When Ann Cleeves bagged the prestigious CWA Dagger Award for Raven Black
, the first book in her Shetland series, attention was paid to a crime writer of no mean gifts. With a deft sense of place and plotting that demonstrated unshowy but authoritative skill, Cleeves proved that she was a novelist to reckon with. As Red Bones
, the third book in her acclaimed series, once again shows. It’s perhaps not as immediately striking as Raven Black
, but just as sure-footed.
At an archaeological dig at Whalsay, a grim discovery is made: a set of human remains. The discovery intrigues the islanders – is this a body from the distant past, or one of more recent provenance? Subsequently, a shooting accident takes the life of an elderly woman, and Ann Cleeves’s doughty copper, Jimmy Perez, is called in to investigate by the woman's grandson. As Jimmy begins to dig into the circumstances surrounding the death, he finds evidence of a massive, bitter dispute between two families: a dispute whose mean-spiritedness and greed has riven the whole community on Whalsay. Another death occurs, and Jimmy finds himself struggling -- both with recalcitrant islanders who offer him little help, and with his own deeper unfamiliarity with his surroundings. The answer, of course, lies in the past...
Ann Cleeves’ fellow crime fiction practitioners (from Colin Dexter to Peter Robinson) have been lining up to sing her praises, and it’s unlikely that there will be any blip in that chorus of praise on the evidence of Red Bones, which is quite as assured and entertaining as its predecessors. --Barry Forshaw
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"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."
"Cleeves' latest mystery is travel and entertainment rolled into one.... a suspenseful read."
--RT Book Reviews
"Moody and atmospheric ... well-written tale."