* Prices may differ from that shown
please note the picture that accompanies this review is incorrect.
==Synopsis of the book:==
A very well preserved body is discovered in a peat bog on the Island of Lewis in Scotland. However, the Police soon find out this body is not hundreds of years old as they first suspected. As the dead man has a tattoo featuring Elvis from 1958 on his arm. Added to their interest is the man has been stabbed several times and his throat has also been cut, clearly he has been murdered. The main clue they have is his DNA matches an old man Tormod Macdonald, who is suffering from Dementia.
Meanwhile Fin Macleod has quit the Police force and returned to Lewis to start what he hopes is a new life. He plans to try and repair his parents home which has been empty for over 20 years. He very soon bumps into his ex and former sweetheart Marsaili Macdonald, who advises him of the situation with her father who is now in a Care home. He agrees to help her try and find the truth about the mysterious body and how it relates to Tormod. As the old man isn't able to help them as his illness is in the advance stages. The first mystery Fin needs to solve is how can Tormod share his DNA with this man when he has always told his daughter he was an only child? And where does he need to go to start to answer this question?
==My thoughts on the novel:==
I often find if I have really enjoyed the first novel in a series the second can and often is a disappointment. However in this case it was not true at all and I found this to be a very enjoyable read. In many ways I had put off reading the second in the series because I enjoyed the first so much and I never thought this one could be as good, but it was and in one particular way it was better much better but that is because I got some real insight from what I was reading.
I think I should explain right off why I thought in this one particular aspect it was so good. My father has advanced Dementia and I quite often wonder what he knows and how he sees life. In this story Marsaili's father suffers from this illness and so when the author told the story of how he sees things it really made me think and gave me a little insight into how tough it must be for my Dad, who finds it very difficult to communicate with us. The only problem I have with this fascinating insight I do not know how accurate it is, but at the very least it made me think and try and understand how hard it is for him.
Currently there are three books in the Lewis trilogy, with this being the second of them from the pen of Peter May. He is a Scottish author whose first in the series 'The Black House' was a best seller. What I enjoyed about that story specifically was it told the story of Fin Macleod and his growing up in Lewis. I found that very interesting and so I wondered what this one would be about and really didn't think it could possibly compare as I knew so much already about the main character. Yes he was still key in it but it instead told the story of his former girlfriends father's life, both from him remembering early parts of it and Fin discovering things about it. It made for a fascinating read.
I purchased this book from Amazon after reading the summary of the story on there. I had a voucher that had been burning a hole in my pocket and I decided to risk trying this one. I was pleased it was based on Lewis again because I enjoy hearing about the stark but beautiful place and I wondered what the author meant by his title 'Lewis Man'. When the book arrived I was surprised because I wanted to see the summary so I flipped the book over and there was a very short summary of the story, just giving the key points. It sounded quite good but lacked much detail and I too be honest was a little disappointed with it. After that I checked out the inside cover and to my great surprise there was another summary only this time it was much more detailed and really set the scene well for the book.
The book started in the right vein with a prologue. It was quite short but it told off the discovery of this body superbly preserved in the peat. I immediately wondered if this book would be any good as I like the Police imagined the body was hundreds or even thousands of years old. I just didn't think there would be much of a mystery and I would not be interested in a time so long ago. But I was pleasantly surprised when the body turned out to be far more recent and it would deal with an interesting period of time the 1950's.
I found I was very quickly absorbed in the story, I think initially because as mentioned above because this elderly man now suffering from Dementia. I wanted to know more about his life and I found it amazing he never told his family about his past. I also found I was enjoying learning more about Fin and characters I had met and learnt about in the first book, this certainly added to my enjoyment. My only question was would I have liked learning more about then had I not read the first in the series and I can't honestly answer that one.
The story had a really good feel to it and with excellent descriptions of the Island and the characters on it I found it completely absorbing. I think the place sounds amazing and the author clearly has a really understanding of the place. I must admit having enjoyed these two books and I would really like to visit the place to get my own perspective of it. The author makes the descriptions for me come alive and I can practically feel the gales and storms through his wonderful words. There was always a degree of mystery but it was the level of suspense throughout the story that really impressed me.
The story the whole way through was well paced and always had me gripped. I found I needed to know the old man's story as much as Fin did. It was always fascinating and the story was very unusual and provided me with a new insight to what life must have been like for Children who had lost their parents during this period after the war. For me part of the beauty in this story was learning more about the wonderful new and old characters the author created. I really found the story was well thought out and while towards the end I figured out what happened that is only I think because I read so many thrillers!!
There were many good twists within the story and things that generally surprised and impressed me. I liked the way the story did not focus on one characters viewpoint but moved around the key characters in the story so that you got an all round view of what was happening. The story was told very effectively so that nothing was given away until it made total sense in the story to do so and the background behind it had been explained.
I found the ending excellent and while I guessed what had happened I still needed to be told this and the reasoning explained. There was one or two surprises that added spice and excitement to what turned out to be a thrilling ending. I could not fault it although I did think it ended a little bit quickly and it would have been good to have an epilogue to end it all properly. With the length of the story doing justice to the story and their being enough depth in the story to always fascinate me.
My only worry now is now should I be brave and read the third in the series? Having loved the first two I suppose I should now trust the author and just go for it, but I do wonder how he could improve on these two. And I am really finding it hard to find any fault in this book, so for once I will not try and look for one. Although I must admit I cannot separate the stories in quality as they were both were excellent and in quite contrasting ways.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good suspense thriller. It was well written and always cleverly told. For me personally I enjoyed hearing the perspective of Tormod Macdonald who was suffering from Dementia and how he saw and felt about things as I have never before had such an insight on this illness and it helped me to try and understand some of the frustrations my Dad faces every day.
Price: 3.99 new at Amazon
More about the author: www.petermay.co.uk
Year first Published: 2012
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
© CPTDANIELS September 2013.
A MAN WITH NO NAME
An unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog; the only clue to its identity being a DNA sibling match to a local farmer.
A MAN WITH NO MEMORY
But this islander, Tormod Macdonald - now an elderly man suffering from dementia - has always claimed to be an only child.
A MAN WITH NO CHOICE
When Tormod's family approach Fin Macleod for help, Fin feels duty-bound to solve the mystery.
This book is the second in Peter May's Lewis trilogy and in my opinion by far the best. I am completely fascinated by 'bog people' and the whole twist on this was, I feel, a really original and interesting idea. Lots of familiar characters from the first book of the series which makes it really feel like coming home, a la Fin! The dramatic location descriptions are so well written and really install a moodiness and atmosphere though out. The pace of the book was great, and there were no bits I felt tempted to skim over. Very well written books. Like the others in the trilogy, its just full of stuff that you don't see coming. Really kept me engaged, on my toes and 'present' while reading. Very well rounded plot line and 'full' characters that you can really care about.
I would recommend reading the first in the trilogy (The Blackhouse) before starting this as although it does work well as a stand alone novel, there is a lot of back story in the first novel that really enhances the experience of reading this one.