They are just kids. Sixteen years old. Emboldened by alcohol, and hastened by the approaching Sabbath, they embrace the dark in search of love, and find only death.
Unusually, there is just a light wind. And for once it is warm, like breath on the skin, caressing and seductive. A slight haze in the August sky hides the stars, but a three-quarter moon casts its pale, bloodless light across the compacted sand left by the outgoing tide. The sea breathes gently upon the shore, phosphorescent foam bursting silver bubbles over gold. The young couple hurries down the tarmac from the village above, blood pulsing in their heads like the beat of the waves.
This is not the first time I've read Peter May's The Blackhouse. In fact, I think this might be the third or fourth time I've read it. A couple of times in print and a couple on audio, narrated by Peter Forbes. He does a great job. I've mentioned more than once that I love this author's trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. May will be 'Peter May' month for our mystery group. Each of us will read a book or several books by the author and then, well, we'll talk about them. I decided to fulfill part of my job as 'moderator' by immersing myself in the Isle of Lewis - audio style. I've completed The Blackhouse and am on to The Lewis Man and then The Chessmen.
The Blackhouse tells of Detective Inspector Fin Macleod who returns to his home village in order to consult about a recent murder on the island. Fin hasn't been back for 18 years. Lewis contains a lot of memories, old friends and a special woman, and some deep, dark secrets from his youth. As he investigates and questions the locals, along with DS George Gunn (great character, by the way), Fin is reminded of many things that he has tried to forget. His marriage is definitely on the rocks and he and his wife in Edinburgh are dealing with the accidental death of their young son. Fin is in a dark place in his head, but there are darker places still to discover.
Word of warning - this book contains a local custom or tradition of hunting a certain type of bird and killing large numbers of them. Just so you know. There are some fairly graphic descriptions of this, plus a number of violent crimes mentioned. These islands are quite interesting to me and starkly beautiful. I've included a video below that comes from Peter May's research on the Isle of Lewis. A lovely musical accompaniment is Capercaillie's 'An Gille Ban'. More info here on the author's website. The music is haunting and perfect for this book. Let me know what you think if you decide to read the book or just watch the video. Peter May has also written a 'coffee table' type book entitled Hebrides. It has the most gorgeous photographs and history. These books are highly recommended.
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.