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Jack Harrison

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Quite a different formula.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-12-19

I won't say this is a bad one, compared to Peter May's Hebrides books - just markedly different.
We all knew this would be the case so, enough said.

I would still recommend him as an excellent story teller - and if he ever see's this, I hope he can find some more of that familiar formula, to write just one or two new ones, in the Hebrides style; albeit with a couple of new characters to replace those lost from the stories.
Jack.

Another Peter May Great.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-19

It was nice again to see George Gunn in this one.

I think Peter May has an excellent formula as long as he stays with The Hebrides either somewhere in the story, or front and center as they say. Though it didn't spoil anything for me, starting in Paris, to introduce the story, and other characters.

Nor did it spoil anything by having the two narrators. I think one complimented the other - THIS time.

As I probably said before in other Reviews, I have only been to the Inner Hebrides myself (Skye, Mull and Iona), but through Peter May's novels and his fantastic Photographic book (which I recommend to anyone), it is easy to immerse oneself into this wonderful landscape, and the people of Lewis and the other Outer Hebrides.

Well done Peter May, you did it again.

Just a word of caution to readers/fans of the Hebrides books.
If like me, you have been bewitched by these novels (and the environment), you will be tempted to move on to his other works in other locations. Because of that, the other books WILL veer from his usual formula. Therefore they will be different, but not necessarily- not as good.

Jack.

My Introduction to the Lewis Trilogy.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

This was in fact the book that caught my interest in the work of Peter May, and his wonderful, deeply haunting locations for these stories.

Would I recommend it as a must read or special gift towards Christmas? ABSOLUTELY!

Although it is third in the Lewis Trilogy, I personally, lost nothing in enjoyment by doing this.
(But I'm the sort who can sneak a peek at the middle or end and also lose nothing).

For those already familiar with May's long list of worthy characters, Whistler jumps out especially for me. As suggested I think in the book, it's possible to imagine himself as one of the 'Berserker' (Rook) chess pieces; gnawing at his shield. haha.

The book is at times- funny, horrific, mostly very engaging; but also - deeply sad; but NEVER EVER boring.
It will take your heart and tear and throttle it, before raising it to loud 'audible'? laughter.

Just choose it, click, and shut the Winter outside and listen.Perhaps with something warming in a glass.

Jack D. Harrison.

Another great for Peter May.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

A mostly new set of characters but among the familiar setting of the Outer Hebrides.
I would recommend this with pleasure for a number of reasons, for the story or characters as a whole; or for the surroundings.

I had not seen or heard of Meter May's work until this year, but it seems appropriate to include a poem I composed during 2017.
without spoiling the story (I hope) I don't think the Author would mind if I link this to chapter 16 and beyond.

REQUIEM FOR THE HONEY BEE.
Oh, furry bee where did you go?
you came this way three months ago.
The sun was warm, the weather dry;
you buzzed "hello", as you flew by.

As I was there among the Brambles;
full of pollen you did amble.
Then off to store your daily treasure;
filling your hive up to full measure

Oh Honey Bee, come back to me;
amongst my Brambles you're safe you'll see.
Your armed with stinger, that is true;
but yet, I love the look of you.

When sat with dog, we're ne'er alone;
kept company by your melodious drone.
The sounds of Summer now complete;
with your deep song, the birds compete.

The Blackberries form, so black and round;
as through the bloom your wings resound.
We share the space among spider and grub;
I watch enthralled as you rub and rub.

But as Summer Moons both wax and wane;
I wonder will you be back again.
I see you struggle until you fall;
the saddest thing to see of all.

Your Season of life so short;
there's little more for me to report.
With one last urge you, try for flight;
but t'ween lawn and path, you lose the light.

Sounds of my boyhood, you have been;
though a little scared, I've sat and seen.
Your lovely fur of black and yellow;
makes any heavy heart, ease and mellow.

And now alas we see and hear;
news of Honey Bee extinction, drawing near.
I could not bear to hear, or see;
A requiem for the Honey Bee.
BY JACK D. HARRISON.
06-11-2017.


What a great story.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

I would always recommend this story, because it is laced through with elements of true life.

I would also recommend a section of @Sea-shaken Houses, A lighthouse history' by Tom Nancollas.

