4 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Ann Cleeves for giving me this book after telling me the copies of her work I found in my local library weren’t worth reading. True story. 😉
This is the first book in the Shetland series and so quite different from the Vera series I had been reading. But it still includes the obvious love and connection the author has with the land she is writing about. I’d not known a heck of a lot about the Shetlands before ‘Raven Black’ (my knowledge only went as far as Hamish Macbeth’s Sunderland). Loved it. Such a well described and alien world to the tropical Northern Australia I grew up in. Makes me want to go there, visit its harshness, remoteness and cold, cold atmosphere. It takes a good author to make me want to travel and visit the places they describe.
The plot is good. The characters as well developed as those I’ve read in other works by Ms Cleeves. They are relatable and easy to ‘get to know’, so to speak, as the story evolves.
This is also not a cosy crime – for those of you who read my reviews and known I’m a cosy crime junkie – this is proper crime fiction. It is real life, raw and not hidden by ‘cosy’ antics. Not that it is overly graphic in a negative way; or gruesome or anything like that. It is just the real here and now and not the quirky sarcastic cosy crime world I tend to read. I think it’s what makes the characters so relatable, as it is writing obviously drawn from real life experiences woven into the crime drama of the plot.
And as much as I am the sort of person who guesses (correctly I might add) ‘whodunit’ early on, I was wrong with this book and didn’t see it coming. I loved that too. I was outfoxed, and the true killer – and why -was so obvious and plausible I should have realised it sooner.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. I am a huge fan of the many genres of crime fiction and feel if you like the true crime stuff, old or new, you will like this book and – no doubt – the series.
Would I buy this book for myself? Well, as I already own a paper copy I don’t need to. But I do intend on buying the rest of the Shetland series as I’ve enjoyed it so much. I want to see how the character of Perez grows; I want to see more of the Shetlands through his adventures.
In summary: If you’re a fan of crime fiction, true crime and the like, you will like this book. It is well written, brings the world in which it is set to life and makes for a good, not so cosy, read.
Until next time,