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Publisher's Summary

From acclaimed author and dramatist Peter May comes the Barry award-winning The Blackhouse, the first book in the Lewis Trilogy - a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.  

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.  

As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped - and nearly destroyed - his life.

©2013 Peter May (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A gripping plot, pitch-perfect characterization, and an appropriately bleak setting drive this outstanding series debut." (Connie Fletcher, Booklist, starred review)

"A thriller with an intensity that never slackens, chilling and igneous at the same time, like the great country that serves as its setting. A masterpiece indeed." (L'Humanite)

"Abundant local color... matches Macleod's tormented emotional landscape. The struggles of such multidimensional characters... add depth." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about The Blackhouse

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Miscategorized

I have no clue why this book was listed as a "police procedural", or even as a murder mystery for that matter. The mystery was almost an afterthought (and completely predictable).

That said, the character studies, the scene setting, and story of Fin's life were actually interesting and the writing is top notch. May's writing style is very engaging. I might even read the rest of the series...albeit I won't hold my breath for a mystery.

For those, like me, who prefer not to read about animal killings, be prepared to skip the bird hunt. It was grim.

The narrator was wonderful.

52 people found this helpful

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A wonderful surprise!

I don't remember selecting this book. I probably picked it up on sale. So glad I did. What a gem.

I know this is categorized as "Modern Detective", but I'd say it would be more aptly described as a great fiction with some detecting thrown in. Even though it's not the most uplifting story, I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in life on the Scottish Isle. I found that I could easily visualize characters and landscape based on the author's descriptions.

As for the narration, couldn't be better. I'd definitely listen to Peter Forbes again, he's terrific!

7 people found this helpful

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Great story but troubling

Story ends well but a lot of sadness and man's inhumanity to man and emotional pain.

6 people found this helpful

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A tale of awakening and facing one’s deepest fears.

This was a wonderfully descriptive story of human emotion, death, and reawakening against the bleak backdrop of a remote island. Just as the island of Lewis is cut off from the rest of the world by its geography, Finn McCloud is removed from his memories and emotions until a catharsis occurs. The characters take life through the narrative and one becomes completely caught up in their inner dialogues.

5 people found this helpful

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Fabulous narration that pulls you in

I like an audiobook with great narrators that can really capture the characters and their accents. I found myself repeating the odd words or phrases (in a horrible impersonation)because it was just fun. The story itself was pretty good. The setting and scenes were described in a way that is easily envisioned, even if you know absolutely nothing about the area or people. The story is a bit of a murder mystery except with more focus on the backstory of the main character, Fin. I liked getting to know him but, I felt it always took away from what you think is the main part of the story is, the actual crime. Apparently, the main part is Fin, himself. I assume this because it is the first of a 3 part series. Everything is wrapped up nicely in end when even more discoveries about Fin’s past are exposed. It was an entertaining audiobook and should be a good read, if you go in with little expectations on delving into a true murder mystery/crime oriented story. I do think it serves just fine as a stand-alone novel. There is no need to continue the series unless you have completely fallen in love with the characters and want to know more about them.

3 people found this helpful

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Solid writing and performance.

BUilds up to an overdramatic cliff top ending which seemed out of scale. May does such great work with character and scene and then pushes it too much

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

This book was even better than I’d hoped. Excellent narration. I felt as if I were there. The descriptive writing didn’t bog down the story line but enhanced the listening experience.

3 people found this helpful

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What a bloody miserable tale!

The story is as bleak and lonely as the island it is set on. The reading’s repetitive tone and meter is guaranteed to put you to sleep. Every sentence has the same rhythm and the paragraphs roll from one into the next without any change in tempo.
The murder is almost secondary to the resurrection of a sad childhood and a mixed-up adolescence of a policeman who doesn’t really want to be a policeman and who has been sent to the island without any real power to investigate anything.
The weather is always cold, gray and raining ... it seems that the islanders’ lives mirror their weather and their landscape... I keep waiting for the sun to break through but so far it hasn’t happened. Maybe something happy will happen in one of the next two books in the trilogy.

