Long a celebrated crime writer in Britain, Ann Cleeves' fame went international when she won the coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger for this amazing suspense novel, Raven Black. Like Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse or Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks, Cleeves' new detective, Inspector Jimmy Perez, is a very private and perceptive man whose bailiwick is a remote hamlet in the Shetland Islands. It is a cold January morning, and Shetland lies beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross. The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when detective Jimmy Perez and his colleagues from the mainland insist on opening out the investigation, a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine's neighbors nervously lock their doors while a killer lives on in their midst.
Ann Cleeves is sure to dazzle US mystery listeners with this unforgettable series debut. This series is the basis for the hit BBC show Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, which attracted over 12 million viewers in its first two nights on the air.
©2006 Ann Cleeves (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
Good story, excellent reader, problems with the audio, as has been noted by other reviewers. I'll probably just read this somewhere, and return this book, as it is much too disconcerting to hear "Chapter 29" in the middle of a description of our protagonist reeling from a punch in the face -- this defect is at 1:05 and I have already heard several of these recorded overlays, which are interfering with the actual story.
I even deleted this from my library and downloaded again, in case Audible had decided to fix the problem. But they haven't as of 2/23/15.
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
I wanted to love this award winning thriller but to me it just had too many issues. Several other reviewers commented on production problems and I have to agree with them--it was pretty terrible. There seemed to be a secondary recording that did random parallel voice overs that made no sense at all--and spoke with the narration. It was disturbing and almost jarring. Even more than this the book is most definitely not a thriller but a cozy police procedural. In the end a very slow, plodding and careful story telling and delivery. Can't recommend.
Noticing the same problem as others with the bad audio interruptions. I also tried erasing it and re-downloading. No change. Is the book worth finishing or should I return it?
Last year the local PBS affiliate broadcast several episodes based on this series. At first I wasn't sure if I liked them or not. However, by the end of the second episode I was "hooked".
My reaction to this book was similar. The first 30 minutes or so seemed a little "talky" and slow. I stuck with it, and very soon was completely immersed in the characters and the story. By the time I got to chapter 4 I found it very difficult to stop listening.
If you are looking for non-stop action from page 1, this probably isn't the book for you. If you have the patience to allow the author time to set the scene and introduce some very unique characters then you are likely to be pleased with this book.
The mystery is compelling. A number of characters seemed like possible perpetrators and I was quite surprised when the final solution was revealed. One thing I am sure of is that I intend to read the entire series.
As I listened to this book the narration was never distracting. The character "voices" were well defined, but never over acted. I suspect this is very difficult for an actor to do. Gordon Griffin does it perfectly.
I was hoping this book would really grab me but that was not to be. It's just ok. I got it on Audible so I could listen as I was working around the house. This is the first Ann Cleeves I've read. I love the Vera TV show which is based on her other series. I still may try one of those. Gordon Griffin does do a good job narrating.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Ann Cleeves' stories about the Shetland Island are really good! This one was a bit different than the rest and at first, I had trouble getting that fact straight in my head. But once started, I couldn't stop listening. This one features what some might term "the village idiot" and the villagers' belief that he (Magnus) was responsible for the death of a young girl a decade earlier and now for another girl found dead. Cleeves uses the procedures of the police and in particular of a singular detective inspector to work through the assumptions, circumstantial evidence and true evidence to seek the killer and justice. Gossip, lies and hypocrisy are confronted -- and a number of the more colorful villagers are outed in the process. Cleeves' descriptions take you to the Shetlands and the characters she creates are wonderfully developed. A good listen!!
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Quite a good mystery that kept me guessing til the end. Would love to hear more from Anne Cleves. Atmospheric and good characters!
I am a voracious reader of all fiction genres and poetry. I occasionally venture into humor, history, and science. I loathe self-help books.
I am stingy with five star reviews, but five stars it must be for this book. It wasn't perfect, but there weren't any weak points. Kudos to an author who writes a mystery with near perfect tempo, strong character development, and an intriguing plot. And, Cleeves accomplishes this without overt gore, profanity, or sexuality. I hope subsequent books in the series do not become rote. Audible, please more Cleeves.
yes - I liked the suspense - I changed my mind about 'who done it' many times and was surprised again and again. The characters are different from those in all of the suspense books I've read in the last few years. Audible only has one of Cleeve's books I hope they get more! The book has a slow start but it is worth it and helped to define characters sufficient for me to get involved. After first few chapters I listened non stop for about 9 hours.
I like the way the characters each had assumptions or hopes concerning the other characters and how those assumptions changed and led to unusual conclusions - I liked the way she brought in surprise actions while holding true to all that she wrote of the characters from beginning to end.
Paris of course.
get more Cleeve books!!!!!!!
The book is great and narrator great but the recording is messed up - there is a voice in background saying "Chapter Four" and "Northumberland" and "Chapter 27" in the background which they clearly miserased or accidentally layered. I don't think it's a mystery in the story...
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