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The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy #1)

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4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  15,244 Ratings  ·  1,877 Reviews
When a brutal murder on the Isle of Lewis bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. But since he himself was raised on Lewis, the investigation also represents a journey home and into his past.
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published 2009)
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Stephen Gray I have just finished reading this trilogy. I really loved everything about it. The story-lines, the characters, the style of writing but most of all…moreI have just finished reading this trilogy. I really loved everything about it. The story-lines, the characters, the style of writing but most of all the wonderful feel for the Hebridean Islands and Lewis in particular. You can almost taste, feel and smell these islands - it has made me want to visit again, soon! I have rarely read such amazing writing in a crime fiction book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Magdalena
There is something alluring (at least for me) with crime novels placed on islands, especially those far up in the north, with bad weather and people that have known each other for generations. I mean it wouldn't be the same if it would be set on a Caribbean paradise, for instance, who would ever want to leave in the first place. Too idyllic, I prefer more these dark and rugged places with old secrets.

Fin Macleod (From the clan Macleod…sorry I'm a child of the 80s and I love the Highlander) retur
...more
Andrew Smith
Apr 20, 2016 Andrew Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having recently read and enjoyed Peter May’s stand-alone book Entry Island, I was urged by several of my Goodreads friends to seek out his Lewis Trilogy. I also recalled that a former colleague of mine – someone who hardly ever picked up a book of any description – had read this mini-series and pronounced it the ‘best thing I’ve ever read’. Ok, it might have been the only thing he ever read, but all signs seemed to be pointing in the same direction.

So I launched myself into this book with high h
...more
Michael
Fin is an Edinburgh detective who returns to the Lewis Island community of his origins in the Outer Hebrides because of the similar MO of a new murder to one he is working on. A man is found hung with his bowels sliced open. It turns out that the victim was the chief bully and nemesis from his childhood. His search for suspects among his many enemies forces him to deal with many painful memories from his youth, including his own failures with his first love who is now married to his former best ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3* of five, but just barely

The Publisher Says: From acclaimed author and television dramatist Peter May comes the first book in the Lewis Trilogy--a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, a formidable and forbidding world where tradition rules and people adhere to ancient ways of life. When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that has the hallmarks of a killing he's investigating on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin
...more
Janet
Jun 24, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it
If you like mysteries set in remote locations in the United Kingdom, brooding weather, a tortured detective, a hostile boss, family secrets and some gritty forensic scenes, then, like me, you'll love this book.

The remote location is the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Hebrides and the weather is obligingly nasty. Fin Macleod was born and raised on the island, but left as soon as he could and has returned only once in eighteen years, for a family funeral. But now he's been assigned to work a murder
...more
Stuart Goodwin
Apr 11, 2012 Stuart Goodwin rated it really liked it
Having finished a rather weighty feminist tome I felt the need for something lighter, pacier and so turned to the Black House. I discovered this book in a Charity Shop in Lichfield and bought it mainly because of the location, the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. You see, I have worked as a Mountain Guide for Walkabout Scotland on and off since 2006, walking, or working on, many of the Isles including Skye, Mull and Iona. Lewis I have not been to so the book was meant to plug the gap. Howeve ...more
Christine
Dec 05, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
I am slightly late (ahem!) in discovering The Lewis Trilogy, to my shame. This is the first book in the series following Fin Macleod, set in the north of Scotland. It is a murder mystery, as much as it is a human interest story. Fin’s past is as absorbing, as the hunt for the killer.

Fin Macleod goes back to the Isle of Lewis, when a murder there bears a striking similarity to his current case in Edinburgh. Fin is forced to confront the many people he left behind and to face memories. We follow t
...more
Harry
Book Review

Categorized as mystery novel, Peter May’s The Blackhouse (#1 in The Lewis Trilogy) could just as easily fall within a coming-of-age mystery novel, or fall within what I call the “ethno-mystery” genre. Take Krueger’s Ordinary Grace, a brilliant stand-alone novel about a story of the murder of a beautiful young woman in 1961 Minnesota. The seed that drives the entire novel is this crime but Kreuger, a master craftsman of the novel, invites us to scrutinize the consequences of being unju
...more
Anna
With its ‘evil lies within’ tag on the cover and ‘the hunter becomes the hunted’ in the blurb, this book sounded right up my street, and I loved the beginning of it. The creepy remote Scottish island setting, early gruesome murder and gorily detailed post mortem reminded me of the excellent Written in Bone by Simon Beckett, and I was excited to have found another great mystery/thriller author.

