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White Nights: A Thriller (Shetland Island Mysteries) Paperback – June 9, 2009

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White Nights: A Thriller (Shetland Island Mysteries) + Red Bones: A Thriller (Shetland Island Mysteries) + Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet (Shetland Island Mysteries)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Dagger-winner Cleeves's uneven second installment in her Shetland Island quartet (after Raven Black), Insp. Jimmy Perez sees a stranger sobbing in front of a painting at an art exhibit featuring the work of Perez's new girlfriend, Fran Hunter, and mythic local painter Bella Sinclair. Claiming to be suffering from amnesia, the unknown man disappears before Perez can question him further, but turns up dead that same night, hanged in a fishing shed. In his investigation, Perez focuses on Bella, whose talent is matched by her penchant for drama and extravagant parties. When another body turns up, Perez must sift through generations of closely guarded island secrets to find the truth. Despite characters as vivid as those in Raven Black, Cleeves struggles to sustain a suspenseful plot, which slows to a crawl in the middle and packs too much action at the end. Still, this slight misstep shouldn't deter fans of the introspective Perez from looking forward to Cleeves's next thriller. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Everyone is a bit mad during midsummer in the Shetland Islands, they say. Detective Jimmy Perez (making his second appearance, following last year’s Raven Black, in what Cleeves bills as the Shetland Island Quartet) is unsettled with the prospect of a new romance. Meanwhile, Perez’s love interest, an artist, is a shambles at the prospect of having her work exhibited for the first time at a local gallery opening. But these small anxieties pale beside the spectacle of a man who falls to his knees, weeping, in front of a painting at the exhibit. This same man, a tourist, is later found hanged in a fishing hut, his face obscured by a clown mask. Cleeves knows how to do eerie—from the clown mask motif that moves disturbingly throughout the novel, to her depiction of the rough beauty of the Shetland Islands, and all the way through her plotting, which mixes the disturbingly dreamlike with the realistically grotesque. Gripping from start to finish. --Connie Fletcher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Shetland Island Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312384424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312384425
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By cait VINE VOICE on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"White Nights" is the second in what the author calls her "Shetland Island Quartet" and that is a grand thing. Grand because now I know I can go back and read the first in the series, Raven Black, and still have two more to book forward to in the future. Excellent!

Police Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his friend, Fran Hunter are about to go to an art showing at a local gallery in the town of Biddista. For Perez, he hopes this will be the chance to find out if their relationship will move beyond friendship in the future, for Fran, the first gallery showing of her art. But things are not to go smoothly. Few people show up for the show, a bizarre stranger causes a scene, and the next morning, the same man is found dead, hanging in a storage building on the beach. Although there was an attempt to make it look otherwise, the death was certainly murder and all the people connected with the small seaside community are suspect in the investigation, carried on by Perez and later, the Inverness police team brought in, headed by Inspector Roy Taylor.

The atmosphere of the book is engaging. Summer in the islands, because of the latitude, has only a few hours of dusty night each day and the constant light is said to have a crazy effect on people. Combine that with the constant presence of the sea, the treeless windswept hills, dotted with sheep, the fog off shore, always threatening to roll in once again, and the Shetlands themselves are almost like another character in the story.

Not to say that the characters themselves are not very good, because they are. Yes, it is a small community where many people are related and, if not, have often known each others all their lives.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Moran VINE VOICE on November 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the second novel in a projected Shetland Islands Quartet, succeeding Cleeves's award winning "Raven Black." Again the lead character is Jimmy Perez, the local detective inspector. An unknown Englishman seemingly collapses into weeping at the opening of a Shetland art exhibition. When Jimmy takes him in tow, he has no identification and claims total amnesia. The next day his body is found hung in a fishing hut on a nearby jetty. A seeming suicide is soon identified as murder. This brings highly aggressive Detective Chief Inspector Roy Taylor to Lerwick from Inverness to lead the investigation, just as he did in "Raven Black."

The two cops could not be more different, but both play a part in solving the crimes. Taylor is abrasive and abrupt. Perez is unfailingly polite and gains information through patient inquiry, exploring relationships as he goes.

And relationships are at the heart of this book. The stories emerge from them: Relationships among the characters, relationships from the past affecting the present, even relationships between the people and the land itself. The nature of the relationships is determined, almost predetermined, by the deepest natures of the characters involved. Vanity, pride, ego and fear certainly play their parts, but love and its close cousin desire, thwarted, spurned and fulfilled, are what drive events. The crimes and their solutions are the natural outcomes of the relationships.

The writing here is as low key as Perez, quiet and almost gentle as it moves the story along to its devastating conclusion. The characters are realistic and well drawn, quite believable and convincing in every respect. If you like slam-bang crime novels with gunfire echoing on the page, this is not for you. But if you want a novel that explores how what is human in all of us can sometimes produce evil, and then explores its devastating consequences, you can't do better than this.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on May 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mysteries are not my genre. The few I've started in recent years were written like TV dramas (stock characters and more action than nuance), so I've put them down. I picked this one for its setting and was pleasantly surprised.

Writer Ann Cleeves held my attention for two days as I followed Jimmy Perez on the mystery trail. Cleeves created excellent characters, people whom you'd realistically expect to live in the Shetland Islands. She has a good sense of timing, introducing people, their history, and their relationships to each other at a pace the reader can digest.

The setting is an isolated but sophisticated town with crofting and tourism as its economic mainstays.

The plot unfolds with character driven clues along the way. You have ideas, but are not sure what happened until the last pages when all the pieces come together.

There is a particularly nice interplay between the local detective, Perez, and his boss from "the city", Taylor.

My only criticism is the punctuation. Quotations are set off by only one mark and not the conventional two (that is, ' and not "). Periods are left off abbreviations which my eye wanted to see.

There were some Scottish and British expressions. Most like "collect my daughter" were easily deciphered, but I couldn't figure out or find them all - for instance, what is a "voe"?

I highly recommened this for mystery readers. Those who aren't into mysteries, but appreciate a good story, will enjoy this too.
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