Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times raved: "Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth." Now Peter May takes us to a small island off the coast of Québec with an emotionally charged new mystery.
When a murder rocks the isolated community of Entry Island, insomniac homicide detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at St. Hubert airfield bound for the small, scattered chain of Madeline Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as part of an eight-officer investigation team from Montréal.
Only two kilometers wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of just more than 100 inhabitants, the wealthiest of whom has just been discovered murdered in his home. Covered in her husband's blood, the dead man's melancholy wife spins a tale for the police about a masked intruder armed with a knife.
The investigation appears to be little more than a formality - the evidence points to a crime of passion, implicating the wife. But Sime is electrified by the widow during his interview, convinced that he has met her before, even though this is clearly impossible.
Haunted by this strange certainty, Sime's insomnia is punctuated by vivid, hallucinatory dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away, dreams in which he and the widow play leading roles. Sime's conviction soon becomes an obsession. And despite mounting evidence of the woman's guilt, he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professional duty he must fulfill and the personal destiny he is increasingly sure awaits him.
©2015 Peter May (P)2016 Hachette Audio
"Fans of May's Lewis trilogy (The Chessmen, etc.) will welcome this solid standalone, which likewise involves crime on an isolated island.... Mackenzie's dreams of 19th century Scottish crofters (farmers) and their doomed struggle with powerful landowners, a conflict known as the Highland Clearances, which directly affected his ancestors and perhaps Kirsty's too, provide a powerful counterpoint to the present-day story line." (Publishers Weekly)
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Peter May writes really good stories with a strong sense of time, place and character. Entry Island continues that tradition but not as consistently as his outstanding Lewis Trilogy.
Dual story lines examine a current time murder mystery and the immigration story a century earlier of the ancestors of present day characters. The historical story line is by far the more engaging, perhaps because of May’s obvious connection with the Hebredian locale. Here the story could be better described as historical fiction, but it didn’t bother me because May was able to make me care about the fate of the characters while painting a vivid backdrop of Scottish class politics that drove the mass emigrations.
The murder mystery was not as well developed, with inept and unbelievable police investigations and too many red herrings. As a police procedural it left too much to chance for credibility and the lead detective’s relationship problems made the story lose focus multiple times.
That said, I still found this book highly engaging and hard to put down. The reading by Peter Forbes was excellent because of his ability to use accents and voice inflections to give individual identities to a wide range of characters. The strength of place and character of the ancestral story more than made up for the mystery weaknesses and I can give it a solid 4 star recommendation, unless what you really want is an intense mystery/thriller.
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This is the fourth Peter May book that I have read, and it may be my favorite, although all have been wonderful.. The history, the characters, the settings...all were amazing. I found no difficulty, as other reviewers have, keeping up with the change from present to past. The narrator is great, all of the accents seeming flawless. I found that I had to keep going to Google Earth to look up Entry Island and Lewis Island and dream about the places where the story took place. Don't miss this one!
While a compelling listen, the dual story line gets tedious as the historic, remote story is more romance than mystery. The audio is saved by Forbes who does three separate accents and helps the listener keep track of the respective stories.
I will certainly look for other books narrated by Forbes.
The historical background of the enclosures in Scotland and settling of 19C Canada are very well done and I learned quite a bit. The descriptions of the Hebrides and the Magdelaine Islands made me put those places on my travel list as places I might like to visit.
Two deeply engrossing stories run interwoven until they collide in this extremely interesting novel. Three mysteries are presented by Peter May. 1) who killed the rich husband, 2) what happened to two Scottish sweethearts 160 yrs ago and 3) how do these stories help solve the murder. All aspects of this mystery/saga are
enjoyable and some very gripping. The mystery is challenging and the story of the forebears unforgettable. Five star rating all the way. Mike
Just couldn't pull myself away from this fast paced saga. Peter May is so gifted at carrying us to little known places, tightly interwoven tribal cultures and practices we no longer know.
Loved the time travel from 1800s Hebrides to modern day Entry Island culture. How are these people connected in some murky tragic way? Deepy layered, nothing wasted.
Peter Forbes was the huge draw in this audio experience. I'm mesmerized by his wide range of accents, brogues, gender vocals. Forbes pours life into each character...in the correct time period somehow. His Gaelic is musical. I was enchanted by his vocals and sense of compassion he brings to each person. He made them real for me. He is remarkable at this.
I was deeply moved at the extreme deprivations in olden Hebrides. No shoes in the winter, working barefoot in freezing ocean shores. The ruinous poverty inducing illiteracy that relentlessly barred young love and hope. The abyss between classes so gaping it can't even be explained.
Now a forever May & Forbes fan!!
The novel switches between a bleak island in Canada, where a man has been murdered, in the present, to a period in the mid-1800s that takes place in the Hebrides and, later, in Canada. The modern-day mystery is full of holes. All the police, including the hero, come out as total idiots. The narrator, who has a nice enough voice when simply relating events and when rendering the nineteenth-century Scottish dialogues, really loses it on modern-day Canadian speech, inventing a pinched, nasal accent that is hard on the ears and, I imagine, insulting to any Canadian. And there is a lot of such dialogue. I was on the point of returning the "book" on that basis alone, but didn't have time to find something else. It DID get me through eleven or so hours (not, obviously, in one go) on the treadmill.
This is one of those books that kept my interest every step of the way. The story was quite absorbing. I like a story that gives me a surprise and this one did.
I am so grateful to have found this author. What a remarkably talented storyteller. He takes you on a beautiful journey and the narrator plays in your mind bringing it all to life weaving the plots and characters in the dance.I am now on this third book. I love this author.
I am as tired of Gaelic romance as I am River dancing. In the right hands this might make a good time romance movie but not a very good listen. The entire first half was pure romantic wish list for both oppressed class history and boy girl fatal love. Well , her husband was murdered but that seems to be a sideline story.
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