An unidentified corpse is recovered from a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. News of the discovery soon reaches Fin Macleod. However, since swapping his life in Edinburgh for a quiet existence on Lewis, such mysteries are no longer a concern for the former Detective Inspector. Or so he thought. The sequel to the Blackhouse which was selected for the WH Smith Richard and Judy Bookclub, and the second book in the Lewis triology.
©2012 Quercus Publishing PLC (P)2012 Quercus Publishing PLC
Reader, Listener, Optimist
As I listened to Peter Forbes in his wonderfully accented Scottish, describing the diverse and desolate landscape of these islands, I came upon an idea to "see" the countryside more fully. l used the Street View feature in Google Maps to "drive" around the Outer Hebrides as I listened.
By following the author's detailed descriptions of prominent physical features in the story, I easily found landmarks, settlements, and roadways. This gave me a much deeper appreciation of the setting while adding great credibility to Peter May's illustration of these places he obviously knows well.
As for the story itself, I came to admire May's device of occasionally inserting chapters written in the first person voice of the elderly Tormod Macdonald, who gives us insight into the frustration of what it must be like to live with dementia.
For valuable background of this second piece of the Lewis trilogy, I recommend listening to The Blackhouse before enjoying The Lewis Man. The third part, The Chase Men, is due out in 2013.
Thank you to an Audible listener whose review prompted me to listen to this wonderful book. This is my first Peter May book and I am hooked. The story is moving and works on so many levels. It is elegantly written - stitched together seamlessly like the unique patterns of the almost lost knitting arts described in the book. The characters grew on me slowly and inevitably. Like many of my favourite writers, Mr. May made it possible to feel the wind, smell the sea, and watch the play of light across the landscape. Bravo! I highly recommend this book.
On another note, I highly value the recommendations of other readers. Thank you so much for your reviews.
I have listened to most of Peter May's books published by Audible and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I rated his first book in this trilogy Blackhouse 5 stars and assumed wrongly that he couldn't get better. He did. So The Lewis Man deserves 6 out of 5. What a fantastic story! What strong characters! What incredible story telling by Peter Forbes. I am totally enthralled by the main character 'Fin' not to mention Marsaili, his childhood sweetheart and Donald Murray, Fin's wild childhood friend who turned preacher. And especially Tormod MacDonald, Marsaili's father, who is in the later stages of dementia. Most of the narrative about Tormod is written in the first person, an uncanny, insightful and tragic perspective from an older person whose memory is being robbed from him daily.
I agree fully with a quote from Bookgeeks "The Blackhouse was an extremely good book; The Lewis Man is a superb book".
One final note - it helps to have a map of the Outer Hebrides at your side as you listen to the novel, which by the way is one of the advantages of audiobooks.
The third book in this trilogy is due in the Fall of this year. I can't wait. Truly a "must listen"; well worth the money.
Well read, authentic accent, particularly the voice of the old and dementing man who is central to this story.
A great sequel to Peter May's other Hebridean story.
The story of the children on the Dean Bridge is especially compelling.
Stayed awake all night.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Continuing the story of the people of Lewis but shifting back a generation, Peter May has created another spellbinding tale filled with atmosphere, memories, regrets and new chances. Fin works to find answers to the questions surrounding a body long buried in the bog, tied to Marsali's father, Tormod. As Fin investigates his own way, we learn the story through the hazy memories of Tormod, revealed through his first person recollections. Amazingly, the author is able to weave the facinating story of Tormod's youth and simultaneously convey the sad frustration of living with dementia. I felt complete empathy with Tormod on both levels.
Moving between the past and present, there is the tension of knowing through Tormod's narrative what has happened, while knowing Fin to be tantalizingly close, but still several steps behind. It is a race to bring the nearly parallel lines to convergence in time to prevent past events from creating new tragedies in the present. Very well written and perfectly narrated, this is very highly recommended.
This is Peter May's second novel in his Lewis trilogy -- and certainly is a strong sequel to 'The BlackHouse'. This one is quite complex in the telling, with Tormod's account in first person cleverly interweaving with the third person investigation by Fin McCloud. Intriguing from the start to the final minutes!
If Peter May's words could be turned into a painting, he would be considered a modern day master. And, Peter Forbes' compelling narration has convinced me that this book needs to be heard as long as Mr. Forbes is narrating it.
I could see the sky, feel the rain and the wind crashing on the shore and smell the peat. I wanted to reach out to comfort Talmod MacDonald who endured such hardships in his youth, only to relive those times in his confused state of dementia at the end of his life. The main character Fin, comes across as sensitive and strong. Mr. May and Mr. Forbes portray each character in the book to perfection.
The Blackhouse was excellent and as soon as I had read it, I promptly downloaded The Lewis Man and was delighted that it is unabridged. Like other reviewers, I agree with their assessment. While The Blackhouse is great, The Lewis Man is superb. I am looking forward to Book #3. Thank you Peter May and Peter Forbes for sharing your incredible talents.