Sadly though, he peaked at this point. The rest of the book fizzled out into a nothingness with far too
...more
Carolyn
Apr 28, 2016 Carolyn rated it it was amazing

Fin McLeod, a detective in Edinburgh has been sent to the Hebridean island of Lewis to investigate a brutal murder that resembles one he has been investigating in Edinburgh. Fin himself was raised on Lewis and has many memories he hasn't revisited since he left to go to University. However, when he discovers that the murdered man is an old schoolyard foe, he is drawn back into his old world as he investigates past friends and faces up to old events.

Peter May has an excellent ability to draw fine
...more
Liz
Jan 22, 2017 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I’ve read by Peter May and I’m looking forward to the next. May writes with a dramatic flair, probably left over from his fifteen years of writing scripts for television. Much of this book reads like a TV drama and, somewhat surprisingly, it really works.

Be warned that The Blackhouse is not fully a crime drama or police procedural like I, for one, was expecting. That disappointed me a little initially but I found that the story of Fin’s past on the island was worth sacrif
...more
Marita
The Blackhouse is not so much a police procedural as it is a revisiting of DI Fin Macleod's past when he is sent to the Isle of Lewis by the powers that be to establish whether a murder committed on that island is linked to another previous one in Edinburgh.

A blackhouse as per Wikipedia.

Emotionally Fin is not in a good place when he sets off to tackle this task (I leave the circumstances for you to read), and now he has to face a place and people he has long since left behind. Fin has to come to
...more
Stephanie
Mar 22, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery, thriller
The One Sentence Summary: An Edinburgh detective is called to investigate a murder in his childhood home on the Isle of Lewis and in doing so, has to confront his past.

The Meat and Potatoes: Detective Fin Macleod hasn’t been back to the Isle of Lewis, where he was raised, in years. But when the mutilated body of a murder victim is found there, bearing the same post-mortem injuries as a case he’s investigating in Edinburgh, he’s sent back to investigate any possible connections. The Lewis victim
...more
Sue
Jul 03, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it
Detective Fin Macleod is coming off a difficult time in his personal life when he is told by his boss that he must travel back to a place he has avoided for years, the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, the island of his birth and where he grew up. He is being sent to assess whether a local murder may, in fact, be related to one that has been committed in Edinburgh where he has been on the force for some 16 years. They both bear marked similarities.

The Blackhouse is a mystery/police procedural but i
...more
Lexie
Oct 23, 2015 Lexie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all can I just say how extremely relieved I am! I had to read this book for school, to me it seemed like the most interesting and bearable on the reading list, it's definitely not something I'd casually pick up randomly, but this turned out to be very good. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I was so worried I was going to find it horrible and had made a terrible decision, but I actually liked it! I am so very happy. This was definitely a worthwhile read.

The Blackhouse was an imm
...more
Larraine
Jun 13, 2013 Larraine rated it it was amazing
I hadn't read Peter May before. Now I know I'll read everything that he's written. This is the first in a project trilogy featuring Scottish detective Fin MacLeod. Fin is a police detective in Edinburgh who has been investigating a series of grisly murders. When a similar murder turns up in remote Lewis Island, in the Outer Hebrides, Fin is sent. The local detective isn't particularly happy to have an outside coming in. However, Fin is even more unhappy because he was born and raised on this isl ...more
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Josh
Oct 22, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing
Bleak but effective. Tightly written Scottish noir.
Mark
Sep 18, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the mystery historical based tales
Recommended to Mark by: Magdalena, friend on GR
There is a strong pull for me by mysteries that take place on Islands look at Ann Cleeves Quartet (although the next two have not yet been obtained by me, making it a sextet).

Anyhow a policeman in Glasgow investigating a murder, recovering from a devastating loss and a dying marriage gets send to the Northern Isles to solve a similar murder he has been investigating. The island he gets send to is his place of birth. While we discover the the island through the experience of the main character Fi
...more
Stephen
Apr 28, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this "murder with a difference" novel.
The crime itself became secondary to the description of island life and the clever switching between the detective's childhood on the island and the present day. All brought together very cleverly in the end with a very satisfactory ending that I hadn't predicted. Will definitely read the rest of this trilogy and in fact already have the second book. Recommended and almost a 5 star read for me.
Richard
Dec 31, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it
A thoughtful murder mystery where the actual crime plays a secondary role to a wonderful novel about growing up on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. This is the first of three books and it marvelously sets the scene in this Gaelic world. Detective Fin Macleod is obliged to return to his childhood home to investigate a brutal killing that bears close similarities to a murder he is already investigating.
The ensuing investigation also serves as a re-opening of all Fin's past he hoped he had escaped, ign
...more
Ellie
May 07, 2016 Ellie rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting (and it's not that short of a book!).

