Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: The Chessmen

The Chessmen
The Chessmen by Peter May

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Chessmen is the third novel in the Lewis Trilogy, and I strongly advise reading the books in order. This is especially important in this trilogy because the books are at least equal parts back stories and front stories and really really back stories and central mystery. Some of the importance of what is revealed about MC Fin Macleod (and others)just won't carry the same weight if you don't know the history.

If you've read the first two, you already know that there's never just one crime or mystery. And on the Isle of Lewis, everyone is connected to everyone else in some way. Peter May doesn't tell a linear story here. He starts with the discovery of a murder, rewinds to a couple of days earlier, then puts in an entirely new tape to tell the high school/uni stories.

I don't normally have a difficult time with all the time jumping, but I already struggle with the Gaelic words. There is a pronunciation guide in the back of the book, but I'm on my third book now and I can only remember that 'Dubh' is pronounced 'Doo'. I have to look up any words that I can't pronounce or don't know. Always have. So that slows me down a bit and makes keeping track of the two present/near-present timelines more difficult.

May's mysteries have a lot of parts and pieces but aren't difficult to figure out. The complexity of his characters and relationships is what draws me to his books. Although I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous two, that may be due to my own deficits and not the novel's.

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