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Coffin Road

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  7,483 ratings  ·  882 reviews
The master of crime brings murder back to the Outer Hebrides.

A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and unc
Paperback, 303 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Hachette Australia
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Ian Allan It is confusing. There is never any explanation of why our guy would have the birth certificate of this man, Maclean. And it seems odd to me that that…moreIt is confusing. There is never any explanation of why our guy would have the birth certificate of this man, Maclean. And it seems odd to me that that he also died at the same time and has the same family makeup -- a high-school aged daughter. The daughter apparently looks enough like our hero's daughter to spark him to remember her name and to be able to pick her out of the three girls, thinking she's his daughter. When I read the book, I believed that the girl who was put off by him was Karen. A weak spot of the book, in my opinion.(less)
Mary Smith He went to the MacLean house, not his own as he has no idea he is not MacLean. There is a girl there, a teenage girl. He has just remembered his…moreHe went to the MacLean house, not his own as he has no idea he is not MacLean. There is a girl there, a teenage girl. He has just remembered his daughter's name is Karen; but he doesn't really recognize the girl he sees as Karen. He assumes. But the girl is not Karen. She is MacLean's daughter whose name is never revealed in the book. I'm pretty sure.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,483 ratings  ·  882 reviews

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Andrew Smith
Late one night, after a few drinks, a friend told me about some books he’d read. He’d admitted that he didn’t often read fiction but that during a period of recovery form an operation he’d been gifted the first in a mini-series of three and had subsequently devoured the whole set. It got my attention and I asked him the name of the author. By the next morning I’d not only forgotten the writers name but the whole conversation was lost to me too. However, some months later, whilst browsing my loca ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is rather disconcerting (and somewhat uncomfortable I imagine) to wake up lying drenched on a beach only to discover that you have no idea who you are or where you are. As you stagger along it is both comforting and fortunate that an elderly lady recognises you as being Mr Maclean, and walks you to the home that you don't know you have. But who is this fortyish looking stranger in the mirror? Is he really Neil Maclean, a writer?

A host of questions confront the protagonist, from the initial: "
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is probably the best book I have read so far this year and really I shouldn't be surprised as I have never been disappointed by Peter May's story telling.
I find him an excellent writer who is very descriptive and paints a picture for the reader without boring them.
A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, with no memory of how he got there or who he is. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. His neighbours know him as Nea
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
One thing I can always count on when I open a Peter May book is a really good read and Coffin Road was no exception. It is set in the wild, bleak Hebrides, a place where it seems almost anything unusual could happen - and it did.

The story was involved but always intriguing, I enjoyed the characters very much and there was a bit of a twist at the end which I was not expecting. One star lost though for bombarding me with 'scientific' information. If I wanted to know that much detail about bees I w
Susan Johnson
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I could read Peter May just to enjoy his descriptions of the various islands in Scotland. I can feel the wind whipping around my face and see the beauty of the countryside. I feel like I am actually with the characters as they live their lives on the unique, stunning islands they call home.

Still, I read May for more than that. He can write some rip roaring mysteries. A man washes on a beach with no idea how he got there. He is freezing cold, disoriented and scared. He stumbles his way
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man washes up on a beach with no recall of who he is, where he is, but others know him. So begins Coffin Road, another excellent offering from Peter May. As in the other books I've read from May, the descriptions of the natural world and the power of nature are wonderfully expressed and often beautiful. On the second page of the book, the beauty of the land and fragility of man are front and center.

Behind me the sea retreats, shallow, a deep greenish-
blue, across yet more acres of sand toward

When the man staggered out of the waves on a deserted beach, he had no idea where he was. He was barely alive – his life jacket had definitely saved his life; but as he thought more about the circumstances (of which he could remember nothing) he also realised with horror that he didn’t know WHO he was either. In pain, shivering terribly, he staggered up the beach not knowing where to go; when he was hailed by a woman who called him by name, then escorted to a cottage he assumed must be his,
4 stars
I was introduced to Peter May by a Goodreads friend (thanks Gary) and am really enjoying his books. This book is his most recent and I looked forward to reading it whenever I had to put it down.

