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.
Say something about yourself!
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!
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
There's a modern mystery in this, a police procedural concerning the murder of a Canadian. His wife becomes the main suspect, and the unhappy investigating officer senses a strange familiarity about her.
This ties in with the second story (and my favorite). Our investigator Sime has a Scottish ancestor whose journals form some of the book's chapters. Although the Irish potato famine is more familiar to most of us, it was also devastating to the Gaels in Northern Scotland and became an excuse to starve or drive out tenant farmers there as well. Our 19th century hero is one of these, and his heartrending story of strife in Scotland, a forced emigration to Canada, and his attempt to resettle and rebuild a life there is riveting.
What is not so successful are the increasingly improbable coincidences that connect these stories and their characters.
I loved the historical aspect of this book - the journals are well-written, beautiful and affecting, but the author's contrivance in tying the two stories together leads (at least for this listener) to an unacceptable degree of sentimentality and ultimate disbelief.
Can't say I'm sorry I used a credit for this, but I think it might have been better to form two books from the material.
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.
Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.
"Yet another great read from Peter May- and a request for Audible to complete Peter May collections"
Think this is my favorite to date. Peter Forbes does an excellent job with narration. Now if we can just get Audible and Peter May's publisher to make audiobooks of the early books in all of his series, we can all enjoy his complete works!
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
I have been a consistent, possibly obsessed audiobook listener since 2003. My listening ranges from suspenseful mysteries to science and technology, but I return again and again to the unexpected depth and breadth of books which fall into the "Mysteries and Thrillers" category.
Even as I enjoy so many books in the "mystery" genre, I do eventually crave books that are spectacularly written. Peter May is my current delight. It is partly his love of the bleak landscapes he gives us and his interwoven, interlocking generations, which he so successfully evokes that make his best books ( and this is one) so rich and substantial.
Great plot. Satisfying ending. I loved staying with the Outer Hebrides after reading the Lewis Trilogy!
I enjoy international mysteries, appreciate great fiction with strong characters and the occasional inspirational or humorous book.
Great storyline with drama and intrigue; the development of the plot comes together powerfully with the main character and his quest to understand his past.
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!!
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