Neal Maclean, the amnesiac hero of this intriguing but overblown standalone from May (Runaway), washes up on one of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, where, unbeknownst to him, he’s been living. Neal later figures out that he’s supposedly an author who’s writing a book about a gale in 1900 that claimed the lives of three lighthouse keepers on the island of Eilean Mòr. When he travels to Eilean Mòr, he finds a dead man, whom Neal fears he may have murdered. Det. Sgt. George Gunn investigates the crime. A hidden trove of bee hives along ancient Coffin Road near Neal’s home, coupled with an elaborate laboratory setup in a locked garden shed, seems to indicate something more sinister than simply a historical delving into missing men from over a century ago. The action shifts between Neal and surly 17-year-old Karen Fleming, whose scientist father committed suicide two years earlier. As usual, May evokes his native Scotland as ruggedly dangerous, his well-drawn characters equally so, but the global conspiracy that’s behind everything is farfetched at best. (Oct.)
"Shades of The Bourne Identity abound... A horrific murder at a remote lighthouse and a young teen pursing the truth behind her father's research add heft to a headily complex tale that's part eco-thriller, part ode to familial love."— Seattle Review of Books
"a well-paced atmospheric story that catches the reader's attention from the opening scene"—Deadly Pleasures Magazine
"Like Peter May's other Outer Hebridean mysteries, Coffin Road is a tense, intriguing mystery set against a broody backdrop that lends an otherworldly eeriness to the story at hand."
—Bloggin' Bout Books
"May's lyrical prose brings full color to the scenery, and the narrative intrigues from start to finish as the three arcs intertwine and race to a final showdown. Coffin Road is an atmospheric thriller that delves into issues of identity, sacrifice and the greater good."—Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
"May keeps the stories clear and the pace fast, with the Hebrides atmosphere serving as a wild, unpredictable fourth character. Flat-out fantastic."
—Booklist (Starred Review)
"This intense, complex mystery will satisfy especially those who are environmentally conscious, but overall, this is one bang-up read."
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
"May evokes his native Scotland as ruggedly dangerous, his well-drawn characters equally so."—Publishers Weekly
"An eminently satisfying, multilayered mystery populated with sharply drawn characters . . . The many threads of the story play out against a landscape that May, a native Scot, renders vividly. His images capture the capricious play of light and weather across the sea and the moors, matching the surprises in his tale."—Kirkus Reviews
"An extremely chilling tale. From a man with memory loss, to a young girl dealing with the loss of her father, to a tale of a policeman unmasking the past, readers will have to pay close attention so they don't lose track of the amazing web May has created."—Suspense Magazine
"May is a master storyteller who deftly weaves the threads into a magnificent tapestry... A stand alone thriller that will grip you from the first page."—BookPeople, Austin, TX
"Peter May is on a roll . . . [Coffin Road] is a clever, twisty eco-thriller in the mode of Le Carré's The Constant Gardener."
—John O'Connell, The Guardian
"A consummately skilled and original storyteller, Coffin Road fully showcases novelist Peter May's total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre."—Midwest Book Review
"An excellent thriller . . . the pace and good writing swept me onwards."
—Amy Myers, Shots Magazine
"The bestselling [Peter May] returns to the Outer Hebrides . . . Another cracking story from a writer at the height of his powers."
— Charlotte Heathcote, The Daily Express
"This is a first-rate page turner!"—John Teel, Marshall University for the Popular Culture Association
Praise for Peter May
"Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth."
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
May returns to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland in this chilling ecothriller. When a man is washed up on a barren beach, he is hypothermic and confused, with no memory of who he is. He begins to uncover clues to his identity, but his amnesia retains a stubborn hold. In Edinburgh, a rebellious teenage girl struggles to understand her scientist father's suicide and sets off a series of events she could never have imagined. DS Sergeant George Gunn from May's "Lewis Trilogy" (The Blackhouse; The Lewis Man; The Chess Men) returns to investigate a murder on the nearby Flannan Isles where the evidence is scanty and confusing. Why do so many people have bee stings? Three perilous journeys lead to a harrowing conclusion. VERDICT This intense, complex mystery will satisfy especially those who are environmentally conscious, but overall, this is one bang-up read.—Gloria Drake, Oswego P.L. Dist., IL
A man washes ashore in the Outer Hebrides, the pages of his memory completely blank, while in Edinburgh a troubled teen suspects her father did not, as she was told, commit suicide.The author of a trilogy and two series, May scores here with a standout stand-alone. At its core is an eminently satisfying, multilayered mystery populated with sharply drawn characters. In an immediately engaging opening scene, a man struggles to his feet on a beach on the Isle of Harris. Shivering, confused, and disoriented, he cannot recall how he landed here. Worse, he does not know who he is, though islanders recognize him. Guided, then settled into a cottage he scarcely recognizes, he eventually reunites with Sally, a woman who recalls, and resumes, their affair. Attempting to help him recover, she walks with him up the eponymous Coffin Road, where, in a hollow, they discover several beehives. Curiously, the narrator’s hands bear evidence of bee stings. Sally also prompts the narrator, who comes to think his name is Neal, that he was writing a book about the mysterious disappearance a hundred years ago on a nearby island of three men. To jog his memory, Neal journeys to the island only to discover a corpse with its head split open. Neal fears he was the killer, and police soon think likewise. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, the narrative follows Karen, who, in the two years following her father’s suicide, has gone “from being Daddy’s little girl to Mother’s nightmare.” Investigating her father’s suicide, Karen comes to believe he did not kill himself—that he is indeed alive. That conviction sends her into the Highlands, where she faces her own peril. The many threads of the story play out against a landscape that May, a native Scot, renders vividly. His images capture the capricious play of light and weather across the sea and the moors, matching the surprises in his tale. A thoroughly entertaining yarn.