(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Red Bones, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Shetland books. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)
Hattie James, an English post-graduate student working on a PhD in archaeology, is as surprised as anyone when she discovers human remains at her Whalsay dig site. The locals are intrigued—is this an ancient skeleton or one with a more recent pedigree? When an old woman is killed nearby, accidental though the death seems to be, the spot seems cursed. Not long after, Hattie's dead body is discovered in one of the trenches at the site. Everyone knew the intense young woman loved Shetland—did she commit suicide so she'd never have to leave it?
Three deaths in the same locale cannot be coincidental. Detective Jimmy Perez knows there's something more to the story. But what? What did Hattie dig up? Did her discovery lead to her death? Perez is determined to find out whose bones were buried at the site and what, if anything, they had to do with the other deaths. In the process, he'll discover lurid secrets kept bottled up by tight-lipped islanders. Can he use this insider's knowledge to crack the puzzling case? With his girlfriend away in London, Perez has all the time in the world to solve it ... or does he?
Red Bones, the third book in Ann Cleeves' mystery series set in the Shetland Islands, is another compelling, atmospheric thriller. Blending an intriguing plot with complex characters and fascinating glimpses at island culture, it's an engrossing read. Although the story builds slowly, it's never boring. I cared about its people and was surprised by the identity of the killer. I've enjoyed the first three books in the Shetland series; I can't wait to see what happens in the last four.
(Readalikes: Other books in the Shetland series [Raven Black; White Nights; Blue Lightning; Dead Water; Thin Air; and Cold Earth]; also reminds me of Peter May's Scottish thrillers)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (one F-bomb, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and mild sexual content
To the FTC, with love: Another library