Fin MacLeod is a police officer reeling from the death of his 8-year-old son. He's been away from work for a month when he is called back to investigate the murder of a man in his childhood village-a town in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The story is gripping. Not so much the present-day murder investigation but the back story, Fin's agonized childhood and adolescence and the location, this almost magical town in the middle o
...more
Bruno

Quando o meu olhar incidiu numa frase impressa num autocolante vermelho colado na capa que dizia "o melhor thriller do ano!", fui impulsionado para aquirir logo este livro, sem saber o que iria encontrar.

Fui surpreendido com a limpidez da escrita e com o desenrolar do enredo todo. É muito mais do que thriller. Leva-nos ao âmago mais profundo da ilha de Lewis e do própio detetive Fin Macleod.

E o final cortou-me o fôlego!

Há muito tempo que não lia um livro tão bem escrito que me desse tanto praz
...more
Greenelander
Jul 13, 2011 Greenelander rated it it was ok
Shelves: black, tartan
Different from the usual crime novel in its careful attention to character. I liked how the natural environment of Lewis in itself becomes a character by virtue of some excellent descriptive writing. In the end though, it all became a bit much of a muchness: the pace slowed to a stodgy crawl as May padded it out to as close to 400 pages as possible---can you hear the marketers' whips cracking?---and I was skipping vast chunks just to get it over with. Never a good sign.
Cphe
Haven't read this author before and didn't know quite where to start but I did like the synopsis offered for this novel. This is a mystery/police procedural set on the bleak Isle of Lewis. The highlights of this novel were the rugged descriptions of the bleak landscape and the sea. Also appreciated the descriptions of the hardy people who made up the tight knit community. Enjoyed the characterisation and liked the delivery and style of this novel. However the mystery component fell a bit flat in ...more
Fiona
Oct 23, 2012 Fiona rated it really liked it
This took me two days to read, which is faster than I've read a book in a good few months, and I am conflicted. A small part of my brain is spitting feathers and going, "Boo, the ending! Boo!", but a substantially larger part of my brain is very aware that for a very long time I've wanted to go to Lewis, and this book has reminded me exactly why.

There are times when you should forget everything you've been told, ignore the blurb entirely and go right ahead and judge a book by its cover. This is
...more
Siobhan
Oct 11, 2014 Siobhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I first read this I wasn’t the biggest crime reader in the world, in fact I was just starting to get into the genre. Despite only dabbling in and out at that point in time, this book quickly jumped into my favourite crime reads. Even now, having read a vast number of crime books, this one sits in my list of favourite crime books. As soon as I was finished reading this one I was down to my local Waterstones to buy the next two books, desperate to know what more was to come.

It’s a gripping cr
...more
Jeanette
This Peter May is difficult for me to review. There are aspects of the isle of Lewis and the prime residents centered in this novel that grate on me, so my enjoyment level doesn't particularly parse with the more general reaction to the book.

If you are looking for a sober and morose conceptual environment with closed in community of secrets and resentments, then this is the mystery for you. The plot is decent and the writing top heavy with location and minutia description for the environments a
...more
Jo
Nov 27, 2011 Jo rated it did not like it
Utter tripe. What 6 yr old boy has a crush on a little girl? What 6 yr old girl FLIRTS with the boys in her class (ffs)? It is INCOMPREHENSIBLE that the boy and the girl wouldn't have known each other before school, living on that island. And the shock revelation is both vile and cheap, and badly written. Totally obviously written by a soap opera writer. There are good polis procedurals out there, this isn't one; nor is it an examination of returning to island life or facing demons or whatever i ...more
Breia
Mar 06, 2017 Breia rated it liked it
Good but drawn out but with a really interesting story and characters. I kind of want to read the next one but not like "OMG, I have to read it right this minute or my head will implode".
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Blackhouse (The Lewis Trilogy #1) by Peter May 3 22 Aug 06, 2015 08:29AM  
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Kindle English My...: The Blackhouse by Peter May - December 2013 Group Read 29 39 Jan 15, 2014 01:11AM  
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“But the one thing Fin had learned from his years in the police was that however much you believed you had them figured out, people invariably surprised you.” 10 likes
“Knew, too, that it wasn’t just Mona he wanted to run away from. It was everything. Back to a place where life had once seemed simple. A return to childhood, back to the womb. How easy it was now to ignore the fact that he had spent most of his adult life avoiding just that. Easy to forget that as a teenager nothing had seemed more important to him than leaving.” 4 likes
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