Entry Island, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


IF YOU FLEE FATE...When Detective Sime Mackenzie is sent from Montreal to investigate a murder on the remote Entry Island, 850 miles from the Canadian mainland, he leaves behind him a life of sleeplessness and regret.

FATE WILL FIND YOU...But what had initially seemed an open-and-shut case takes on a disturbing dimension when he meets the prime suspect, the victim's wife, and is convinced that he knows her - even though they have never met. And when his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant Scottish past in another century, this murder in the Gulf of St.

Lawrence leads him down a path he could never have foreseen, forcing him to face a conflict between his professional duty and his personal destiny.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781782062233

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Entry Island, the latest by author Peter May, is divided into two distinct narratives. In the present, Montreal detective Sime Mackenzie has been sent to Entry Island where a murder has taken place. Entry Island is situated in the St Lawrence about 900 miles from the coast of Quebec. Although it is considered part of Quebec, English is the language spoken by those who live there and Sime is the only officer available who is fluent in the language. He is not particularly happy with the assignment not least because he has to work with his ex-wife. Worse, when he meets Kirsty Cowell, wife of the deceased and prime suspect, he feels an inexplicable but strong connection to her, making it difficult for him to do his job properly. In the past, another Sime lives on Lewis Island with his parents and sister. Sime is one of the few islanders who speaks English as well as Gaelic. This part of the story takes place during the period known as the Highland Clearances or the Expulsion of the Gaels during the 19th c. This is also the time of the potato famine. The landlord decides to evict the residents, forcing them onto ships heading for Canada. May brings to life in vivid and heart-wrenching detail the hardships of the islanders as they contend with both starvation and forced removal, the brutality of the evictions and the horrors of the voyage as well as the period of quarantine on Grosse Ile. At first glance, Peter May’s new book, Entry Island may seem very similar to the Lewis Trilogy but don’t be fooled by first glances. Like in the Trilogy, much of the story takes place on isolated islands with small groups of inhabitants whose lives are, for the most part as bleak as the island they live on; even their language sets them apart from the majority. Entry Island is also similar in the brilliant portrayal of these lives and the people who live them as well as May’s ability to seamlessly unite different genres including mystery, coming-of-age and literary and historical fiction. However, despite the similarities, Entry Island is definitely its own book. Once again, May brings us a very dark, very atmospheric and completely engrossing tale, one impossible to put down with places and characters we hate to leave whose stories stay with us long after we have finished the last paragraph.

Review by

There is a fascinating touch of the paranormal as Sime McKenzie brings to life, in his dreams, stories that his grandmother told him that had been recorded in his great-great-great-great grandfather's diaries. There is a lot of Scottish history, particularly that related to the Highland clearances, the potato famine in the Hebrides and Ireland, and Canadian migration history, told as background to the main investigation. Sime's link to the past is a signet ring with a distinctive crest.It is a challenging read as the reader has to be alert to the change of voice from Sime's modern voice and the voice of his ancestor nearly one hundred and fifty years before. The author has not used any of the conventions like italics to indicate the second voice, but the clues to the voice come from the setting.ENTRY ISLAND is a variant on the "locked room" mystery as the main access to the island is by ferry and dependant on the weather, and it is possible to use a private boat. The residents of the island choose to speak English which is why Sime is chosen to be part of the investigation, despite the fact that it is being led by his French-speaking ex-wife, and the rest of the team are all French speakers. To some extent this makes his fellow investigators, largely not English speakers, likely to see Kirsty Cowell as "weird" and to regard her as guilty of her husband's murder, while Sime is more prone to see her as innocent. Kirsty owns a pendant with a family crest that matches Sime's ring, and he has an uncanny feeling that he has met her before.One thing I like about Peter May's books is the depth of research evident in the stories. ENTRY ISLAND is a particularly interesting read because of the way it slips so easily between time frames and cultures.It is going to be hard for any novel I read this year to top this one.

Review by

3.5 starsHaving previously read the first of Peter May's Lewis Trilogy, The Blackhouse (which led me to purchase the remaining two books), I was excited to discover that I could freely download Entry Island from Edelweiss. May continues to do a fine job of evoking bleak locations, whether a village on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, the steerage level of a ship transporting cleared villagers to Canada, or the hospital for quarantined typhoid victims on Grosse Île in the St. Lawrence River.However, as other reviewers have noted, Entry Island alternates between a modern murder investigation and the 19th century expulsion of Gaelic tenants from their homes on the Isle of Lewis. The two stories are linked by the characters of police detective Sime Mackenzie and Kirsty Cowell, the widow of the murder victim, both of whose ancestors were connected to the Clearing of the Isle of Lewis. I found this juxtaposition of police procedural and historical romance both unexpected and jarring.While I was surprised at the killer's identity, the ending of the book felt forced and contrived, as though May were struggling to connect and wrap up the two incompatible storylines. Nevertheless, May's superior descriptions of desolate landscapes and the poignancy of the ancient star-crossed love affair earned him a better-than-average rating.I received a free copy of Entry Island through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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