From the author of the “dark and devious...beautifully written” (Stephen King) Mirrorland comes an “atmospheric, thrilling, and utterly captivating” (Booklist) gothic tale set on a remote Scottish island where the locals are hiding a deadly secret.
Maggie Mackay has been haunted her entire life. No matter what she does, she can’t shake the sense that something is wrong with her. And maybe something is…
When she was five years old, Maggie announced that a man on the remote island of Kilmeray in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides—a place she’d never visited—was murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.
Now, nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to discover what really happened, and what the villagers are hiding. But everyone has secrets, and some are deadly. As she gets closer to the horrifying truth, the island’s legendary and violent storms begin to rage again and Maggie’s own life is in danger…
Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Dangerous thunderstorms. Dead crows. Sinister townsfolk. Carole Johnstone’s twisty, atmospheric thriller knows exactly how to give us the creeps. Maggie MacKay returns to a remote Scottish island, hoping to finally get some answers about the death of Robert Reid, which has haunted her since childhood. But the locals are less than thrilled about this outsider asking questions—and they’re determined to guard the secrets that hold their strangely tight-knit community together. Part mystery, part ghost story, The Blackhouse shifts between present day and Reid’s final months. It’s good, scary fun, and each chapter ends on such an ominous note that it’s impossible to stop reading.
Journalist Maggie MacKay, the principal narrator of this eerie gothic thriller from Johnstone (Mirrorland), has long held the unshakable belief that her name is really Andrew MacNeil, that she's from a place called Kilmeray, and that someone there killed her—despite the apparent lack of evidence that anyone named Andrew MacNeil ever lived, or died, on that storm-buffeted Outer Hebrides island. Recently discharged from a London psychiatric hospital after a psychotic breakdown following her mother's traumatic death, Maggie sets off to Kilmeray, determined to unravel the mystery. Not surprisingly, most of the island's inhabitants prove less than forthcoming, one exception being hunky farmer Will Morrison, to whom Maggie feels an instant attraction. Soon, alarming events start to occur, like the night she discovers the mummified corpses of two crows outside her isolated cottage. As Maggie's research gradually makes headway, and her romance with Will heats up, suspense grows with the introduction of a second narrator, whose horrific account unfolds 25 years earlier. Despite the pace occasionally dragging, this ghost story ultimately packs a gale-force wallop. Johnstone is a writer to watch.
Gothic Thriller Fans - Add this to your TBR!
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I really struggled to get through “The Blackhouse.” While I very much enjoyed the premise, I thought the middle part of the book drug on too long, losing my attention.
Ultimately, I was entranced the final few chapters, as Johnstone brought the plot to its conclusion. Dark, tragic & nerve-wracking, I finally hit my stride with the book & was anxious to see the fates of Maggie, Will, Robert & the rest of the island. If you’re a fan of gothic thrillers, I would recommend giving this book a spot on your TBR.