I really should resurrect Eagleton Notes properly because last night I finished Peter May's book The Blackhouse. I can think of no book I have read for many years that kept me so riveted to it: particularly towards the end when I couldn't put the light out until I'd finished it. It's complex (though not really complicated) and, in parts, implausible (are not most novels?) but the characters and places are so real it's uncanny. Having lived the majority of my years on Lewis makes it all the more poignant and I can see many of the characters in people I know or am acquainted with. Contrary to at least one reviewer I do not think it is insulting in any way to the people of what has long been my home. Every place has it's characters both good and bad and Lewis is no different. Some of the less central characters who are there for the embellishment of the story though not from Ness are immediately recognisable (sometimes as an amalgamation of real people).
The descriptions of the Island and the places (I'm fortunate enough through my work, for example, to have been all over the Lews Castle before it was declared dangerous and closed to the public) are wonderfully evocative of the place and reading the book here in New Zealand I was transported back to Lewis: almost like being beamed there à la Star Trek.
Oh yes, the story. Police officer, unpleasant senior police officer, friendly and loyal police officer colleague, murder, deaths and so much more (some of which would sow ideas which could give the stories - this is not one story - away). Frankly you don't need to have a synopsis: it seems to me in many ways that the murder is just a way of having a setting on which to hang (sorry) the characters who are really what I think the novel is all about.
I would stick my neck out and say that I think that anyone I know who reads this book will enjoy it at one level or another.
I bought it on Kindle (as I will now do the others in the trilogy) but when I return to Lewis I will have to have the real copies as well.