lewis trilogy. May is also the author of two other mystery series: The Enzo Files and The China Thrillers.

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
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Blackhouse from the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version--only $7.99!)

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  1. I don't often read books in this genre, but you've made it sound rather stimulating and like something that I could really dig deeply into. I will be adding this one to my list right away!

  2. I'm glad you like this one. A friend is sending me her copy to read and pass on!

  3. I'm keen to read this one. I'm currently working my way through Ann Cleeves' Shetland series, which have a similar setting, so it would be interesting to compare them.


  4. I enjoy police procedurals too. I'll wait for them all to be available in the US though!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!