The Black House – Peter May

As you all know from my many other book reviews, I’m not really a crime fiction enthusiast. However, my dad recommended that I read The Black House so I delved into the world of Scottish crime for the first time this year.

The Black House follows Fin McLeod as he tries to solve a murder on the Isle of Lewis which appears to be connected to a murder in Edinburgh. After struggling to come to terms with the death of his child, McLeod now faces returning to his childhood home and all the memories that come with returning to the island, whether those memories are good or bad. As McLeod tries to solve the murder, he has to question whether the people he grew up with are capable of murder.


What I liked the most about this book was that although the book is primarily about solving crime, that’s not all the novel is about. Throughout The Black House, in a series of flashbacks, you’re told about Fin’s childhood and what it was like growing up on the Isle of Lewis. I’ve rarely experienced that extra dimension of character building in a crime novel before and I must admit, I loved learning more about the culture on the island. I’ve been to Lewis on holiday previously, which was why my dad recommended this book, and the setting was definitely my favourite part of reading.

The characters are very well developed throughout the plot, again, I think the flashbacks really add to the development of not only Fin, but of Artair and Marsaili as well. I found myself wanting to pick the book up and read, so I flew through the novel fairly quickly and it definitely held my interest the entire time. Without spoiling the ending of the book for anyone who may want to read it, I will say that I most definitely did not see the twist towards the end coming. Which is exactly what you want from a good crime novel!

Crime isn’t my favourite genre, but I did enjoy reading The Black House. Having said that, I didn’t enjoy the book that much that I want to continue on with the series. 3 out of 5 stars.



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