Peter May knows the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland and provides some beautiful descriptions of the land and the weather - neither of which is very hospitable on any given day. The book begins with a man washed up on the shore of the Isle of Harris. He does not know his name, or what hap
William Koon
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
When I took up with crime fiction, I assumed some of the same good things would be at play as in “serious” fiction. I frequently find it is not. Take Coffin Road by Peter May. He uses one of the saddest tropes in fiction or drama: “I have to know.” In this case it’s Neal –or is it? He was washed up on shore in the Hebrides and has no memory. He must find out who he is, for he soon discovers a dead body. Is he the killer?

By about 100 pages one doesn’t care who he is or what he is. You also have
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This thriller starts with a man washed up on a beach. As he struggles along the adjacent road, he is recognized by a resident as James McLean and the older woman with her dog walks him to his cottage. McLean doesn't remember who he is or what happened to him. He is greeted by his dog, Bran, is only companion. Later other neighbors drop by and he is able to piece together a bit more. Searching his cottage yields few clues to his identity, and he keeps his amnesia a secret.

Two other protagonists i
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own

My View:
Peter May starts this book with a hook that is triple barbed and efficient! You will take a deep breath and walk with the protagonist as he staggers barely alive, soaking wet life jacket still on, up the beach. Shipwrecked? Swept overboard? Dumped at sea? Even he (Neal) doesn’t know – he has amnesia. What a great way to engage the reader – what could be more unreliable than a narrator who has no memory of who he is or how he ended up washed up on a beach – all he has is a deep
Cat Woods
Feb 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is one of the most abysmally poorly written books I've come across in a long time. I always knew the plot would be far fetched and I've read and watched enough crime fiction and drama to accept things that are hugely unlikely in the name of entertainment, but...
a man wakes up on a beach not remembering anything about himself and within hours has discovered wow, he is very attractive with a fabulous house and loyal dog. He also finds himself having sex with an amazingly beautiful woman - dur
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“The light at Luskentyre is stunning. The wind is brisk but soft. The land has soaked up everything thrown at it last night by the storm. It has, it seems, an endless capacity to do so. The sky presents itself in torn strips of blue interspersed by teased-out cotton wool, and the sun reflects in countless shades of turquoise across an outgoing tide that leaves silver sands shining”

Coffin Road is the eighth stand-alone novel by British author, Peter May. A man wakes, washed up on a beach on the i
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, mystery
One man is dead. A second man is presumed dead. A third man is alive but has no memory and no record of his true identity. Two of these men have bee stings. A teenaged girl wants to know more about her father and embarks, alone, on a perilous journey for answers. A non-profit director rages and threatens. A detective sergeant keeps an open mind and takes copious notes. And all the while, a squatter watches through binoculars.

Another suspenseful tale from Peter May, although not quite as enjoyabl
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dual review with Swedish first and then English!


Peter May är alldeles fantastisk författare och trots att denna bok inte riktigt griper mig som t.ex. Isle of Lewis series gjorde så Coffin Road en bra bok, mycket tack vare att May har en sådan bra förmåga att skriva så målande så det känns som man sugs in i bokens handling. Så varför bara 3 stjärnor om boken nu är bra? Jo, jag kände aldrig den där känslan av att sträckläsa boken som jag har haft tidigare när jag läst vissa av Mays
Thomas Strömquist
My first book by the author and a nice acquaintance it is. Two things bug me about this otherwise very readable mystery. One is the 'memory loss' plot tool. I feel at all times like this was introduced as a means to get the story working and fill out the pages more than being anywhere near plausible. Which brings me to number two; the story herein is really a 'paint by numbers' when it comes to thriller writing. It's competent, but never new or surprising.

The good parts were the writing, which i
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review to add
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siccome non ho un passato, sono senza presente. E senza presente non ho futuro.

