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87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The blood is strong."
In the tiny community of Entry Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence, a man has been brutally murdered. The local police don't have the expertise to investigate such a serious crime, so the Quebec Sūreté send a team to the island. Unusually for this French-speaking province, the islanders are English-speaking, so his Scottish descent means that Detective Sime Mackenzie...
Published 8 months ago by FictionFan

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Not His Best
Peter May is one of my favourite authors. He remains so. After the most excellent Lewis trilogy I was so excited to learn this was a new outing and the novel is good but it just lacks what the Lewis trilogy had. i didn't get into it the way I did with the others, these were books I could not put down. I found I was eager to know where it was going but not enraptured...
Published 8 months ago by Jan Erlam


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87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The blood is strong.", 5 Dec 2013
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
In the tiny community of Entry Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence, a man has been brutally murdered. The local police don't have the expertise to investigate such a serious crime, so the Quebec Sūreté send a team to the island. Unusually for this French-speaking province, the islanders are English-speaking, so his Scottish descent means that Detective Sime Mackenzie is included in the team to carry out interviews. But when Sime (pronounced Sheem) meets Kirsty Cowell, the wife of the victim and the chief suspect, he is struck with an unshakeable feeling that he knows her...although they have never met.

Peter May has been a long-term favourite of mine. As scriptwriter and producer, he was involved in some of the best television produced in Scotland during the '80s and '90s, before returning to his original sphere as a novelist. He has produced three main series of novels since then - his China thrillers, the Enzo Files set in France and most recently the Lewis Trilogy. Always with a steady following, he rocketed into the limelight when the Richard and Judy Bookclub picked The Blackhouse, the first of the Lewis books. (An overnight success story that only took half a lifetime to achieve!)

May's books are always meticulously researched with a very strong sense of place. But since he started writing about Lewis this strength has taken on an extra layer - it feels as if he is really now writing with his heart as well as his head. He spent a good deal of time on Lewis while producing a Gaelic-language drama serial, Machair, and he seems to have absorbed the landscape and the community of this remote and weather-beaten island until it has become an integral part of him. As a result, the Lewis Trilogy stood head and shoulders above his previous work, adding a feeling of emotional connection that had perhaps been absent in the previous series. I have been saying for the last few years that the trilogy was his best work. Until now...

Like the Lewis Trilogy, Entry Island has a double time-line - the present day investigation set in Canada, and a historical storyline set on Lewis. Sime, struggling with severe insomnia after the break-up of his marriage, begins to have vivid dreams about stories he was told as a child, of the life of his ancestor, also called Sime, on Lewis - dreams that seem to be connected in some way with his feelings of recognition for Kirsty. Through the original Sime's stories, we are given an account of the hand-to-mouth existence of the crofters, fishing and farming their tiny plots of land with barely enough to sustain their families. We see the very different life lived by the landlords - English-speakers in these Gaelic communities. And Sime tells us about the Highland Clearances - the barbarous and brutal dispossession of crofters already weakened by the potato famine to make way for more profitable sheep-farming. There is a feeling of biting anger in May's writing as he allows Sime to describe the inhumanity of this scar on British history - a history that led to the destruction of communities and a whole way of life, and to the involuntary exile of thousands of Highland Scots to the North American colonies, sent with nothing, to fend as best they could in the New World, if they survived the horrors of the voyage.

As the book progresses, we discover why these childhood memories have been awakened for the present-day Sime and gradually the links between the two time-lines become clearer. The present-day story provides some contrast and relief from the bleakness of the past, and for me present-day Sime is the most filled-out and believable character May has written. The quality of the descriptive writing is first-class and, though some passages are present tense, most of the book is written in the past tense. The plotting of the murder and investigation is well done and it wasn't till near the end that I began to get an inkling of the solution - a solution that I found satisfying on every level.

In my opinion, this is the best book May has ever written and one of the best crime novels I have read - with an authenticity and depth of emotion that reduced this sentimental lowland Scot to tears on more than one occasion. Hard for me to be completely objective about it, but I believe it will be just as effective for non-Scots, who are perhaps not familiar with this small part of history, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it gets reviewed elsewhere. Highly recommended.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fine novel - a murder at it's core, but more gripping mysteries beneath the surface, 28 Dec 2013
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A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entry Island (Hardcover)
For Entry Island, Peter May crosses the Atlantic from his native Scotland to Canada where he links a classic murder mystery with an account of the Scottish Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th century.

The story takes place in two locations. In the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence a murder has taken place - a wealthy businessman has been knifed to death, the only witness being his wife who is also covered in blood and soon becomes the prime suspect. Two hundred years earlier we read of the forced clearances in the Scottish Outer Hebridean islands and the impact on one man in particular who flees to the Magdalen Islands, initiating a series of events which hold the key to the current murder.

The two stories run alongside each other and readers can see the gradual converging of events without realising quite how they are going to come together. The denouement when it comes is as satisfying as you might expect and left me full of admiration for Peter May's skills as a writer with great skills in managing such a complex, multi-threaded plot.

