I have recently discovered the delights of Tartan Noir and more specifically the mystery of unexplained deaths on the sparse vegetation of the windswept northern Isles.
In The Black House the preface shows us the body of an unpleasant murder victim hanging on the island of Lewis. DI Fin MacLeod is sent over from Edinburgh to liaise with the locals as he was brought up on Lewis, but there are reasons why he left the island as soon as he left school and some of his reunions bring back distressing memories.
While the present-day investigation continues in the 3rd person, Fin tells his own story from the past in alternate chapters. There is a mystery to be solved which may link to a similar murder in Edinburgh, but the increasingly tortured Fin begins to realise that he is still part of the community and he must open up old wounds.
This is a beautifully written novel, with striking descriptive passages, of the beauty of Lewis in the sunshine, of the terrifying voyages out to the island of Ag Sgeir and the despair of young people who give up hope. The description of the Guga hunters, men who risk danger to take gannet chicks from the rock once year, is not pleasant but is essential to the plot.
This exceptional book is a compelling read and I shall certainly be moving on to the sequel.
The Black House on Amazon UK