This final plot in the trilogy set on the island of Lewis featuring former policeman Fin MacLeod works perfectly well as a standalone novel. Although, newcomers will have plenty of backstory to assimilate but be assured it is neatly woven in the narrative that you will not feel lost at all. This is a story of love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal.
In a nut shell, Fin’s new job is head of security and is handed the job to putting a stop to poachers on a private estate. The main suspect is Whistler, his oldest friend. Their friendship is tested when the pair stumbles onto a light aircraft at the bottom of a dry drain with its pilot dead at the helm. The police is called to investigate the crash, Fin’s finds himself at the centre of it all. Rivalries, secrets and wrong-doing begin to surface…..and makes for quite an interesting read.
Mr. May shifts action back and forth and uses flashbacks as the story unfolds in both past and present. The story is good but what set it aside from others is how talented the author is in creating the sense of place for his readers in order to be absorbed into the life of his characters and into the landscape of the Hebrides. “The Chessmen” is good mystery novel with several obvious holes in the plot. Although Fin does find some resolution for the past tragedy, enough is left unsaid letting you wonder if really this is the end. This contrived ending has left me somewhat unsatisfied.