cover image The Chessmen

The Chessmen

Peter May. Quercus, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62365-604-1

The final volume of May’s darkly lyrical trilogy, set largely on the remote Hebridean Isle of Lewis, works better as a standalone, given that plot threads and characters integral to its two predecessors, The Blackhouse (2012) and The Lewis Man (2014), are all but forgotten. Former Edinburgh police detective Fin Macleod, now living back in his birthplace of Lewis and working as the head of security at a sprawling estate, is tasked with stopping the widespread poaching of salmon. One local poacher happens to be a childhood friend, and he and Macleod witness a rare “bog burst,” where a lake drains itself dry, in a remote area of the island. At the bottom of the dried loch, they find an airplane, which a Celtic rock star and mutual friend was flying 17 years earlier when he disappeared. A story line that strains credibility coupled with a contrived ending may leave fans of the earlier installments unsatisfied. (Feb.)