26 July 2012

The Blackhouse; Peter May

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)The Blackhouse by Peter  May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think the Scots can match the Scandinavians for dour, dark landscapes!

Fin (short for Fionnlagh, or Finlay in English)is a native of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebridies).  Orphaned early, he was raised by an aunt and tutored by one of the school teachers, ultimately giving him the opportunity to get off the island to attend the University of Glasgow - where he flunked out and joined the police force.  A month before the story starts, he was investigating a murder in Edinburgh when a hit-and-run accident injures his wife and kills his son.

A similar murder on Lewis affords him the opportunity to return for the first time in 18 years.  Supposedly, his "native son" instincts and connections will help, although the police commander on Lewis not only doesn't want him there, he actively dislikes him.  Turns out the murdered is one of the biggest bullies of Fin's schooldays, with many, many people on Lewis who are now suspects.  Fin's return, meeting up with his former bff Artair, his former girlfriend (and now Artair's wife) Marsaili, Donald, Conor and others is uncomfortable - all those memories, all that time spend off island, have led to a real distance from the people he once was close with.

As for the murderer, let's just say the sins of the father are visited on the son in more ways that one, and across more generations than one.  It's a bit harrowing, and the end result isn't the most satisfying result but... this is a trilogy.  Can't wait to see what happens next.  And with luck, the place setting that made this a slow starter will give way to faster, deeper pacing.

ARC provided by publisher.

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