Audiobook, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone @C_L_Johnstone @mrjoemcfadden @beaton_eilidh @SimonAudio @librofm

the setup…
Maggie McKay has lived a troubled life, living with a mother who claimed to be psychic and having her own mental issues. Following her mother’s death, she returns to the remote island called Kilmeray in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. It’s the place where she felt like her childhood trauma began when she declared, at five-years old, that she was a man named Andrew and he had been murdered. Now she needs to find out whether this was her truth or a machination created by her mother. Unfortunately, the locals do not welcome her with open arms and that’s an understatement.

the heart of the story…
I knew this would be highly atmospheric but was still overwhelmed by how the setting would be almost more vivid than any of the characters. There’s such a strong sense of place, like I could smell the sea, feel the chill from the winds and hear the sounds of that island. It was the best imagery I’ve experienced in a while. The story is presented in two narratives, Maggie’s and a man named Robert Reid who disappeared from Kilmeray a few years before Maggie and her mother were first there. Both are seriously complicated and untrustworthy as narrators. At least Maggie was honest about her doubts of herself. Robert was much more murky, alluding to secrets he was keeping and transitioning between his troubled past and rocky present. It’s clear early on that the locals are harboring a secret and it was hard to figure out who to trust, who was being disingenuous and why. I got bogged down by the sheer volume of them, especially those who were fairly indistinctive until late in the story. I don’t usually have trouble keeping up but struggled here.

the narration…
The two narrators were a highlight of this story! They were outstanding storytellers and their accents fit the setting beautifully. Best decision ever to listen versus read.

the bottom line…
Despite the outstanding narration and incredible atmospheric setting, I was less enamored of the overall story as it seemed to take too long to develop. I had a tough time staying with it as there were so many characters to juggle while trying to understand the basics, worrying about Maggie’s safety and figuring out the meaning behind some very odd situations. However, I’m glad I hung in there because the ending was powerful and the secret was more complex than I’d imagined. The themes are strong and I was left thinking about them long after I finished. I recommend it, just be prepared for the story to take its time to develop.

Book Info

  • Release Date: January 3, 2023
  • Narrators: Joe McFadden & Eilidh Beaton
  • Audio Length: 13 hours, 41 minutes
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio



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(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

13 thoughts on “The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone @C_L_Johnstone @mrjoemcfadden @beaton_eilidh @SimonAudio @librofm”

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