The Blackhouse: A Novel (Hardcover)
January 2023 Indie Next List
“A highly immersive thriller on an insular and remote Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides. Johnstone uses this wild ‘thin place’ (where the division between this world and the next is porous) to great effect — she clearly knows her stuff.”
— Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA
From the author of the “dark and devious...beautifully written” (Stephen King) Mirrorland comes an “atmospheric, thrilling, and utterly captivating” (Booklist) gothic tale set on a remote Scottish island where the locals are hiding a deadly secret.
Maggie Mackay has been haunted her entire life. No matter what she does, she can’t shake the sense that something is wrong with her. And maybe something is…
When she was five years old, Maggie announced that a man on the remote island of Kilmeray in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides—a place she’d never visited—was murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.
Now, nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to discover what really happened, and what the villagers are hiding. But everyone has secrets, and some are deadly. As she gets closer to the horrifying truth, the island’s legendary and violent storms begin to rage again and Maggie’s own life is in danger…
Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.
About the Author
Carole Johnstone is the award-winning author of the novels Mirrorland and The Blackhouse. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland, although her heart belongs to the wild islands of the Outer Hebrides.
“Fans of Tana French will embrace author Johnstone's skill at weaving supernatural and setting-as-character aspects into her story, and readers of Lisa Jewell will enjoy her unexpected plotting and character development. The caliber of Johnstone's writing and masterful storytelling will delight both. This richly evocative story exists at the point where love, fear, guilt, bad decisions, psychosis, and mythology collide.” —Kirkus, Starred Review
“Atmospheric, thrilling, and utterly captivating.”—Booklist
“A uniquely claustrophobic and disconcerting tale with notes of otherworldliness.” —Book Riot
“Spins Norse legends, Hebridean superstitions, Bronze Age history and canny Scottish wisdom into a deeply absorbing and wildly atmospheric mystery about the dangerous brew of self-loathing, familial duty and guilt. Johnstone cleverly sets revelations, sometimes sinister, always startling, across her plot... the alchemy of place, plot and character is the white-bright light at the core of Johnstone's novel.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[An] eerie gothic thriller... this ghost story ultimately packs a gale-force wallop. Johnstone is a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly
“Read THE BLACKHOUSE with the lights on, wrapped in a cozy blanket... The early spring of the Scottish isle will chill your bones, along with the darkness of the book. It's as unsettling as the ocean in the stormy seas and as enigmatic as the Norse myths that accompany it. And the twists — oh, the twists.” —Book Reporter
“Johnstone fashions a gripping narrative awash with multiple shocks and secrets. A perfect choice for a winter evening, The Blackhousefreezes the blood as it churns the brain.” —Jay Strafford, Fredericksburg Free Lance Star
“Provides pulse-pounding panic.” —Popsugar
“Atmospheric and compelling with an excellent sense of place, this literary thriller is somehow both uplifting and heart-breaking, with some very unexpected twists!” —Catherine Cooper, author of The Chalet and The Chateau
“One of the most atmospheric novels of the year... cements her reputation as a rising queen of the gothic.” —Crime Reads
“One of the best suspense novels of the year... Richly atmospheric, gothic, eerie, and pulse-pounding... Multi-layered and mystical, The Blackhouse will hook you, reel you in, and capture your imagination until the last thrilling twist. —Mystery and Suspense Magazine