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Red Bones: A Thriller (Shetland Island Thrillers) Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews
Book 3 of 7 in the Shetland Series

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
$69.76 $8.05

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Cleeves's excellent third Shetland Island thriller (after White Nights), Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the shooting death of Mima Wilson, the grandmother of Perez's bumbling if well-meaning underling, Sandy Wilson. While some believe Sandy's cousin Ronald accidentally shot Mima late one night near her croft on Whalsay, a small Shetland island, Perez has his doubts. Mima's land is the site of an archeological excavation led by eager Ph.D. student Hattie James, who recently uncovered a skeleton of indeterminate origin. When another body turns up near the dig site, Perez becomes more suspicious, even though the second death is an apparent suicide. With Sandy's help, he begins to unravel a knot of tall tales and family betrayals that stretches back to a WWII resistance movement known as the Shetland Bus. As in the best traditional English village whodunits, the killer lurks among the townspeople, but his or her identity still comes as a shock. (Sept.)
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Review

"Excellent...As in the best traditional English village whodunits, the killer lurks among the townspeople, but his or her identity still comes as a shock."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
 
"Cleeves is expert at depicting hardscrabble island life, parental expectations and disappointments and emotionally charged silences. Thoughtful readers should give Perez a try."
--Kirkus Reviews
 
"Cleeves' latest mystery is travel and entertainment rolled into one.... a suspenseful read."
--RT Book Reviews
 
"Moody and atmospheric ... well-written tale."
--Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Series: Shetland Island Thrillers
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312384343
  • ASIN: B0048EL83W
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,828,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Lancaster on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Note: I have not read any of the other books in the series.

Generally speaking, there are two ways to set up a mystery novel. The first is to give all the relevant facts right at the beginning and then follow the detective as he/she figures out why they are all important and the second is to follow the detective as she/he uncovers clue after clue and slowly builds a picture.

This novel follows neither way. There is no sense of Perez putting facts together to reach the final picture. As a detective he's actually rather passive and just sort of floats through the novel. The fact that there are three only tangentially related plot threads didn't help. I kept hoping that they would all come together in a brilliant fashion but in the end one peters out, one is solved by an unsupported burst of insight from a previously uninsightful character, and the third is the main plot line which I will get back to. All and all, this is more of a description of the Shetland island then it is a mystery novel.

If that were all this would be a three star review, unfortunately, Cleeves then proceeds to commit a major sin of mystery writers in resolving the main plotline. There is a hidden fact that the Detective, Perez, knows that we the reader do not. This fact is revealed only in the final explanation and the book even hides the time Perez spent researching this fact.

This mystery is not resolvable with the presented information.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the third novel in a projected Shetland Islands Quartet, following Cleeves's award winning "Raven Black" and "White Nights."

An archeological dig has started on Whalsay Island where the remains of the oldest house in the area are rumoured to have been. So methodically the team of Hattie James and Sophie are doing a painstakingly slow excavation to see what they can find.

Mima (Jemima) Wilson, the owner of the property, is found dead.. It seems that she was killed by a shotgun presumedly by a rabbit shooter out late at night and not realising what he has hit.

The young father who admits to being out that night late rabbit shooting is horrified. He takes responsibility for the terrible accident. His wife has just given birth. What a terrible situation for this young lovely couple to be in. He feels like the town will shun him. He feels he can't even go to the local pub as he is worried what people would think and he decides to give up alcohol totally. He had been drinking that night.

The Shetland Islands are such a close knit community and everyone knows everyone elses business.

A few days later Hattie James, PhD student and the moving force behind the dig is found in the trench with her wrists slit. Suicide but why did she do it??? It doesn't make sense. Or was it murder?

The pace is steady but not quick, as the layers of this close knit community are peeled away

If you enjoy getting to know real, vulnerable, and interesting characters - then add this book to your shopping cart.
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Format: Hardcover
Shetland Islands Inspector Jimmy Perez returns in this third Shetland Islands novel, Red Bones.

Hattie James is working towards achieving her PhD in archeology. She is currently working on her thesis. If she doesn't find something of interest soon, she will have to pack up the excavation and leave. One of the residents, a woman named Evelyn wants to join the dig. Hattie agrees and her and Evelyn start digging at a practice site. What they dig up will have the whole island in an upheaval.

Mima Wilson is not a very well liked woman. She is judgmental and rude. So when she is found shot to death, her death brings mixed emotions. Inspector Perez can usually keep his work from becoming personal but this time is different. Mima was the grandmother of Perez's assistant, Sandy Wilson. Inspector Perez starts doing some investigating. He wonders if Mima's death and the discovery at the excavation site are somehow connected and if so...who would want Mima dead? This is the million dollar question.

Red Bones is the first book I have read by Ann Cleeves. I had been eyeing her work since I first heard about Raven Black but just didn't have the chance till now. I have to say that I am now wondering why I waited so long. This story had all the makings of a classic who-dunnit story. While I love these types of books and I do plan to check out the other two prior novels, there were some times when I did lose a little interest. Partly because there were so many characters that I couldn't keep them straight. Also there wasn't too much of a great mystery involved to determine who the killer was. Though I couldn't figure out the motive till the end. Overall this was a pretty good book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Red Bones a book that is more than a mystery, it is an atmospheric and loving trip to the Shetland Islands, I can't wait for a new book by this author. I have never read a book where I feel I've experienced the rain, wind and sunshine that she portrays so well on these islands!!!!
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This is the third novel in the Shetland Islands quartet. The first (and best) is Raven Black. While I devoured all three books, the first stands above the other two in its atmospheric qualities and overall creepiness. White Nights was also good, but it started off much more slowly. Red Bones plods a bit more, but was quite satisfying nonetheless. Cleeves is an excellent writer, and she keeps the book under her firm control until the end. Her descriptions of the scenery and island culture are vivid and intriguing -- I would not be surprised if these books cause a spike in tourist visits to Lerwick, Fair Isle, etc. In each book, the reader is kept guessing (or second guessing) until the final twenty pages.
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