Peter May's 'The Blackhouse' chosen for Richard and Judy's Autumn Book Club
Peter May's intense, psychological thriller "The Blackhouse" has just been chosen for the Autumn 2011 collection of the Richard and Judy Book Club.
The Richard and Judy Book Club - the UK's equivalent of the Oprah Book Club in America - is run by husband and wife TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan in conjunction with WH Smith booksellers. It has a powerful influence on the UK book-buying public and is responsible for millions of copies of books sold in the last year alone.
"The Blackhouse", Peter May's chilling and atmospheric tale set on the Isle of Lewis in the remote Outer Hebrides, reached the top twenty of the UK hardback best sellers list in its second week of publication in February this year and has been praised by the UK literary critics.
It was described as "melancholy"
"[May's] finest work... an impeccably written murder thriller" by Daily Express;
"A chilling setting for a gripping novel... impressive writing" by The Times (London);
"400 pages of pitch-perfect dialogue and creepy, spine-tingling storytelling."
"an outstanding thriller that is as dark and chilling as the stormy Scottish seas on a winter's night" by The Daily Record;
and "a dark, evocative tale (...) beautifully-
Rocky Road to Success
"The Blackhouse", however, had a rocky road to success. It was turned down initially by all the major UK publishers. Although they were unanimous about the quality of the story and the writing, corporate publishers favour the simplistic formulaic thriller for ease of marketing, and "The Blackhouse" was too difficult to pigeonhole. It languished then on May's hard-drive for several years while he wrote other books, until his French publisher read it and made an immediate offer for world rights. The novel's dark psychological drama combined with a crime story appealed to the French love of "roman noir" or "dark novels", where thrillers and literary novels with complex themes cross, and quality of writing is appreciated.
"The Blackhouse" was immediately declared "a masterpiece"
Quercus - Publisher of the Year 2011
Back in the UK, "The Blackhouse" was discovered in the French version by the relatively young publishing house, Quercus - a company enjoying a stellar rise to success thanks to its ability to spot talented writers and fresh, exciting writing. Combining risk-taking with trust in their editors' astute judgment and with a gift for breaking the marketing mould and spotting books that readers will love (Quercus published Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy) and was the fastest-growing trade publisher in the UK last year with sales rising 133%. Established as recently as 2004, it was named as Publisher of the Year in 2011.
Competition for the Richard and Judy Book Club is fierce, with all the major UK publishing houses offering their current titles for consideration. The titles are selected from a long list, compiled after going through a rigorous selection process, which Richard and Judy (alongside a group of book industry experts) read before settling on the final selection of books.
Richard and Judy interviewed Peter May to discuss his book and the video will be available at http://www.whsmith.co.uk/
A Murder: A brutal killing has taken place on Scotland’s most remote island. Detective Fin MacLeod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born MacLeod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.
A Secret: Something lurks beneath the close-knit, God-fearing façade of the Lewis community. Something primal. As Fin investigates, old secrets are unearthed, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.
The Blackhouse is a crime novel of rare power and vision. Peter May has crafted a page-turning murder mystery that explores the darkness in our soul, and just how difficult it is to escape the past.
Find out more about Peter May and "The Blackhouse" here: http://www.petermay.co.uk
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Peter May is the author of several standalone novels and two series: the award-winning China Thrillers,and the critically-acclaimed Enzo Files. He is the recipient of two French book prizes, the latest for his best-selling, "The Blackhouse", the 1st of his new Lewis Trilogy set in the Scottish archipelago - the Outer Hebrides.