Not because of any direct links between the two, but the Section on 'Haulbowline Lighthouse' at the entrance of Carlingford Lough. (on the border of Northern Ireland and the South. This played its own role during the years of The N.I. Troubles; and is of course close to center of Bandit Country. It was sometimes raided by Royal Marines at the time, looking for arms etc.

Jack.

Just buy it.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

Where do I start, except to simply say "just buy it today".

Buy the book and tell me you didn't enjoy the story, the Author's insights and introduction to his style - and the wonderful scenery and Heritage of the locations visited and discovered during his Odyssey from Scotland over the borderlands.
And over to the mystical and mythical island of Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), and the nearby Farne Islands..

Buy the book and tell me honestly, that you don't want to walk in Alistair Moffat's own steps, and experience some part of his thoughts and impressions. Imagine the author with friends as boys spending that night on the beach; how he kept watch, with the sweep of the Lighthouse, of Longstone.

Buy the audio book and tell me you don't think to the lament of the monks in the dull light of History and remember-
"...Save us - from the wrath of the Norsemen".

Jack.

Simply the best of the Lewis Trilogy.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

As my headline suggests. this is simply the best of all three of Peter May's Trilogy
It is usually best to read a Trilogy or other series in the order of publication, though not always, and not in my own case.

But this book 'The Black-house', does introduce the main characters who become old friends or familiar over the series.

But this very special Author has not only introduced what I think are his best books/stories, (along with his own style), he also introduces to us, the magical lands of the Outer Hebrides and the traditions of its people.I have only been on the Inner Hebrides myself, but this trilogy has bewitched me, not just as a Poet/Author myself, but also as a dabbler in Art/Painting.

I also bought his photographic book 'Hebrides'; which not only helps to imagine and follow the stories through the images - his book is full of inspiration for painting. And I listen to his stories whilst trying to capture some of the scenery of Lewis, Harris and the other islands.

Just try his first book and I defy anyone not to want more and more. I never tire of listening to them.
Peter May is a very special Author for Scotland and Literature in general.

Jack.

A great story, written and performed.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-19

This was the second audio book I bought on this subject and was not disappointed.

I would certainly recommend it to provide a glimpse into the events of those times and locations.
And I can honestly say, there there were no sections that I thought to be bored or hard to follow; though if I HAD to choose, between this and 'Bandit Country SAS Operation', by Peter Corrigan; than the latter has to win by a head..

They are both sufficiently different, to want buy both.

Jack.

A Tale of Two Keepers.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-09-19

This (like the incident at 'Eilean Mor' lighthouse in the Flannan Islands), is an interesting and very tragic true story set 25 miles of the Welsh Coast It forced Trinity House to change it's policy on the number of Keepers at each location to three; and for reasons which are obvious throughout the story.

It shows the fact that Keepers need to be compatible with the lifestyle, and with their colleagues, when shut away within the confines of a lighthouse, especially during storms; when it is just not safe to leave the relative safety of the Tower.
One only has to see a few photos and videos of waves climbing the walls of the Rock or Sea-Washed lighthouses [as at The Smalls, or Wolf Rock, or Bishop Rock], to understand how the two Keepers in this story would be forced to get on with each other. But it was made even more difficult, because the two men had 'previous history' with each other.

I would recommend this production, as well as the DVD covering the same story.
Jack.

Short Cut Story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-09-19

I think there are two explanations for the sudden [unnatural] ending to this story.

1. There has been a massive bloomer, in which a more appropriate ending was accidentally left out. Typo errors can be missed within a paperback, which can happen when an author has looking at a large manuscript for months on end.
As an author myself, I know professional Editing services can be unreasonably expensive, but this is different.

OR-
2. The Author is having a good laugh, at the idea of readers wondering what happened at the end.
In this case, the Author may have given us the opportunity of forming our own ideas to an appropriate end.

I would like to think it's the latter reason, but I fear it's the former. I just wish there was a way of telling us eventually.

Otherwise I found it to be an brilliant angle to a tragic and true incident; every bit as interesting as the incident on'The Smalls' Lighthouse (1801)? It was good, how the two time periods were meshed together, without getting lost in the process.

I went through in one session through last night, as it kept me interested from start to [unusual] end. And I would certainly recommend it, albeit with that point above.

Jack.