• The Blackhouse

  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Peter Forbes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,106 ratings)

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The Blackhouse  By  cover art

The Blackhouse

By: Peter May
Narrated by: Peter Forbes
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Publisher's summary

From acclaimed author and dramatist Peter May comes the Barry award-winning The Blackhouse, the first book in the Lewis Trilogy - a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.  

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.  

As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped - and nearly destroyed - his life.

©2013 Peter May (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"A gripping plot, pitch-perfect characterization, and an appropriately bleak setting drive this outstanding series debut." (Connie Fletcher, Booklist, starred review)

"A thriller with an intensity that never slackens, chilling and igneous at the same time, like the great country that serves as its setting. A masterpiece indeed." (L'Humanite)

"Abundant local color... matches Macleod's tormented emotional landscape. The struggles of such multidimensional characters... add depth." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about The Blackhouse

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

Miscategorized

I have no clue why this book was listed as a "police procedural", or even as a murder mystery for that matter. The mystery was almost an afterthought (and completely predictable).

That said, the character studies, the scene setting, and story of Fin's life were actually interesting and the writing is top notch. May's writing style is very engaging. I might even read the rest of the series...albeit I won't hold my breath for a mystery.

For those, like me, who prefer not to read about animal killings, be prepared to skip the bird hunt. It was grim.

The narrator was wonderful.

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58 people found this helpful

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

What a bloody miserable tale!

The story is as bleak and lonely as the island it is set on. The reading’s repetitive tone and meter is guaranteed to put you to sleep. Every sentence has the same rhythm and the paragraphs roll from one into the next without any change in tempo.
The murder is almost secondary to the resurrection of a sad childhood and a mixed-up adolescence of a policeman who doesn’t really want to be a policeman and who has been sent to the island without any real power to investigate anything.
The weather is always cold, gray and raining ... it seems that the islanders’ lives mirror their weather and their landscape... I keep waiting for the sun to break through but so far it hasn’t happened. Maybe something happy will happen in one of the next two books in the trilogy.

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14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but troubling

Story ends well but a lot of sadness and man's inhumanity to man and emotional pain.

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful surprise!

I don't remember selecting this book. I probably picked it up on sale. So glad I did. What a gem.

I know this is categorized as "Modern Detective", but I'd say it would be more aptly described as a great fiction with some detecting thrown in. Even though it's not the most uplifting story, I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in life on the Scottish Isle. I found that I could easily visualize characters and landscape based on the author's descriptions.

As for the narration, couldn't be better. I'd definitely listen to Peter Forbes again, he's terrific!

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

challenging mystery

more delightful to hear because of the sonorous Scottish accents. A mystery with many emotion laden twists and turns, weather and Scottish lore told beautifully.

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7 people found this 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

A tale of awakening and facing one’s deepest fears.

This was a wonderfully descriptive story of human emotion, death, and reawakening against the bleak backdrop of a remote island. Just as the island of Lewis is cut off from the rest of the world by its geography, Finn McCloud is removed from his memories and emotions until a catharsis occurs. The characters take life through the narrative and one becomes completely caught up in their inner dialogues.

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6 people found this helpful

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

Fabulous narration that pulls you in

I like an audiobook with great narrators that can really capture the characters and their accents. I found myself repeating the odd words or phrases (in a horrible impersonation)because it was just fun. The story itself was pretty good. The setting and scenes were described in a way that is easily envisioned, even if you know absolutely nothing about the area or people. The story is a bit of a murder mystery except with more focus on the backstory of the main character, Fin. I liked getting to know him but, I felt it always took away from what you think is the main part of the story is, the actual crime. Apparently, the main part is Fin, himself. I assume this because it is the first of a 3 part series. Everything is wrapped up nicely in end when even more discoveries about Fin’s past are exposed. It was an entertaining audiobook and should be a good read, if you go in with little expectations on delving into a true murder mystery/crime oriented story. I do think it serves just fine as a stand-alone novel. There is no need to continue the series unless you have completely fallen in love with the characters and want to know more about them.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read

I loved the twists and turns in this book. I was on the edge of my seat to the end. I will read more of Peter May soon!

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4 people found this helpful

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

Solid writing and performance.

BUilds up to an overdramatic cliff top ending which seemed out of scale. May does such great work with character and scene and then pushes it too much

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This book was even better than I’d hoped. Excellent narration. I felt as if I were there. The descriptive writing didn’t bog down the story line but enhanced the listening experience.

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4 people found this helpful