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The Black House
by Peter May
The Black House is just as dark as it's title suggests; I found myself craving videos of kittens playing with string between chapters. The story takes place in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, on a desolate and beautiful island called Isle of Lewis. Being totally unfamiliar with the location, I looked up pictures of what the landscape looked like, some of which you will find below:
The landscape and climate in The Black House are as much characters in this story as is the protagonist, Fin MacLeod, a police officer who grew up on the island, but had thought he had escaped. A murder on the island, similar to one he had investigated in Edinburgh, brings him home. Both the weather and Fin are moody and depressed. Fin has just lost his only child in a tragic accident and his marriage is on the rocks. Rekindling past relationships as he investigates the murder of a childhood bully, does nothing to bring him closer to his wife or closure on the death of his son.
As Fin delves into the lives of both the bully and those who knew him, past events, friendships, alliances, enemies and the traditions of his people weave their way into the psyche of this detective. Fin has to come to terms with the loss of his son, the end of his marriage, the loose ends of friendships from long ago and what really happened in the Black House.
So long as you have a cup of tea to cut the chill and plenty of kitten videos, you will find The Black House a complicated and well written tale of murder and revenge.