The Blackhouse: A Novel

The Blackhouse - Peter May Liked this much more than I thought I was going to. I'm always wary when it comes best-selling crime novels (well, in these parts it's been selling like hot cakes, at least). I grew up in a house where the crime genre was worshipped, and a day didn't go by that I wasn't exposed to a whodunnit on the TV in the afternoon, a police procedural on in the evening, a Christie drama on the radio...it never ended.Anyway, usually these days if I do dip into the crime genre, the book has to have an interesting kind of angle, like Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann or, The Killer Inside Me, by Jim Thompson. I can't say Blackhouse had anything like that, but it was cheap and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about...And like I said, I'm glad I did.For a lot of the book, I felt that I needed a bingo card, especially when it came to the central protagonist Finn. He's leaving the force...he's getting a divorce...he's going back...he wants to get his ex in the sack...his childhood friend gets asthma attacks.There's really nothing special there at all, very two-dimensional and bland. Now, as for the crime/mystery itself, well, happily, it almost takes second place to May setting up the scenes and the background...and this is where May really excels himself.Outside of Finn, the characters really shine, are memorable, and the picture he paints of life on a small island is simply superb. The flashback moments are well worth the entry price alone and there were times when I got annoyed when the book moved back into the present day investigation.Anyway, it's worth a look, and I've already started Lewis Man which I didn't think I was going to, so May has definitely done something right.3.5