Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

16th November 2021.

The first novel in the Shetland series introduces Jimmy Perez, a measured, reassuring detective, who understands the community he lives in. As someone who’s come from Fair Isle, he’s still a bit of an outsider, but like all the main characters in the novel, the author makes sure you get to know him well.

It’s a beautifully crafted story that follows the murder of Catherine Ross, a self-assured English girl who didn’t care what others thought of her. One morning, neighbour Fran, finds Catherine’s body in the snow. Fran later finds the body of Catriona after a landslip in the same area. Catriona disappeared eight years ago, but her body was never found.

The murder of Catherine stirs up memories of Catriona and quiet, simple Magnus who lives nearby. Though never arrested or charged, locals believe he killed Catriona. Perez wants to keep an open mind, especially when a team of detectives is sent over from the mainland to assist.

Slowly, piece by piece, the investigation digs into Catherine’s life and the past. You see how all the key players in the community are affected by the murders. The characters are vividly portrayed and each has a story to tell and a motive that makes them a suspect. The setting and its effect on the locals is equally well portrayed.

The suspense and tension builds towards an unexpected climax when more of Catherine’s life and goals are unearthed. When Perez confronts the killer, everything fits and you wonder how you didn’t spot it before.

This is storytelling at its finest and I’m already looking forward to the second book in the series.


A remote community with a killer in their midst . . .

On New Year’s Day Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter’s eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance . . .

The body is found close to the home of a lonely outcast and local suspicion falls firmly on him. But when Inspector Jimmy Perez insists on broadening the search for suspects, a veil of distrust and fear is thrown over the entire community. As the case develops Perez finds himself peering deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

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