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Monday, November 07, 2016

Shetland Islands Series Opener A Twisty, Atmospheric Mystery

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

New Year's Eve on the Shetland Islands is a time of cheerful celebration.  On hogmanay night, it's a tradition for friends to call on one another, sharing food, drink, and conversation as they ring in the new year together.  For eight years, Magnus Tait has waited for visitors to call on him.  No one ever has.  Until now.  

The next morning, one of those visitors is found dead.  Catherine Ross, a 16-year-old incomer from Yorkshire, has been murdered.  Is slow, reclusive Magnus to blame for her death?  There seems to be no other explanation.

As Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez investigates the crime, he delves far deeper into town history and Shetland's past than is comfortable for the people of Ravenswick.  Will long-buried secrets explain what happened to Catherine Ross?  Is someone willing to kill in order to make sure they never come to light?

There's nothing I like better than a twisty murder mystery set in a rugged, remote location.  Raven Black, the first in Ann Cleeves' series of thrillers set in the Shetland Islands, is exactly that.  With an atmospheric setting, more-than-meets-the-eye characters, and a complex plot, it makes for a very compelling read.  Cleeves' examination of Shetland history/culture enrich the tale, adding to its originality.  While I saw some of its plot surprises coming, I still found Raven Black to be an engrossing, entertaining mystery.  I've already read several more books in the series and definitely plan to catch Shetland, the BBC drama based on them.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books in the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves [White Nights; Red Bones; Blue Lightning; Dead Water; Thin Air; Cold Earth] as well as Sacrifice by Sharon Bolton)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs plus milder expletives), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I have this one but haven't read it yet. Now I must go dig it up as it sounds like my kind of mystery! I love the setting and now need to find the show Shetland.

  2. Once again you intrigue me!


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