Chi è Neal? Come mai non ricorda nulla del suo passato da quando si è riavuto su una spiaggia sulla quale la burrasca lo ha scaraventato? Cosa è successo prima? Chi sono le persone che mostrano di conoscerlo tanto bene?

In questa storia i misteri e le domande, a cui non seguono risposte adeguate, si susseguono incessantemente, creando una bella atmosfera fatta di suspense, rivelazioni e colpi di scena a più livelli.

I first fell in love with the wild and wooly Outer Hebrides of Scotland in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy, three outstanding novels that captured the beauty of that isolated wildness. I also have the companion book by May and photographer David Wilson that is a testament to just how on target the written descriptions from the Lewis Trilogy are. Now, Peter May returns to the setting of the Hebridean archipelago in his latest book, a standalone, Coffin Road. This time, it is the Isle of Harris that is ...more
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable read from Peter May. Whilst not my favourite of his works, it was still great.

I’ve pretty much worked through all of Peter May’s work now. I just need to finish the China thrillers and then I’m up to date. Reading his Lewis trilogy first ensured I would read more of his work, and whilst nothing has quite lived up to the first Lewis book, I’ve still had fun with everything he’s written. Some has been more enjoyable than others, yet all have ensured he remains on my list of favou
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
All about mood and suppositions for 250 pages. This is my last from this author. Everything is nearly an unknown for 2/3rds of the book and then the smartest people act stupidly. There is almost no joy in anything or anyone which belongs in the straightforward honest category. And the worst is that all of the dour combines with the endless physical descriptions to make the entire feeling one more of morose affect than anything of tension to "know". I didn't ever feel embedded. The last May I rea ...more
Rachel Hall
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I suspect much of my disappointment from reading my first Peter May novel was that I had expected more from a writer with an immense back catalogue and such a venerable reputation. Coffin Road is the authors latest standalone mystery, an eco-thriller, set in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Harris. Whilst I wouldn't necessarily have selected an eco-thriller as my first choice of reading matter, as an avid crime fiction reader any relatively plausible plot can catch my imagination and take a fir ...more
Helena (Renchi King)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: znanje
Knjiga me prilično zabavila.Ideja potpuno zaboravljenog identiteta vrlo mi je uzbudljiva i žalim što ta "izgubljenost" glavnog lika nije potrajala duže.Ovako je već nakon par ulomaka uletjela pomoć čitatelju. To malo kvari doživljaj,no,za zabavu - preporučljivo.
Mira Margitta
Odličan triler,sviđa mi se mjesto radnje (Škotska).Preporuka.
Richard Derus
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

Far and away the best book of Peter May's that I've read. An exciting and involving read. More later. Or earlier, I suppose, depending on which end of the telescope you're looking through.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back to the islands...

A man is washed ashore, exhausted and with no idea of how he got there, or indeed where 'there' is. He has lost his memory, but is filled with a sense of dread as if something terrible has happened. As he staggers up the road, he is met by a neighbour who calls him by his name – Neal Maclean – and helps him to the cottage that is apparently his home. But when Neal begins to look for indications of who he is and what he's doing in this remote cottage on a Hebridean island, h
Mariafrancesca di natura viperesca sta con  Orlando
Intervallo tra un troppo serio e l'altro

Ha avuto voglia Peter May a imparruccare di nero Neal David Mclean (o chiunque si celi sotto la fittizia identità dello smemorato): ma è lui, Harrison Ford, a prestargli corpo atletico, movenze e tic per tutta la spy story sulle Ebridi. Così sai, fin dall’inizio, che comunque si mettano le cose il finale non può essere che un happy and, perché Harrison è Harrison.

