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Summary

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith. Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.

Something lurks within the close-knit island community.

Something sinister.

As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface and soon, he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

©2011 Quercus Publishing PLC (P)2011 Quercus Editions Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nils
  • Olstykke, Denmark
  • 07-05-13

So much more than just a crime story

The Blackhouse is my third book by Peter May, although chronologically I should probably have started with this one.

There are so many more layers to this book than just solving a crime - it goes deep into childhood infatuations, hidden secrets and forgotten/repressed memories of a young mind, of the thin varnish of respectability, of barely recognized motives, of revenge, and adds the harsh nature of the isles as a fitting backdrop.

Although I read the trilogy out of order, I was surprised and fully satisfied with the dramatic ending. Yes, I did shed tears at appropriate intervals.

The language never gets in the way (as it does happen in other books), and once again Peter Forbes' narration is impeccable.

I will most definitely look forward to any upcoming titles by Peter May. This one is a production I will happily return to.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent read, excellent narration

Although a short book, this book is the perfect introduction to the three Lewis books written by Peter May. The narration is first class throughout the series and in this book the characters are nicely put into place, as well as having some glimpses into life as it was in the Outer Hebridees and as it is today.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isobel
  • ISLE OF ARRAN, United Kingdom
  • 15-02-12

brilliant

again a great book good solid Scottish characters who anyone who lives on an island can relate to

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Frances
  • St Martin, Jersey
  • 11-04-13

Atmospheric

Some books are better in Audio than others and the medium works wonderfully well for The Blackhouse. The lilting Island tones of Peter Forbes' narration transported me to Orkney and had me completely hooked on this tale. I could almost hear the cries of the gannets wheeling over the rock.

It is the first of Peter May's series which I have listened to on Audible and I will be downloading the others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complex and moving

Thoroughly recommended. This clearly shows the author's grasp of human nature and the strange intensity and complexity of life in isolated rural communities. A good mystery too, I've read so many murder mysteries I usually solve them long before the end but not with this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love Peter May and Peter Forbes

Brilliantly read just like the other books in the Peter May collection. Peter Forbes brings the characters to life with the change of his voice. The story keeps you gripped, wanting to find the answers but keeps you guessing till the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Okay

I found it was a bit boring in the middle, and only really got into the book in the last few chapters.

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Incredible...

Having been brought up in the northwest coast of Scotland and being familiar with the isles, this is a hugely accurate and beautiful representation of the way of life of the people of the Hebrides.

This is a fast moving murder mystery, with twists and turns throughout which keeps the listener guessing until the end.

Incredibly well read, the actor has an impressive array of accents and grasp of the gaidhlig language.

Highly recommend this, can’t wait to download the next in the trilogy!!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Atmospheric

Enjoyable dark mystery with an unusual setting. Pretty solid start to a series. Probably will read another by this author.

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loved it!

amazing voice, thrilling atmosphere and unexpected plot twists, definitely going to listen more books of this author.

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  • dumbclub
  • 31-01-12

Unputdownable

I actually came across the word "unputdownable" while searching my thesaurus for a word to describe this audiobook. Peter May has created a believable cast of characters to take us through a bleak but memorable landscape that is plagued with the baggage of fractured relationships of every kind. Peter Forbes beautiful scottish gives the story authenticity and credibility as he reads it with a confidence that made me think he could have lived it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Janice
  • 15-04-12

You can feel the wind and the sea

Have you listened to any of Peter Forbes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Any additional comments?

I am giving 4 stars instead of 5 only because this was an abridged version, which I never would slelect if the unabridged was available. I wanted to start with the first book of this series so I got what I could. But this was a very compelling story in which the murder to be solved took back seat to the human drama played out through the main characters. Moving easily from present to past and back again to reveal the complex relationships of 3 childhood friends and a cast of supporting players, I was fully invested in the outcome, which was somewhat unexpected but completely believable. The narration added to the sense of authenticity, with the scottish brogue adding to the atmosphere heavy with rain, fog and memories. Fin Macleod is a protagonist whose past has been tragic, yet you can still sense life and optimism in him. I am moving immediately to the next in the series, The Lewis Man. It is unabridged, so I expect even better story and character development from that one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ch
  • 24-01-12

Great Storytelling

This author is a great storyteller and mystery writer. I could not stop listening! I thought the book reminded me a lot of the work of Tana French. Also the reader was terrific. Great accents and kept the story moving.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susie
  • 26-12-11

What a story!