As is often the case in books like this we have a highly dysfunctional detective in the person of Sime Mackenzie. Sime has had a series of difficult relationships and has recently suffered a broken marriage. He works in Montreal as an investigator and is surprised when he is called to his Captain's office one day to be told that he is to join a team to investigate and apparently open and shut murder case on Īle d'Entrée, an island in a small archipelago 850 miles away. Much to Sime's dismay, the Captain tells him that the crime scene investigator is his ex-wife Marie-Ange, with whom he now has a very painful relationship.

Sime flies off with the investigation team and within 24 hours he finds himself interviewing the victim's wife and main suspect, Kirsty Cowell. She blames the murder on an unknown intruder who broke into the house, attacking her husband and turning on her before fleeing into the garden. Although the police see Kirsty as the main suspect, the evidence is all circumstantial. Sime feels that while the evidence stacks up against Kirsty, there is something missing in the case against her. He also finds himself getting emotionally involved with the case as it sparks off resonances in his own personal history, with strange co-incidences and some vivid dreams.

Meanwhile back in Scotland, 200 years earlier, we read of another Simon, son of a crofter and another Kirsty, daughter of a wealthy land-owner who is appalled at what her family are doing to the poor villagers. Although these Scottish sections at first seem to intrude into the flow of the Canadian story, they are an essential lead-up to the convergence of two histories which resolve the murder mystery in a wholly unexpected way.

What lifts this book above being just another police-procedural is the quality of Peter May's writing, in particular, his ability to evoke a vivid impression of life on the Magdalen Islands (and in the 18th century Outer Hebrides too).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning setting, 16 Jan 2014
This review is from: Entry Island (Hardcover)
Stunning Canadian Murder Mystery

Peter May has used and interesting use of Scottish history of the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century on modern day murder in Canada. The blend of the historic and the modern at first seem unrelated but as the story builds one is able to see the story coming full circle and that an historic promise of forebears is finally delivered by an investigating detective to the wife of the victim. Who committed the murder? Well you will have to read the book to find that out yourself and there is a wonderful twist that I had not seen coming when the reveal happens.

Detective Sime McKenzie is an English speaking detective in the Montreal Police department and one of those who is completely bilingual, he also happens to be an insomniac. It is not until his captain sends him with a French speaking homicide team to investigate a murder on Entry Island the only English speaking island amongst an archipelago of French speaking islands that the two competing stories really do start to merge together.

For some unknown reason he feels drawn to the murder victims wife Kirsty who he is sure he knows or at least has seen somewhere before. The homicide team really do want to get away from the islands as quickly as they possibly can and it really is through the tenacity of Sime that the murder is solved and the historical and present stories entwine into one.

This for a murder mystery book is actually an enchanting read and I never thought I would say that about any crime novel but it is and it is a great read at the same time.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
I have read Peter May's Lewis Trilogy, as well as the China Thriller series - I was not disappointed with Entry Island - loved it! Again island life and scenery - as in the Lewis Trilogy - has been written so beautifully, and so descriptive, I just want to see these places first hand, just to smell the sea air and feel the wind. The story line in Entry Island kept me gripped from beginning to end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and fascinating, 6 Jan 2014
This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
Peter May's Entry Island is a fascinating and complex tale of murder and flawed characters. The pace is slow and languid at times, reflecting the life on Entry Island, which tricks you into a false sense of security as far as the Island is concerned. For there is a dark side to the Islanders that everyone prefers to ignore.
As Sime's obsession grows, so does the tension, as he flies in the face of authority, becoming ever more desperate to clear Kirsty's name.
This novel is beautifully written with two intertwined stories, which are equally compelling and fascinating, not always something authors can pull off. Peter May transports you to Entry Island where you become totally immersed in his world, hoping against hope that Sime can solve the mystery.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Not His Best, 30 Dec 2013
This review is from: Entry Island (Hardcover)
Peter May is one of my favourite authors. He remains so. After the most excellent Lewis trilogy I was so excited to learn this was a new outing and the novel is good but it just lacks what the Lewis trilogy had. i didn't get into it the way I did with the others, these were books I could not put down. I found I was eager to know where it was going but not enraptured enough to be eager to get back into it. I was disappointed but that is because I just love everything {Peter May does. The Enzo files and The Chinese Thrillers were also brilliant, Entry Island alas is not my favourite but that does not mean I would not recommend it. Peter May is one of the best authors around, I will continue to read him.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
ENTRY ISLAND by Peter May
Long awaited for and did not fail to deliver. Could not put down. Two stories entwined brilliantly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter May never disappoints, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
There were moments when this book made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. But, as always with this brilliant writer, I was pleased that I overcame those feelings, after all, what has been done has been done, and the sad story from the past is used to bring to life another absorbing modern mystery. Could this be the best yet from Peter May?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning read, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
I started on the Lewis trilogy and loved them. This may be even better. I normally read at least 3 books a week so delighted to find such a great author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing book, 14 April 2014
This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
I have read the outstanding Lewis trilogy prior to reading Entry Island. Peter did not disappoint with the delivery of this novel. The way the story moved between the present and historical events in two different countries and brought the whole story together at the very end was exceptionally written without causing confusion.
Once again I was totally absorbed in the writing and found it hard to put the book down. I highly recommend this book to all readers.
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Entry Island by Peter May
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