The story starts with a man being washed up on a sandy beach – he has no idea of who he is or what happened to him. Gradually he finds out more about himself – his name is Neal MacLean and he is living on an island in the Outer Hebrides. He seems to be writing a book about the strange disappearance of the lighthouse keepers from the Flannan Isles in 1900. However there are no clues about him in his cottage and no evidence on his computer to show that he is writing a book.
The book shifts to Edinburgh where we are introduced to a rebellious teenage girl called Karen whose father committed suicide two years previously. She suspects that he is still alive and sets out to find him.
A third mystery involves a dead body found on the largest of the Flannan Isles. The local detective from Stornoway has to find out who the man is and who killed him.
I found the book fascinating as the book moved between the different stories. The description of Neil’s frustration as he cannot remember anything about himself was heartrending, especially when he thinks he may have killed the man on the island. At one point in the book Neil says that without a past he has no present and without a present he can have no future.
As in all Peter May’s books, the descriptions are vivid and the story moves along at a good pace. The three mysteries do gradually come together although I did not see the ending coming!
As this book is set in Scotland it will also qualify for the Read Scotland 2016 Challenge although it is not one of the books on my list.