Winner of Britain's coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, Ann Cleeves introduces a dazzling new suspense series to U.S. mystery readers.
Raven Black begins on New Year's Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
Set in the remote Scottish Shetland Islands, Cleeves's taut, atmospheric thriller, the first in a new series, will keep readers guessing until the last page. Det. Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of teenage Catherine Ross, found strangled on a snowy hillside shortly after New Year's. While the police and citizens alike are quick to lay the blame on local eccentric Magnus Tait, who was not only the last person to see Catherine alive but also the prime suspect in the disappearance eight years earlier of another girl, Perez has his doubts. He's soon drawn into an intricate web of lies as he unearths the long-buried secrets of everyone from a roguish playboy to Catherine's only school friend. Cleeves, winner of the CWA's Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (formerly the Gold Dagger), masterfully paints Perez as an empathetic hero and sprinkles the story with a lively cast of supporting characters who help bring the Shetlands alive. When the shocking identity of the murderer is revealed, readers will be as chilled as the harsh winds that batter the isolated islands.
Engrossing, with attention to cultural details and individual voices
The book managed to keep my attention, but I had some problems while reading it. I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary detail in the book, details that didn’t really add to the story and made it tedious. I feel like I didn’t need to know the backstory of half of the characters, but maybe that’s just me. Based on the evidence that was given, I understand the author needs to create suspense. But after finding out the conclusion, it was very anti-climatic for me. It just made certain information during the investigation all the more useless. The evidence didn’t bring the story together in the end, it veered off into left field. I also didn’t get the concept of Catherine’s film project. Based on the assignment, the footage she gathered didn’t add up to anything or really make any sense. It was okay overall. Not great but okay.
Good characters and imaginative story