Fancy a little trip from Paris to the most remote places in Scotland? Welcome!
This unbiased review is my thanks to Quercus Books for inviting me to read and share my opinion on I’ll Keep You Safe.
Title: I’ll Keep You Safe
Author: Peter May
Date of publication: January 11th 2018
Number of pages: 448
From Peter May, the globally bestselling author of the Lewis Trilogy and Coffin Road, comes an explosive new thriller set between the UK and Europe – I’ll Keep You Safe.
Husband and wife, Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane have come a long way with their cloth company, Ranish Tweed, from their small Hebridean home to the world of high fashion. But on a business trip to Paris, cracks in their relationship start to appear. When Niamh receives an anonymous email informing her of Ruairidh’s affair, she is distraught. Only hours later Ruairidh is killed by a car bomb, leaving Niamh’s life in ruins. And when the police declare Niamh as the prime suspect in her husband’s death, her life as she knows it ceases to exist. When Niamh is allowed back to her home on the Isle of Lewis to return her husband’s remains, she is followed by French detective, Sylvie Braque. As Braque digs deeper into the couple’s relationship and Niamh replays her life with Ruiairidh, distant memories resurface and past feuds are reignited. As the past and present move closer together the two women find themselves drawn to a killer who will not back down.
I like diving into a story without knowing much about its author. Well, I did know Peter May was among the to-read names, but I had no idea why.
Now, I know!
What a bloody brilliant writing style! Excuse my language, but there are no other ways for me to express just how the gentle, beautiful, and precise crafting of each sentence has made me fall in love with everything else in the book! I was swept off my feet by the words. I felt like putting on the most expensive Burberry trench coat and parading with it on my shoulders. The standard level of Peter May’s prose is so high it makes your head think you’re cleverer just reading it, yet the style never becomes too complex, the chosen words never make you stop and check in the dictionary, taking you out of the story. The narration flows smoothly, seemingly easy but oh so researched to make sure to reach the reader.
The story itself begins with a blast! What a blast, should I say! You’re only beginning to form a picture of what life is for the protagonists when Peter May shuffles the cards and throws you into a slow-burning, emotion-filled, story of love and doubts, plans and danger. The quick and nervous beginning give way to a long and treacherous path to Scotland, with a widow going down memory lane and the French police doing their best to shut a mysterious case.
“It’s not death I need help with, it’s life.”
Now that I have mentioned both settings, I should say the author really captured the essence of Scotland, or at least what I think its essence is. I could not help wishing I was there, on one of its remote islands, me against Mother nature, surrounded by the merciless water and cliffs. Every image was striking, so real I could feel the cold wind in my hair. I wanted to move there and read by a fire, learn about this fascinating Gaelic language, eat like an islander, read by the fire when the roads are blocked by the weather. I can honestly say Peter May planted a Scottish seed in my heart.
As for France, I could picture myself in Paris. Well, I don’t like to because I prefer Bordeaux, still I admire the way the author used local elements to give a French taste to this story. I can’t even call them clichés, he only used the actual ideas most people have of Paris when they don’t live there (holidays make cities look better than they are!!!). I was both surprised and glad to meet our French detective, she was not just a nice item put in because she had to. She was a true character, with a family life, a crazy job, and a real purpose. And my mom’s name, which was nice… Sort of! (Read the book to know what I mean!!)
Talking about characters, they were the actual field of investigation. As I turned the pages, I realized this was not any crime story. Character development and background were the core of the book, and the investigation just fit right in, giving us a reason to search through the mud, dig into old scars and feuds. I’ll Keep You Safe is driven by the need to explore how deeply rooted emotions can be and what they can make us do. They are at the very foundation of our decisions. Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane learn it the hard way.
“They say when trust is gone, love is dead.”
I love a naughty husband, and I joined Niamh’s side with delight, ready to uncover her beloved one’s mistakes. But the story is far more complicated than this, and to a couple’s hardships is added stranded family relations, two-faced friends, and the reality of loneliness, which echoes so perfectly with the Scottish setting.
I’ll Keep You Safe makes the reader travel both figuratively and literally. Its stunning narration probes the decisions we make and the deadly consequences we face. Although I did find the middle dragging a little too much for my taste, I greatly enjoyed this absolutely atmospheric and electric crime story.
The story will be available January 11th!
Peter May was an award-winning journalist at the age of just twenty-one. He left newspapers for television and screenwriting, creating three prime-time British drama series and accruing more than 1,000 television credits. Peter May’s novels, Entry Island (2014), Runaway (2015), Coffin Road (2016) & were all top 3 Sunday Times bestsellers. He is published in 30 countries and has sold several million copies worldwide. The Lewis Trilogy has sold over 5 million copies in the UK alone. Peter has won numerous awards. In 2013 he won the ‘Best Crime Novel Award’ for ‘The Blackhouse’ at Bouchercon in the US. In September 2014, ‘Entry Island’ won the Deanston Crime Book of the Year and in October 2014 it won the Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read Award. See http://www.petermay.info for more details. Or follow him at @authorpetermay