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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Second Installment in Scottish Murder Mystery Series Deeper, More Meaningful Than Its Fellows

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for The Lewis Man, it may inadvertently ruin plot surprises from its predecessor, The Blackhouse.  As always, I recommend reading a series in order.)

After returning to Crobost—a small village on the Outer Hebridean island of his birth—to investigate a murder, Fin MacLeod is back for good.  Leaving behind a broken marriage and his position as a detective in the Edinburgh police force, he's focusing on rebuilding his family's abandoned croft.  Marsaili, the woman Fin has loved since childhood, is a recent widow; their son a new father; Fin longs for connection with them all.  

With so much on his plate already, the last thing Fin expects to grapple with is a suspicious death.  When a body is recovered from a Lewis peat bog, the former detective is called in to help with the investigation.  The only clue to the corpse's identity is an Elvis tattoo and a DNA match to Marsaili's father.  Suffering from dementia, Tormod Macdonald can't give Fin a straight answer about the body.  It's up to Fin and Marsaili to delve into the old man's past in order to solve a cold case, one that will bring some hot new trouble down on them all. 

Taking place on the same island as The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man—the second book in Peter May's trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides—brings back the broody landscape, tight community, and intriguing characters that made The Blackhouse such a compelling novel.  Because of Fin's switch from cop to crofter, this second book isn't so much a police procedural as a complex study of the human psyche, both good and bad.  It delves more into the characters' hearts, minds, and souls.  Which isn't to say it doesn't have an engrossing plot.  It does.  These things, plus the story's focus on redemption, forgiveness, and overcoming the plagues of past generations, makes it a deeper, more meaningful novel than The Blackhouse.  Although I enjoyed this whole series, The Lewis Man is, by far, my favorite installment.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of The Blackhouse and The Chessmen by Peter May)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Susan. This is my favorite of the trilogy as well. :-)


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