Ecco, io non amo le spy story ma questa si fa godere per due motivi: l’essere ambientata in q
Piccolo Diavolo
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Radnja romana u Škotskoj! Prva stvar koje me privukla a druga je naravno žanr. Triler. I mogu reć da je Cesta lijesova jedan jako dobar triler. Definitivno novo ime za mene iako Peter May ima već nekoliko romana i uz pisanje krimića se bavi i pisanjem scenarija. Ti svestrani Škoti ;) Roman me malo podsjetia na Posljednju noć u Tremor Beachu, vjerojatno zbog lokacije (kućica uz plažu u zabiti, ovaj put u Škotskoj a ne Irskoj) i glavnog lika koji je tu zbog pisanja romana (glazbenik u potrazi za i ...more
Tanja Berg
Mar 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Peter May is what I consider an unreliable author. I've loved some of his works, hated some of it, but found most of it okay. The setting of remote Scottish island was enticing enough for me to get my hands on this latest installment quickly. Now that I'm done, I'm not sure what to think.

I had expected three plotlines. The mystery of the lighthouse keepers that disappeared 100 years ago, the plotline of the man without a memory and of Karen, who refuses to accept that her father has committed su
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Read Scotland 2018: Catherine's reads 18 10 Mar 05, 2018 09:18AM  
  • Cold Earth (Shetland Island, #7)
  • Ash Island (The Belltree Trilogy, #2)
  • Under the Cold Bright Lights
  • The Malice of Waves
  • Strange Loyalties (Jack Laidlaw, #3)
  • Without You
  • The Blood Card (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #3)
  • Blackwattle Creek (Charlie Berlin, #2)
  • Shadows of Sounds (Lorimer #3)
  • Fetch
  • Le Dernier Lapon
  • In the Cold Dark Ground (Logan McRae, #10)
  • Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)
  • Following Papa's Song
  • A Small Death in the Great Glen
  • Salt Lane
  • In the Morning I'll be Gone (Sean Duffy #3)
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“firmly by the shoulders. Jon says, ‘How the hell did you ever get keys for this place?’ I chuckle, though there is really nothing to laugh about. It is the irony, I suppose. ‘The first summer I was here, I landed one day to find that the Lighthouse Board had sent in decorators to paint the place. Everything was opened up. The guys were okay with me taking a look around and we got chatting. The forecast was good, and they expected to be here for a few days. So I spun them the story about writing a book and said I would probably be back tomorrow. And I was. Only this time with a pack of Blu-tack. When they were having their lunch, I took the keys from the inner and outer doors and made impressions. Dead simple. Had keys cut, and access to the place whenever I wanted thereafter.’ The final panel falls away in my hands, and I reach in to retrieve a black plastic bag. I hand it up to Jon, and he peels back the plastic to look inside. As I stand up, I lift one of the wooden panels. I know that this is the one chance I will get, while he is distracted, and I swing the panel at his head as hard as I can. The force with which it hits him sends a judder back up my arms to my shoulders, and I actually hear it snap. He falls to his knees, dropping the hard drive, and his gun skids away across the floor. Sally is so startled, she barely has time to move before I punch her hard in the face. I feel teeth breaking beneath the force of my knuckles, behind lips I once kissed with tenderness and lust. Blood bubbles at her mouth. I grab Karen by the arm and hustle her fast down the corridor, kicking open the door and dragging her out into the night. The storm hits us with a force that assails all the senses. The wind is deafening, driving stinging rain horizontally into our faces. The cold wraps icy fingers around us, instantly numbing. Beyond the protection of the walls, it is worse, and I find it nearly impossible to keep my feet as I pull my daughter off into the dark. Only the relentless turning of the lamp in the light room above us provides any illumination. We turn right, and I know that almost immediately the island drops away into a chasm that must be two or three hundred feet deep. I can hear the ocean rushing into it. Snarling, snapping at the rocks below and sending an amplified roar almost straight up into the air. I guide Karen away from it, half-dragging her, until we reach a small cluster of rocks and I push her flat into the ground behind them. I tear away the tape that binds her wrists, then roll her on to her back to peel away the strip of it over her mouth. She gasps, almost choking, and I feel her body next to mine, racked by sobs, as she” 0 likes
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