Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

15th December 2021.

Wow, what an amazing read, with such a powerful and emotional ending, beautifully written. It proves that crime fiction isn’t simply about murders and police procedures. Like any memorable story, it’s about the characters, the relationships and the background.

In this case, it’s Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector born on Fair Isle in the Shetlands. He’s a complex, thoughtful character, who takes his time and thinks things through before making a move. He knows the islands, their people, the myths and legends, the gossip. And when he investigates a murder, he uncovers the secrets.

In this fourth outing in the series, he’s back home, introducing his fiancée, Fran, to his family, to the crofter’s life he left behind. He has a week off. He doesn’t mind the storm that will isolate the place for days. It’s the murder at the bird observatory he could do without. When the body of a famous bird watcher and TV presenter is found stabbed, Perez is on his own – no crime scene or forensic back up – just his wits and skills as a detective.

At least the killer’s also trapped.

The investigation moves slowly. With the number of visitors and regulars at the observatory, there are plenty of suspects, plenty of secrets to uncover. There’s also Fran and his family to consider. It’s not long before he’s feeling the pressure of too many late nights, of working alone.

The tension builds as more and more motives are uncovered. The pressure to solve the case increases when a second murder is committed. How is it linked to the first? Is anyone else in danger? How can he protect everyone?

And then that superlative ending, catching me completely by surprise.

If you haven’t read Ann Cleeves, you’re missing so much from one the UK’s best and most consistent authors. If you haven’t read any book sin this series, start at the beginning and enjoy the sumptuous stories, the characters and the wonderfully bleak but beautiful islands that make up the Shetlands.


A remote island on lockdown. A killer on the loose . . .

Shetland detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to Fair Isle to introduce his fiancée to his parents. With the autumn storms raging, the island is cut off from the rest of the world.

Then a woman’s body is discovered at the renowned bird observatory, with feathers threaded through her hair. Perez has no support from the mainland and must investigate the old-fashioned way. He soon realizes that this is no crime of passion – but a murder of cold and calculated intention.

There’s no way off the island until the storms abate – and so the killer is also trapped, just waiting for the opportunity to strike again.

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

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