9 people found this helpful

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Great Read

I loved the twists and turns in this book. I was on the edge of my seat to the end. I will read more of Peter May soon!

2 people found this helpful

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challenging mystery

more delightful to hear because of the sonorous Scottish accents. A mystery with many emotion laden twists and turns, weather and Scottish lore told beautifully.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Maryb
  • 03-22-19

Excellent Listen

I enjoyed this book very much. very believable characters and a good plot. great narration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Dable
  • 02-25-19

Good narrator

Good believable story line, interesting setting and good narrator. Easy to follow, but not predictable.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Charlotte
  • 06-16-18

Unusual and brilliant.

Took a bit of getting into re narration and also plot but a gently intense story. You really are allowed to get to know characters and their stories. Very unusual location described really well Plot is slow and steady. Not boring tho. Good ending. Look forward to downloading next Fyn Macleod book!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew P.
  • 02-24-21

I found this rather dull

My wife and I gave up listening to this half-way through. The characters were far too thin and the story takes too long to develop. I’m not adverse to a slow building story, but for me it has to reward the listener/reader with something else whilst it develops. Such as intrigue, of which there was none in this story, or character development, again, something lacking from this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miss Claire L Macleod
  • 09-07-20

Great listen

Great story, gripping, brilliantly narrated and I loved the location. Listened for over 8 hours today. Definitely recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • ms
  • 09-08-19

Loved it

Fast moving story written in a now and then format. Narrator was excellent. I am about to start book two in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-22

Don’t miss this fantastic mystery You won’t regret it

One of the best books l have ever read. Peter May has supplanted my other favourite authors but the experience was heightened by the superb reading
Full marks

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  • Wayjor
  • 05-19-21

Amazing!

I have to agree with a previous reviewer and say the crime elements of this story become all but irrelevant in the context of this wonderfully written book. If you are looking for another specific police procedural, as I was, this is not the book for you, but I’d encourage anyone to stick with it. I became entranced almost immediately, with the story, the style of writing and the unwaveringly excellent narration. I can’t believe or describe my immersion in this book. One of the reasons I use audiobooks is to help me drift off to sleep, but this one caused late nights, as I didn’t want to stop discovering more. I wonder if the next book will follow the same pattern or dwell more on the police aspects. In the hands of this writer and this narrator I’m sure I’ll be in for a treat, regardless. I can’t actually imagine how this book will be followed up, however I have my fingers crossed and can’t wait to find out.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-05-21

Five stars

Great narration and book really enjoyed thank you. Will definitely listen to more with the same narrator.

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  • Diane
  • 03-23-21

More twists and turns than a tightened spring!

Loved this! My first Peter May novel...I shall be reading more. It kept me gripped and wondering to the end. The melodic tones of the narrator and the evocative descriptions took me to islands I have never visited- though now can't wait to do so. A fab read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-25-20

another good story

This was another enjoyable book by this author plenty in the storyline. Narration excellent which made the story easy to listen to.

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  • Daniel
  • 07-07-20

it was OK

A 10hr back story for a one hour murder mystery, good narration though. Can't listen to the other 2 books though.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-27-20

Gripping read

Great story with excellent narration. A real twist at the end. Interesting characters & enjoyed the detailed description of a rugged part of Scotland

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-17-19

A wonderful, haunting, story

Beautifully narrated, a story that is at once crime thriller and love story. Loved it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-19

Gripping read

This is a cracking read, and wraps itself around you with the divine Scottish, but understandable, accent of Peter Forbes. Both my husband and I listened avidly, finding many places to drive too, and manual things to do, while we listened to the end. Not slow and ponderous at any point.
The hero seemed a bit dim in places, but makes sense at end...
Mostly wraps up all the small clues laid for you throughout, but one glaring omission - who the hell killed the poor unloved guy in Edinburgh!?!? :)