I really loved the first book in the “Shetland Island” series. I think the main character of Jimmy Perez is so different (in a good way) from Vera that I want to continue and finish up this series this year if I can. I think what hit me (in another good way) was that the residents of this community feel a bit out of sync with the real world. Jimmy is at a crossroads a bit in this book (leave policing and return back home to his family) but the murder ends up changing things for him and the community. I loved that the second book shows how this murder and the case changed things for not just Jimmy, but for others. I loved the mystery and the reveal behind a decade long murder and this recent one were surprising. There were clues there, but I didn’t read them as significant until after the fact. Solid start by Ann Cleeves.
“Raven Black” starts on the New Year. Two young girls knock on the door of local pariah and eccentric Magnus Tait. Magnus is so happy to ring in the New Year with the young woman he has watched from afar for a while. He finds himself focusing on one of them, Catherine, who reminds him of a young girl named Catriona who went missing years earlier. When Catherine is found murdered, the local police think that Magnus has done it, but local DI Jimmy Perez doesn’t think he has. And when DI Roy Taylor, head of a special team from Inverness, Scotland arrives, he finds himself agreeing with Perez. The book follows Perez as he gets to the bottom of who killed Catherine and why.
I really liked Perez a lot. I think because he’s careful about what he says, does, and doesn’t go around and just stomp all over others (Vera) and treats his staff like trash (Vera again). I loved reading about him struggling with returning home or not, and his regrets over his first marriage and loss of a child. But you can see that Shetland has gotten into his bones and how much he loves the place and people. He systematically goes through things and realizes that something is not adding up with Catherine’s murder and the long ago missing case of Catriona.
The other characters in this one like Fran were great too I thought. I was intrigued by her and felt at times sorry for her. Finding out why she left her first marriage and her dealing with the effect of finding Catherine’s body has her not quite knowing what to do. I thought the development of this character in the second book in the series was great honestly.
The writing is lyrical at times. I found myself wanting to go to this place and look at the sky. Cleeves is a great one for writing about the land and making it a character in itself.
The ending was very well done. I honestly didn’t see the reveals coming on the one murderer at all. The second one I had thoughts about because at times things seemed off, but the why behind it I thought was pretty sad.