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The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy

The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy [Kindle Edition]

Peter May
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,251 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A gripping novel ... Impressive writing and a clammy, claustrophobic atmosphere' The Times.

'An outstanding page-turning murder mystery' Irish Independent.

Product Description

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. Something sinister.


As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 616 KB
  • Print Length: 502 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (5 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MYF4SS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #594 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth" New York Times

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

- the award-winning Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland;
- the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell;
- the Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France;
and Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK) the latest of several standalone books.

He has also had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland's most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy - The Blackhouse - was published in France as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux where it was hailed as "a masterpiece" by the French national newspaper L'Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world's largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Depths 11 Nov 2011
I was after an easy read and bought this book as it appeared at face value to be a fairly simple whodunnit murder mystery. Not a bit of it. It worked for me on many levels. There is the murder and it's investigation, which drives the plot forward, but it's the skeleton that everything else is attached to. The central character, Fin is telling his own historical story and the author relates the present day action. This works pretty well, ensuring you don't go wrong as the story dovetails between the two. I was bitten by the descriptions of the island, even going as far as peering at Google Earth to enhance my understanding. (Wish I'd known Crobost was fictional beforehand though.)

The telling of Fin's early life and loves brought to mind Thomas Hardy, both in the style of May's writing and how his relationships seem doomed to complicated failures, the fault of Fin's flawed character as much as the other characters. You wonder if there's autobiographical elements here. There is a sense of foreboding that builds as the book progresses through the setbacks of Fin's life that gives the ending an unexpected feel. I would also agree May builds a real sense of claustophobia, no mean feat in the open, practically tree-less island with stunning beaches and wild but picturesque landscapes. Sub-plots include the changing ways of island life over a 30 year period, Fin's job and the annual controversial guga cull.

So did I get my easy read? Not as I thought. The book was much more involved and demanding that I anticipated. But it so easily draws you in and carries you along. Ultimately much more rewarding than a simple murder mystery. I like to read in the bath and a good judge of a book for me is how much I read at a time there. Cold water and prune-like skin became a problem.

I certainly recommend this book and will look forward eagerly to the next two.
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253 of 259 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark secrets 9 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The novel is set on the remote island of Lewis far off the coast of northern Scotland. This is an area that the author will know well since he spent several years there producing and filming the Gaelic language TV series, Machair. This gives an authenticity to the very strong descriptions of this remote, rugged, weather-beaten corner of the British Isles. In particular, May's description of the annual guga (gannet) hunt is fascinating both in its detail and in the light it sheds on the island community's strong attachment to its ancient traditions.

DS Fin Macleod is sent back to Lewis to investigate a murder that resembles one that took place earlier in his Edinburgh patch. Returning home after 20 years away, Fin is thrown into remembering and re-assessing his difficult childhood and adolescence. The book alternates between the present day and Fin's past and it gradually emerges that the shadow of that past may be involved in the current investigation.

At first, I found the alternation between the present and the past irritating as it seemed to break the flow of the story. However, as the links between the two became clearer, the tension gradually mounted and came finally to an unexpected and dramatic climax. Along the way, May describes a community more inclined to deal with problems internally rather than involving the authorities, a place where the young people are beginning to challenge the traditions and strict religious observances of their elders and where dark secrets can sometimes come back to haunt.

Not a traditional whodunit crime novel, this is more an examination of the why of the mystery and is ultimately perhaps more satisfying for that.
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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark goings on, and some clever twists 26 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read several of the authors' previous works (from his two crime series The China Thrillers and the Enzo Files) so knew the kind of things to expect - or so I thought. But The Blackhouse is even better.

Peter May's great storytelling soon drags you in to a number of strands. On the face of it, The Blackhouse starts as a relatively simple murder mystery. But it soon becomes much more than that, a tale of rediscovery and childhood memories interspersed with some great descriptions of the harsh landscape and unique way of life of the islands. And the way the author handles the same character in the both present and the past is excellent. I don't usually like childhood growing up stories, but this one kept me gripped.

Typically, the plot is compelling. Right up until almost the last page, you are kept guessing - and wanting to know what will happen next. I read the book over 4 nights and on each the light didn't go out until after 1am. This book is very hard to put down!

Like the previous reviewer said, once it's over and the last page has been turned, you do keep on revisiting the story in your head. And wishing there was a bit more... because it's addictive. I've not actually been to the Outer Hebrides, but I certainly feel like I know the place now.

I understand there's likely to be a second book in the pipeline, so hopefully won't have to wait too long for my next fix.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Exciting Novel of The Year 17 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would have passed this book by but my daughter bought it and read it, she raved so much, I followed suit and read it. It was the most exciting novel I have read in ages, The plot and it's outcome was a page turner, it was book I didn't want to put down and the twist when it came, I did not forsee.

I had solved aspects of the story but not all of it and I love a book that can outwit me and The Blackhouse did. I loved it so much I could hardly wait for the follow up which was released recently and the tradition continues.

I would urge anyone to read this book, I cannot speak highly enough of the content. This is writing talent of the highest calibre. I loved it and as it's a trilogy there is more to come. A real whodunnit, with lots more besides. Peter May is an author I could come to perpetually praise, a gifted author who deserves acclaim. This book needs televising such is the mystery.

I dare you to solve it in it's entirety, that in itself is a challenge to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading
Beautifully written. A lot of tragedy. The crime plot a little disjointed because of recounting the past but did not spoil the book. I enjoyed the book.
Published 2 hours ago by Dj Keenan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best detective novels I have read
One of the best detective novels I have read. I couldn't wait to read the next one as soon as I had finished. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mrs. T. Ashton
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
great book. great author
Published 1 day ago by lin
5.0 out of 5 stars Highland crime
Recommended to me and I loved it.Fits into my ideal novel of being a crime to solve, moody setting and plenty of background stories. Will be reading plenty more of Mr May.
Published 3 days ago by J. Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars As dark as the cover
This book had a wonderful beginning and gave me hope that it would be just the sort of murder mystery I had been hoping for, coming off a long string of less than stellar reads. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Ionia Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Must read trilogy very gripping and I love his descriptive views of Hebrides so am paying a visit.
Published 4 days ago by Frances Warner
4.0 out of 5 stars arrived as promised
book not read yet but arrived as promised
Published 6 days ago by Tracy Douglas
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read
Drawn to this book as I know the area May is writing about. If you don't then it won't spoil your enjoyment of it though. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Katie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 days ago by Robert John Wallace
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Jumps about a lot
Published 13 days ago by joyce bremner
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