Bho Bòrd na Gàidhlig air Facebook.
Author: Peter May
Why did I read it? I had read and enjoyed Peter May‘s Hebrides trilogy of crime fiction, and had erroneously thought this was the fourth. I had a credit on my Audible account, so used it to pre-order this.
What’s it about? A man with amnesia washes up on a beach, barely alive, but feeling as though he has done the most terrible thing. He attempts to discover where he is, why he’s there, and just who he is without alerting anyone to his memory loss – terrified his dreadful secret will be too much to bear.
A teenager struggles to cope with her mother’s ability to move on with life following the death of her father, and sets out to find out more about him, little knowing the dire consequences her search will have on herself, and others.
A body is found on a the remote Flannan Isles in the Outer Hebrides, and it is up to Detective George Gunn to find out how he was killed, and how he came to this remote rock, 20 miles west of any civilisation.
As the book progresses, these three people grow ever closer to the truth.
It is uncannily hard hard to describe this book without destroying the mystery. There are several voices in the book, most notably Neil’s, the man we meet first washed up on the beach.
What did I like? I loved the opening, as I was caught right from the moment Neal washes up on the beach. I was eager to know where the story would take me. And, just was I was becoming engrossed in his story, there is a switch to the teenage Karen’s life, and suddenly I start making connections.
The story is so well paced that you don’t feel like matters are being dragged out, or that you are racing towards the end. There are a few red herrings, and a twist or two, though nothing to frustrate the reader. I note other readers were critical of the change between first person, and third person narrative, but I felt it created a good separation/barrier in the stories.
Once again, the landscapes are described beautifully by the author, and one almost feels as though the land, and sea are characters themselves.
Peter Forbes did an excellent job as narrator, each word was clear and precise.
What didn’t I like? Only one little quibble with the recording, which I had up loud as I did other tasks, was being able to hear papers turning. Still, the recording from Audible was clear!
The makers of children’s TV programmes Spot, Humf and Deer Little Forest previously announced plans to develop a new series from a base on Skye.
It also emerged last month that it will hold free workshops for artists next month and in January as part of an effort to create a local workforce.
Gaelic language college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI will host the training.
King Rollo Films said the new animated series, which will be offered in Gaelic and English, could be ready within three years.
The studio’s Leo Nielsen said: “This is just the start. We hope to create an animation unit that will develop and expand in years to come, producing films to entertain families around the world.
“In the process, it will create exciting and sustainable creative jobs rooted in the Highlands.”
Amanda Millen, Gaelic-speaking director of the XpoNorth network which is supporting the training programme, said: “This is exactly the kind of ambitious project which should be taking root in places such as Skye.
“We are very happy to be in at the start, helping turn it all into a reality.”
What’s it about? Six Londoners arrive on Unst for a hameferin (marriage celebration) of two of their number, the groom being a native of Unst. Eleanor and Polly both claim to have sighted Peerie Lizzie, the legendary ghost of a child who is meant to foretell a birth, even though the child herself drowned. Late one night after the celebration, when they have gone to bed, Eleanor disappears – seemingly into thin air. Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves arrive in Unst to investigate the disappearance, but it seems these latest sightings of Peerie Lizzie are a precursor to murder. The frequent mists, and fogs on Unst add to the confusion of the case.
What did I like? The use of the weather, landscape, and folklore to add to the confusion of the characters. Here, Jimmy Perez is recovering from the loss of Fran, and is endeavouring to get back on track, but he continually makes connections to his own life, showing he is not quite focussed, and the fogs and mists swirling around Unst reflect that. They way this book is assembled feels disjointed – seemingly random snippets here and there that don’t seem to be shared among the other detectives investigating – but this enhances the feel of the story. The use of folklore to blur the edges of reality, and disguise the truth is also pleasing. The undercurrents normally detected within crime novels are harder to view. I must admit to having little sympathy for other than the detectives in this book, even though the characters were quite filled-out. There was a distance seemingly placed between the suspects and the reader.
Kenny Blyth‘s narration was pleasing, with accents applied accordingly, but not so heavy as to not be able to understand what was being said. The pace of the narration was just right, too, allowing tension to build towards the end without running breathlessly towards it.
What didn’t I like? At times, I lost concentration, and had to rewind the audio to recapture the lost information. I am not sure why this is, but it was a little frustrating. I also dislike reading books out of order. Although I have read the Shetland series in the order they are published, but jumping back and forth in the time of the main character, Jimmy Perez.
Would I recommend it? Yes. I would. Each book in the Shetland series can be read alone, so newcomers would be enjoy it, as would those familiar with the series, or indeed the author.
Two very special European laws play a vital role in keeping some of our most precious woodland species and habitats safe. But these laws are at risk under a new review, and we need your help to prove they matter.
Take action now and have your say.
Deadline: 24 July 2015.
As the last of the winter birthdays has now passed, I felt free to put up my little winter woodland scene at work. I also hung up the xmas cards – which started appearing a week ago – on my cupboard. It seems red and white is the common theme this year. Alas, my winter scene is black, white and silver.