A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith. Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.
Something lurks within the close-knit island community.
As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface and soon, he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.
©2011 Quercus Publishing PLC (P)2011 Quercus Editions Ltd
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I actually came across the word "unputdownable" while searching my thesaurus for a word to describe this audiobook. Peter May has created a believable cast of characters to take us through a bleak but memorable landscape that is plagued with the baggage of fractured relationships of every kind. Peter Forbes beautiful scottish gives the story authenticity and credibility as he reads it with a confidence that made me think he could have lived it.
"You can feel the wind and the sea"
I am giving 4 stars instead of 5 only because this was an abridged version, which I never would slelect if the unabridged was available. I wanted to start with the first book of this series so I got what I could. But this was a very compelling story in which the murder to be solved took back seat to the human drama played out through the main characters. Moving easily from present to past and back again to reveal the complex relationships of 3 childhood friends and a cast of supporting players, I was fully invested in the outcome, which was somewhat unexpected but completely believable. The narration added to the sense of authenticity, with the scottish brogue adding to the atmosphere heavy with rain, fog and memories. Fin Macleod is a protagonist whose past has been tragic, yet you can still sense life and optimism in him. I am moving immediately to the next in the series, The Lewis Man. It is unabridged, so I expect even better story and character development from that one.
This author is a great storyteller and mystery writer. I could not stop listening! I thought the book reminded me a lot of the work of Tana French. Also the reader was terrific. Great accents and kept the story moving.
"What a story!"
This writer paints pictures with his words. I felt as if I was on the Island of Lewis having this experience with Finn. The story twisted and turned giving me lots to think about.
All of the characters were interesting, but, of course, it's Finn's story and he's a marvelous character.
Peter Forbes did a fairly good job on all the various Scottish accents but it got in the way a bit (for an American listener). It seemed he was caught in making the accents work and didn't do much else to differentiate the voices.
This book swept me up. I loved following Finn through his childhood, seeing what life on a small Gaelic island would have been like.
I strongly recommend this audio book and this author. It's a good
"Five Stars Plus"
I purchased this book because I am hooked on Scottish detective/crime fiction. Having not previously read anything by Peter May (but I am a fan of Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin) I took the chance. I'm SO GLAD I did! What a terrific story! The main character goes back to his home town on the Isle of Lewis to solve a murder similar to one he worked in Edinburgh. Long story short, he ends up discovering unknown skeletons in his own closet; turning his life inside out. There is a personal element to this story that makes the ending truly powerful. "The Blackhouse" is much more than the typical detective novel. The author frequently switches back and forth between past and present, but this doesn't take away from the story at all, IMHO. It adds a lot to character development and helps to invest the reader/listener into the lives of the main characters.
The narrator, Peter Forbes, is another reason I purchased this book. He has a wonderful voice and can portray characters from all over the UK. His ability to change the pitch and tone of his voice quickly (along with his uncanny ability to mimic different dialects) really makes for an enjoyable listen. Mr. Forbes is one of my favorite readers and I will always seriously consider purchasing any audiobook he narrates.
Overall, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Rarely do I find an abridged story so well presented. Hoping for more I have downloaded the second in the 3 part series. Using the remote island communities as the scene for the story most certainly contributes to a sustained interest as the plot unfolds.
"Brought me right back to Lewis and the MacLeods"
The reading and the story are outstanding and authentic. The sense of growing danger and the need for Fin MacLeod to solve the crime against all of his inner hesitation is compelling. A great symphony of a tale.
Far deeper than Lewis and more introspective than Frost.
Peter Forbes brings a sense of being among the island characters and their mutual need to stay on the island and get away.
I listened as I drove using my GPS system so it was happily part of my drive.
I have been to Lewis as a MacLeod and felt many of the sensations described in the book - the wind, the desolation, the cliffs, the waves, the weather, the religious control (we were asked not to drive on Sunday), the characters and those who wanted to hear about life in Canada, in fact life anywhere else.
"A must read"
A masterpiece will be a classic. This is the first story of the Lewis Man Trilogy. I will enjoy this many times over. The trilogy will be complete later in this Spring.
"Story & voice drew me in & kept me there"
The location of the book was what drew me in as I've visited some of the islands of the Hebrides. I loved reading about the island of Lewis and the culture there. The mystery was a great story on top of all that.
Not the plot per se, but what I couldn't wait to get in the car and listen to was the weaving of murder and mystery with family, traditions, culture, and a coming of age tale.
By providing the voices of the characters, not just their accents but the cadence of their speech, I could "see" the characters much better. I was amazed at the number of accents in which Mr. Forbes read.
The description of the islanders' taking of the guga was completely fascinating and horrifying in and of itself. It was made even more so when told through the eyes of the main character looking back on his first trip.
"murky, hard to follow"
I found the story very confused, the book not well written, and really not very interesting.
"So much more than just a crime story"
The Blackhouse is my third book by Peter May, although chronologically I should probably have started with this one.
There are so many more layers to this book than just solving a crime - it goes deep into childhood infatuations, hidden secrets and forgotten/repressed memories of a young mind, of the thin varnish of respectability, of barely recognized motives, of revenge, and adds the harsh nature of the isles as a fitting backdrop.
Although I read the trilogy out of order, I was surprised and fully satisfied with the dramatic ending. Yes, I did shed tears at appropriate intervals.
The language never gets in the way (as it does happen in other books), and once again Peter Forbes' narration is impeccable.
I will most definitely look forward to any upcoming titles by Peter May. This one is a production I will happily return to.
"An excellent read, excellent narration"
Although a short book, this book is the perfect introduction to the three Lewis books written by Peter May. The narration is first class throughout the series and in this book the characters are nicely put into place, as well as having some glimpses into life as it was in the Outer Hebridees and as it is today.
again a great book good solid Scottish characters who anyone who lives on an island can relate to
Some books are better in Audio than others and the medium works wonderfully well for The Blackhouse. The lilting Island tones of Peter Forbes' narration transported me to Orkney and had me completely hooked on this tale. I could almost hear the cries of the gannets wheeling over the rock.
It is the first of Peter May's series which I have listened to on Audible and I will be downloading the others.
"Complex and moving"
Thoroughly recommended. This clearly shows the author's grasp of human nature and the strange intensity and complexity of life in isolated rural communities. A good mystery too, I've read so many murder mysteries I usually solve them long before the end but not with this one.
"Excellent Tartan Noir"
Atmospheric, intelligent plot twist, city and Scottish island based story line. Good pace.
"Love Peter May and Peter Forbes"
Brilliantly read just like the other books in the Peter May collection. Peter Forbes brings the characters to life with the change of his voice. The story keeps you gripped, wanting to find the answers but keeps you guessing till the end.
I enjoyed it. solid story with a scotish twist. predicable but not in a way that tuins the story.
I enjoyed how the story was repeated from different points of view, enabling you to identify fully with each character, thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Inputdownable - in an audio way!"
I was on the Western Islands in October for a holiday and was interlined taken by its beauty and culture. So, I couldn't resist a story set there. I had not discovered Peter May until now. Read and listened to lots of Rankin.
The story was exciting and intriguing the way it unfolded the layers. Excellent telling by the reader. Off to get the next in the trilogy.
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