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Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 362 customer reviews

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Length: 388 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

On the remote island of Shetland, teacher Fran Hunter is walking home when she spots a splash of red in the deep, white snowdrifts, with black ravens flying above. What a perfect picture it makes, she thinks. But on closer inspection, she finds that the "perfect picture" is the dead body of local teenager Catherine Ross, whose red scarf has been used to strangle her. Suspicion immediately falls on recluse Magnus Tait, who was accused--but never convicted--of kidnapping another girl eight years earlier. Policeman Jimmy Perez, assigned to the case, isn't convinced of Magnus' guilt. As he investigates, he uncovers a web of sinister secrets, strange superstitions, petty rivalries, thwarted love, and illicit affairs--the dark underbelly of Shetland's tight-knit community. Cleeves offers up a dark, brutal, suspenseful page-turner that will keep even seasoned mystery buffs guessing right up to the end. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 693 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 24, 2008
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00413QAAQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,143 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Have you ever read a new-to-you author and wondered what on earth took you so long to discover them? RAVEN BLACK is Ann Cleeves 19th novel and I'm wondering why I wasn't aware of her before now. She has two series and a number of stand-alones to her name.

RAVEN BLACK is the first of a planned quartet of books set on the Island of Shetland, one of a large group of small islands to the North of Scotland of which only fifteen are inhabited. It's a small place, easily cut off from the rest of the world if the weather is bad. Everyone knows everyone else and people feel comfortable going out and leaving their house unlocked. This sense of security is shattered when sixteen-year-old Catherine Ross is found one cold January morning lying in the snow, strangled to death with her own scarf. The obvious suspect is old Magnus Tait who everyone knows isn't "the full shilling". Magnus lives alone in the cottage of his late mother and was the prime suspect a number of years earlier when a young girl named Catriona disappeared.

Detective Jimmy Perez is the first investigator on the scene. He grew up on the neighbouring Fair Isle and is familiar with the locals and the way of life. Determined to get a head start before the Senior officer and his team arrive from Aberdeen on the mainland<. ,> Jimmy begins to question the locals. Luckily for Jimmy his senior officer, the driven energizer-bunny Inspector Taylor, is wise enough to recognize that Jimmy's local knowledge is an asset and allows him to have his head. Together they try to unravel the inter-connecting relationships and secrets to discover who killed Catherine.

RAVEN BLACK works well on a number of levels. First off it's a first-class whodunit. All the clues are there if you can figure it out (I didn't).
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Format: Hardcover
This mystery is set in the Shetland Islands which gives it a different and somewhat mystical air from the start. But far better than the setting are the plot and the characters.

There is not a cut-out character in this book. From the retarded old man/prime suspect to the police inspector to the single mother divorcee, the teens, one of their mothers and on and on. Every character is drawn with complexity. They are likeable and detestable and they all draw the reader in from the outset. "Knowing" so many characters in a book is rare and makes for a rich novel whether or not it is mystery.

The plot, too, is terrific. Immediately upon the discovery of the body, the town suspects the old man since the population has always "known" he abducted a girl years before. It's a bit too obvious, or so the inspector thinks. As characters enter the scene, every one waves a flag of suspicion. There is motive and opportunity aplenty. Until the very end there is suspense and mystery.

This is a great mystery that deserves the awards that Ms Cleeves won. The police inspector is such a great character - intelligent, calm, conflicted in his personal life (without dark cynicism so popular these days) - that I hope Ms Cheeves brings him out in another novel.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I find a book like this, I want to share my enjoyment with the world of readers. It was truly one of the best I've read in a long time. From the first sentence to the last, it held my interest. I've never been to the Shetland Islands but I feel as though I have now. And, the psychological element of the characters is intriguing. Motives for the murders abound, and just when you think you know who the killer is, you're surprised at the ending. Ms. Cleeves has a wonderful writing style. She gives us a cold, but beautiful island populated by people who bring their inner demons to this isolated spot of the world. I'm eager to read more of this author's work.
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Format: Hardcover
I had temporarily forgotten about Ann Cleeves and that was ungrateful of me because for several years she provided me with hours of rich entertainment. Moreover I once had the pleasure of observing her serving on a panel of writers at a mystery writers' convention (London, 1990). I do not remember the other three panellists, but the total and very entertaining illusion that I was watching an extraordinarily bright, witty sixth former, barely subduing her amusement at the whole business, lives on. She began by writing stories based around `twitchers' - UK-speak for birdwatchers - which were as informed by insider experience as they were well plotted and well furnished with interesting characters. `Twitchers' visit many interesting haunts around the British Isles so it was a well-conceived basis for a series infused with a strong sense of place. Then she launched a new series centred in Northumbria with a regular police inspector to solve her mysteries. These I found even more successful. Now she turns up nineteen novels later with Raven Black, set in the Shetland Islands. Ann Cleeves' sense of place is as strong as ever and I suspect that any readers who have longed to retire from it all among the hills and wild beaches of Shetland will find this book a bracing douche of reality. However, to each their own. Some years earlier a young girl vanished and a local, slightly retarded, loner was suspected, even more by the community than the police. Now Catherine, a sixteen year old schoolgirl, who with her only friend, Sally, had recently called at the earlier suspect's cottage, is found dead with ravens pecking her viciously. Inspector Perez arrives from Lerwick. He is not in charge of the case, but is the local man and the man in the field.Read more ›
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