Monday, March 7, 2016

Entry Island by Peter May

First Sentence:  It is evident from the way the stones are set into the slope of the hill that industrious hands once toiled to make this pathway.
Detective Sime Mackenzie is sent to the small island of Entry Island, where the wealthiest resident has been murdered, and the wife is the obvious suspect.  Mackenzie is absolutely certain he has met her before, which leads to dreams of being in Scotland in the 18th Century and a link to the diary of an ancestor.  Can Mackenzie resolve his obsession, and find the killer?
May does write wonderfully evocative description…lots, and lots, and lots of description. We are provided a interesting history of the islands, and the citizens of Quebec, from the English to the French, resulting in the demise of the Gaelic.  He does a very good job of impressing on the reader just how hard is life living on an isolated island and being a lobsterman. 
We are provided a good introduction to the characters.  That Sime is divorced from one of his fellow officers adds a nice bit of dimension to the story.  However, he comes off as being self-absorbed and rather mysognistic.  
The style is interesting.  The narrative is written third person.  However, Simes' dreams and memories are told in first person.  There are inaccuracies--lobster trap, not a creel which is for fish--inconsistencies--kilometers and miles, centimeters and inches--massive coincidences, and way too many weather reports.   Did I mention the descriptions?  There is a lot of description…really a tremendous amount of description…an annoyingly copious amount of description even for one who likes description. 
The story seems schizophrenic.  Is it a police procedural, or is it an historical novel?  Yes, there is a joining thread, but one really may not care by the time one gets there.
Entry Island” is, unfortunately, an easy book to put down and not bother picking up again.

ENTRY ISLAND (Pol Proc-Sime Mackenzie- Canada/Scotland-Contemp/18th Cent) – Poor
May, Peter – Standalone

Quercus, Sept 2015

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