Review by Booklist Review
The hero of May's stand-alone mystery, Montreal detective Sime Mackenzie, is young (thirtysomething) but, more befitting an older man, has regrets about failed relationships. He's also an insomniac; this serves as an unlikely narrative engine. Mackenzie is assigned to a murder investigation on the very isolated Entry Island, one of the Madeline Islands, hundreds of miles off the Canadian coast. This island has only 100 inhabitants, now down to 99, after the murder of Entry Island's wealthiest man. The case seems open and shut: the murdered man's wife was found covered in his blood. Mackenzie is drawn to the wife, convinced that they've met before. His insomnia is broken by dreams of their previous connection. May uses a double narrative, with Mackenzie's fragmented past memories informed by a discovered diary about the Highland Clearances (the forced displacement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of farmers from the Scottish Highlands). This is fascinating history, but it seems clumsily grafted onto a mystery. Still, May (The Lewis Trilogy) is wonderful at atmosphere here, as always, and his prose remains a draw in itself.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Fans of May's Lewis trilogy (The Chessmen, etc.) will welcome this solid standalone, which likewise involves crime on an isolated island. When the Montreal police learn of a murder on Entry Island, an English-speaking outpost of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Det. Sime Mackenzie reluctantly joins his murder-squad teammates on the long flight east. Conveniently, Mackenzie, who's deep into a bout of insomnia stemming from the recent dissolution of his marriage, is the only one fluent in French and English. On the island, wealthy businessman James Cowell is dead, allegedly stabbed by an intruder who tried to attack Cowell's wife, Kirsty. Mackenzie is unusually drawn to Kirsty, a native islander who hasn't left Entry in 10 years; he's positive he's met her before. Mackenzie's dreams of 19th-century Scottish crofters (farmers) and their doomed struggle with powerful landowners, a conflict known as the Highland Clearances, which directly affected his ancestors and perhaps Kirsty's, too, provide a powerful counterpoint to the present-day story line. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Off the coast of French-speaking Quebec Province in eastern Canada sits a small island of a little over 100 English-speaking inhabitants. When the island's most prominent resident is killed, a special team is dispatched from Montreal to investigate. Included is Sime Mackenzie, a native English speaker of Scottish heritage, an outsider even on this team of outsiders. Since he's become estranged from his wife, he's suffered from insomnia and might be subject to hallucinations. When Sime meets the victim's wife, who is the prime suspect, he feels instinctively that he knows her, even though they could not possibly have met. Before the true murderer is brought to justice, Sime unearths the history of the Scottish clearances of the mid-18th century (they explain the presence of the English-speaking enclave) and finds that grand passions can sweep across centuries and continents. Verdict May's (The Black House) stand-alone novel, winner of both the Deanston Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the ITV Crime Thriller Best Read of the Year, combines a police procedural with elements of romance plus a healthy infusion of historical fiction. That it works so well is owing to May's ability to create atmosphere you can cut with a dirk and to his storytelling prowess that sweeps all before it.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.