The Lewis Man by Peter May
Book 2 of The Lewis Trilogy
Date Read: 24/12/122 --> 14/1/12
This is the second book in the Lewis Trilogy that Peter May is writing. It follows (now non-detective) Fin Macleod after he returns to the island and to Ness to try and rebuild his parents croft house. His childhood love's father (who now suffers from dementia) is about to come under scrutiny following the discovery of a body in the peat in the Ness district. This book follows Fin and Marsali as they try to unravel her fathers past to discover who the body is before mainland detectives come to the island and start investigating the old man who is now so crippled with the disease. The chapters alternate between the present day from Fins point of view and Tormod's (the old mans) recollections and memories of the past which all lead to the final revelation and rather incredible ending.
This is a crime novel but I wouldn't say it's up there with the likes of Patricia Cornwall or Harlan Coban quite yet. It's not particularly gruesome which is good from my point of view as I although I love horror I don't like my crime with lots of blood and guts. However, it paints a painfully bleak description of the island from sentances such as 'Fin could see the dark roof of Crobost Church dominating bothe the skyline and the people over whose lives it's shadow fell' and 'The discarded technology of distant decades, rusted tractors and broken harvesters, littered overgrown plots, the rotting symbols of a once hoped-for prosperity'.
Now I come from the island and I know how hard the living can be up there. Industry was a struggle, the weather can be harsh and religion is prevalent with a strict sabbath observance. But Peter May describes all the characters in such a weary and desolute way that the book can become quite depressing. I'm not saying that the geographical references and descriptions aren't apt and very good writing, just that not everyones as miserable as is made out in the book.
Would I recommend this book? Possibly, if you have an interest in the island and it's way of life or maybe if you really really like your crime. However, it's not my usual genre which is maybe why I am a tad critical of it and also I am particularly defensive of where I come from. I am keen to hear from others with no connection to the Island with what they thought of the book but in the meantime I would give it 3/5.