I enjoyed the story and the narrator did a good job. It took a while to get into the plot with the insertions from an old man's memory but it all worked out in the end
Not having read the print version, I don't know. However, Peter May creates such an extraordinary and complete dream in the reader's mind, I am sure it would be excellent.
I could pick several which would constitute spoilers, but the one where the main character, Finn, is punched by the village reverend is a great one.
Peter Forbes disappears, and Scotland is completely unveiled. His narration is SO good, I barely noticed him. I just heard and saw the places and people. That's the highest compliment I can render to a reader, and I'm hard to please.
I just felt it was very very good, and it has stayed with me the way a good book does.
Like the title of my review, please get all of Peter May's Scottish stories and please get Peter Forbes to narrate more!
books and music
I've been a fan of Peter May's Enzo series, but never listened to one. I was delighted to see a new series and downloaded Lewis Man because the first in the series was abridged (why??).
This is a fantastic listen. The reader has a Scottish brogue, just enough to fit the characters, and his reading is seamless and clever. The mystery itself sounds like a conventional body in the bog, but it is anything but. Sad stories abound, but the characters are more than the troubled pasts they reveal. And the descriptions of the Hebrides makes me think that despite the rain and fog, it's my next vacation destination!
Can't recommend highly enough!
"Atmospheric sequel to The Blackhouse"
Although this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, you'll get more from it if you listen to the first part of this trilogy of books largely set in the Outer Hebrides. Many of the characters from the first novel re-appear in the Lewis Man in which their lives are moved forward in time. As with The Blackhouse, though ostensibly a detective novel, that aspect of the narrative is just the back-drop to life stories that switch between the 1950s and the present day. There's lots of atmospheric writing about the scenery and weather (!). Along the way we learn more of how life on the islands has changed and social attitudes altered.
Peter Forbes is an excellent narrator who really brought the characters alive for me.
Peter May continues to conjure up the atmosphere of the beautiful Outer Hebrides in this excellent sequel to The Blackhouse. It is a crime novel with a difference and so much more. His portrayal of the character with dementia is sympathetically and realistically drawn. There are parts which are highly emotionally charged. It is extremely cleverly written and the narration is first class. Also I was so happy about the ending. Please listen to The Blackhouse first to get the most out of this book. Can't wait for The Chess Men.
"Past Catching up with a sting in the tail"
Another powerful story with Finn using his Detecting skills once again set on the Island of Lewis.
Characters from his previous novel appear once more but even gentle souls have a past. The writing is superb and switches us back from the past to present with ease and also a shudder or three.
Another great read with bucket loads of atmosphere of the islands. hope we shall hear more from Finn soon.
"Can a murder mystery be beautifully written?"
Beautifully written isn't usually a term I'd except to use when describing a murder mystery. This book so knowingly descibes the land and lives in the Hebrides, tenderly gives an insight into dementia whilst simulateously builds to the tension expected of it's kind. I listened to the first half on my 300 mile south and the second half on my 300 miles north again the next day. The journey melted away. What a beautifully written murder mystery!
A big swirling tale, beautifully grounded in it's location. There is a startling history here as well as a fine story. A word for the narrator too - Peter Forbes reads this story perfectly. He gets the voices of the characters just right.
"almost feels like you are in the islands"
Great book thoroughly enjoyed could almost smell the sea air, Finn was a central character and I look forward to reading more
"First class writing, first class storytelling."
I have just finished listening to 'The Lewis Man'. After listening to 'The Black House' a few months ago I knew that I was in for another absorbing listen and I was not disappointed; in fact the author surpassed even my high expectations. Peter May can not only tell a cracking good story, he also has the gift of a truly beautiful literary style, combined with an insight into human nature that renders each character completely believable. His vivid descriptive passages of the islands and their ever-changing weather patterns were able to transport me instantly and effortlessly from wherever I happened to be listening at the time: a warm and sunny garden, crowded tube train or my comfy bed. This is a wonderfully crafted story - intelligent, thrilling, poignant and life-affirming. Peter Forbes' narration is exemplary, doing great justice to all May's well-drawn characters. This is worth far more than the maximum 5 stars allowed for a review. Thank you, Mr May and thank you to Audible for bringing such quality writing to our ears.
Having read the Black house by Peter May I was expecting a well written, beautifully descriptive style and I was not disappointed. The narration by Peter Forbes is outstanding and I would urge you to listen to this if only for the contrast between the soft lilting island accents and the harsher mainland Scots. The descriptions and perceptions of a man in the throes of dementia are well researched and thought provoking and at times quite sad. The loss of youth and the rise in nostalgia as you get older resonate in many of us.I would recommend this wholeheartedly.
Peter May really captures the feeling of the islands. He draws very strong characters which are brought to life brilliantly by Peter Forbes. Looking forward to the next one.
A great listen, really well read. Really enjoyed listening to this whilst on holiday in Harris and Lewis.
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