What made the experience of listening to The Blackhouse the most enjoyable?

This writer paints pictures with his words. I felt as if I was on the Island of Lewis having this experience with Finn. The story twisted and turned giving me lots to think about.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of the characters were interesting, but, of course, it's Finn's story and he's a marvelous character.

Did Peter Forbes do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Peter Forbes did a fairly good job on all the various Scottish accents but it got in the way a bit (for an American listener). It seemed he was caught in making the accents work and didn't do much else to differentiate the voices.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book swept me up. I loved following Finn through his childhood, seeing what life on a small Gaelic island would have been like.

Any additional comments?

I strongly recommend this audio book and this author. It's a good

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martha
  • 18-12-11

Five Stars Plus

I purchased this book because I am hooked on Scottish detective/crime fiction. Having not previously read anything by Peter May (but I am a fan of Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin) I took the chance. I'm SO GLAD I did! What a terrific story! The main character goes back to his home town on the Isle of Lewis to solve a murder similar to one he worked in Edinburgh. Long story short, he ends up discovering unknown skeletons in his own closet; turning his life inside out. There is a personal element to this story that makes the ending truly powerful. "The Blackhouse" is much more than the typical detective novel. The author frequently switches back and forth between past and present, but this doesn't take away from the story at all, IMHO. It adds a lot to character development and helps to invest the reader/listener into the lives of the main characters.
The narrator, Peter Forbes, is another reason I purchased this book. He has a wonderful voice and can portray characters from all over the UK. His ability to change the pitch and tone of his voice quickly (along with his uncanny ability to mimic different dialects) really makes for an enjoyable listen. Mr. Forbes is one of my favorite readers and I will always seriously consider purchasing any audiobook he narrates.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anniebligh
  • 21-04-12

Pleasant Surprise

Rarely do I find an abridged story so well presented. Hoping for more I have downloaded the second in the 3 part series. Using the remote island communities as the scene for the story most certainly contributes to a sustained interest as the plot unfolds.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter MacLeod
  • 23-03-12

Brought me right back to Lewis and the MacLeods

Where does The Blackhouse rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The reading and the story are outstanding and authentic. The sense of growing danger and the need for Fin MacLeod to solve the crime against all of his inner hesitation is compelling. A great symphony of a tale.

What other book might you compare The Blackhouse to and why?

Far deeper than Lewis and more introspective than Frost.

What does Peter Forbes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Peter Forbes brings a sense of being among the island characters and their mutual need to stay on the island and get away.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened as I drove using my GPS system so it was happily part of my drive.

Any additional comments?

I have been to Lewis as a MacLeod and felt many of the sensations described in the book - the wind, the desolation, the cliffs, the waves, the weather, the religious control (we were asked not to drive on Sunday), the characters and those who wanted to hear about life in Canada, in fact life anywhere else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • K.
  • 10-03-18

Excellent series--listen to them all--IN ORDER!

I have now listened to all three books in the series (to include The Lewis Man and The Chessmen) and each are excellent. I think it helps to listen to them in order because the relationships grow with each book.

I didn't realize this was an abridged version. I would recommend listening to the entire book because it's that good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 20-02-13

A must read

A masterpiece will be a classic. This is the first story of the Lewis Man Trilogy. I will enjoy this many times over. The trilogy will be complete later in this Spring.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • S.
  • 01-11-12

Story & voice drew me in & kept me there

What did you love best about The Blackhouse?

The location of the book was what drew me in as I've visited some of the islands of the Hebrides. I loved reading about the island of Lewis and the culture there. The mystery was a great story on top of all that.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not the plot per se, but what I couldn't wait to get in the car and listen to was the weaving of murder and mystery with family, traditions, culture, and a coming of age tale.

What does Peter Forbes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

By providing the voices of the characters, not just their accents but the cadence of their speech, I could "see" the characters much better. I was amazed at the number of accents in which Mr. Forbes read.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The description of the islanders' taking of the guga was completely fascinating and horrifying in and of itself. It was made even more so when told through the eyes of the main character looking back on his first trip.