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Dead Water: A Shetland Mystery (Shetland Island Mysteries, 5) Paperback – February 17, 2015
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Ann Cleeves returns to her critically acclaimed Shetland Island series, now a BBC television show available on streaming.
Dead Water is the next stunning mystery featuring Inspector Jimmy Perez, who readers will remember from Raven Black, White Nights, Red Bones, and Blue Lightning. When the body of a journalist is found, Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is drafted from outside to head up the investigation. Inspector Jimmy Perez has been out of the loop, but his local knowledge is needed in this case, and he decides to help Willow.
The dead journalist had left the islands years before to pursue his writing career. In his wake, he left a scandal involving a young girl. When Willow and Jimmy dig deeper, they realize that the journalist was chasing a story that many Shetlanders didn't want to come to the surface.
In Dead Water, a triumphant continuation to her Shetland series, Ann Cleeves cements her place as one of Britain's most successful crime writers.
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“Nothing short of riveting.” ―Louise Penny
“Creates a dark enough mood to keep you straining to see what will come to light next.” ―People
“In true Christie fashion, Cleeves once more pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction.” ―Colin Dexter
“Gripping from start to finish.” ―Booklist
“Deserves the top crime writer's prize in the United States this year. Don't miss this standout.” ―Rocky Mountain News
“A riveting read.” ―Val McDermid
“If you're a fan of Frances Fyfield, Minette Walters, or Val McDermid, get to know Cleeves.” ―The Globe and Mail (UK)
About the Author
ANN CLEEVES is the multi-million copy bestselling author behind three hit television series―Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, Vera, starring Academy Award Nominee Brenda Blethyn, and The Long Call, starring Ben Aldridge―all of which are watched and loved in the United States. All three are available on BritBox.
The first Shetland novel, Raven Black, won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for best crime novel, and Ann was awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger in 2017. She was awarded the OBE in 2022 for services to reading and libraries. Ann lives in the United Kingdom.
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (February 17, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250060958
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250060952
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.45 x 1.2 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #280,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I was very anxious about Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez - is he able to come to grips with his grief after losing his finance Fran? I am so fond of this strong, quiet, thoughtful character that I didn’t want to see him moody, devastated by grief and self-loathing, turning to drink and wasting his investigative skills by leaving the force. But I needn’t worry. Though Jimmy Perez is on the brink of despair, he is slowly brought back to the force when local boy turned hot-shot London journalist, Jerry Markham, is murdered. A new ‘boss’, Willow Reeves, is brought to Lerwick to take charge of the case and DI Reeves and Sandy Wilson encourage Jimmy to help with the investigation.
Once again, the main character of the book is the Shetland Islands, its culture and inhabitants.
DI Jimmy Perez, though much gloomier, lethargic and grief-stricken, slowly comes to life again as he helps to peel away, layer by layer, the personalities and secrets of the Islanders.
I think that DI Willow Reeves is a great new character (very complex) and I keep rooting for Sandy Wilson to mature and gain self-confidence. The procurator fiscal has always seemed a distant, smug, arrogant, cold fish sort of character and while I am glad to see she has a human side, I won’t be sorry to see her head South to a new job.
The mystery is so well-developed and the characters so multi-layered and complex that I didn’t want to put the book down until the very end. The ending surprised me - I had a different scenario worked out in my head.
A brilliant mystery; a fantastic ‘sense of place’ and inspired investigative work by all the team. Ms. Reeves’ insights at the very beginning of the case bear remembering.
Procurator Fiscal - a public prosecutor in Scotland
I’ll be honest: I’m only here reading this series because of 3 things: the television show; the Shetland Islands; and Douglas Henshall. Cleeves does one thing really well: leaves you parked inside just a few characters in detail whilst the events unfold all round. Might be the murderer; might not, but the deep dips into the individual gestures, thoughts and habits from an individual and isolated perspective in the story is good stuff.
But anomalies like the foregoing produce an exponentially negative effect on my enjoyment. Like every mystery/detective reader, I go for the clues, the details, with the expectation that the author is in full possession of them themselves and is leaving me a path of speculation, discovery. Little things like that might hide bigger things, so I become suspect of the author, and I’m disappointed it’s happened with Ann Cleeves. In Red Bones an even less significant anomaly takes place in a single scene involving the clothing the character of Sophie was wearing in the Pier House Bar. It changes.
All up, going to Shetland this way is atmospheric and largely engaging. Cleeves has her occasional moments with the literarily satisfying. But reading these books has mostly increased my admiration for the television team, its careful, selective script writers; its sublime cinematography; and Douglas Henshall. The elegant economy of his Perez has more in it than pages of indulgent descriptions from the book.
Too much boring detail about energy sources, too many characters, most with dull jobs, too many interviews that felt pointless. The interplay between Jimmy Perez and the new woman inspector from Inverness was mildly interesting. The secret affairs from the past contributed some prurient interest. But the investigation felt slow. The motive for murder seemed questionable.
And I found Perez’s moodiness and moping irritating. Maybe I’m still mad at him for letting his fiancée get murdered in the last book. I liked Fran.
But I may continue with the series. If Perez stops brooding, the next book might be okay. I’ll have to check the reviews.
I said it was sad because the everyone involved in the murders has made bad decisions of varying degrees of awfulness and each is living (or dying) with implications of those decisions as a consequence. So the story is a bit of a morality tale, but I suppose most well-written murder mysteries fall into that category. The art in this one is that Ms. Cleeves tells the story in a way that doesn't lose sight of the fact that life is glorious even if bad things happen. A very enjoyable read.
Top reviews from other countries
[Spoiler ahead] Other reviewers have commented that they preferred the character of Jimmy Perez in love to the damaged depressed bereaved Jimmy Perez that Cleves gives us in this book. But in love or depressed it seems to me that Cleves' writing and the story were better this time around for spending less time on Perez's personal life, OK there were some bits of moping and details of childcare arrangements, but the balance has swung towards investigating. [Spoiler over]
As ever Cleves paints such an evocative picture of the wild Shetland landscape, this time in particular the North Mainland where most of the action takes place, the temperamental weather that almost forms a character in its own right, and the strange characters that populate the islands, but I do find myself asking is there anyone normal in Shetland?
Without giving away any spoilers (!), the book finds Perez in a depressive state, following events in the previous book. For some reason, this aspect of the book jarred, and the plot was slow, meandering, and frankly quite boring in places. The ending was also unsatisfactory - the motive for the murders was just too implausible.
I will continue, and read the remaining 2 books I have left, and hope that they get better, rather than worse, than this one.
Great shame though that the author elected to turn Perez into a depressive following his (IMHO entirely unnecessary) bereavement in the previous book. Think of the lead detective in BBC TV Wales "Hinterland" series; I gave up watching that as a result. Why do crime writers think they have to make their main character a flawed genius? Perez in love was a lot better.