The Blackhouse by Peter May

When I read ‘Entry Island’ it was billed as Peter May’s best book so far. So I was expecting less from ‘The Blackhouse’. Instead this book was incredibly powerful and harshly beautiful and I loved it.

Fin Macleod grew up on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and left as soon as he was old enough. He has returned only once in 18 years for his aunt’s funeral. He is now a police detective in Edinburgh. When a man is murdered on Lewis Island with a very similar MO to a murder Fin is investigating in Edinburgh, Fin is happy to escape his current difficult family circumstances, even though he has mixed feelings about returning to Lewis.

Being back on Lewis among the people he grew up with, Fin’s past very quickly comes crashing back. The book has some chapters in the present, where Find travels around Lewis with DS George Gunn conducting interviews and on his own catching up with old acquaintances. Other chapters take us back to Fin’s past.

The murder victim is Angel Macritchie, the school bully when Fin was as school. The main investigation team is from Glasgow and they certainly don’t welcome Fin or think much of the locals. Sections of the book take place on the harsh Island of An Sgeir, both in the present and in Fin’s past, where a group of Islanders make an annual pilgrimage to catch Guga (gannet chicks) for meat.

As we travel through Fin’s life, events come to light that even Fin was unaware of. We eventually discover that the reason for Angel’s murder is related to events that took place in Fin’s past.


The story was excellent and the characters were incredibly real and came to life for me. The physical location of the story was also brilliantly brought to life.

I loved this book. It is the first in a trilogy and I can’t wait to read the next one – ‘The Lewis Man’.


Book Published 2011


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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, May, Peter, Series Fiction

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