The Blackhouse, Carole Johnstone

A white house sits upside down at the top of the cover, over a roaring sea with dark skies.

About the Book

A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.

Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.

For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray—a place she’d never visited—had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.

Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth.

Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.

Book Links


My Thoughts

From a young age, Maggie was sure she was someone else, a man from Kilmeray. Her insistence gains national attention, allowing her mother to take her there to prove Maggie is who she says she is. But, unfortunately, they leave disappointed, as no such man exists. Over the years, some memories have faded, but still, Kilmeray stays in her mind. So when her mother dies, she heads back to Blairmore, to the community that didn’t want them there and a past riddled with secrets.

I was on a blog tour for Johnstone’s previous release, Mirrorland, and adored the book. So I’m pleased to say that she did not disappoint with The Blackhouse.

This book is so atmospheric, you’re completely immersed in the setting. The inhabitants don’t want Maggie there, and they’re shady as heck, making it hard for her to know who to trust. She’s bipolar and scared that some of the shady happenings are due to herself, and not her surroundings. The multi-layered storyline has varying timelines that weave Maggie and Robert together across the years. Books that take place in such small towns don’t always unfold at a breakneck speed, which suits the book perfectly.

If you read multiple books at once, I recommend saving time and temporarily abandoning the others because you won’t want to put this down. The atmosphere, the shady characters, the creeptacular setting, and history, with the mystery element, come together beautifully. This is such a fun and addicting read.

Thank you, Scribner, for sending along a digital ARC.

Review also on Goodreads and Bookbub.


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