Saturday, September 1, 2012
White Nights by Ann Cleeves
In this second thriller of the Shetland Island series featuring Inspector Jimmy Perez, the launch of an exhibition at The Herring House art gallery is disturbed by a stranger who bursts into tears, then claims not to remember who he is or where he comes from. The next day he’s found dead. Set in midsummer, the book captures the unsettling nature of a landscape where the sun never quite sets and where people are not as they first seem.
I read Raven Black last year though I don't think I ever reviewed it. I love mysteries, especially ones set in the UK, and so I was delighted to find this series. The mystery here was intriguing and I admit I was guessing until the end- a sure sign of a successful thriller in my opinion. It is hard to share too many details of the story without spoiling it, but the writing and characters are excellent and truly make the novel.
What I like best about Cleeves' work is that the Shetland Islands play such a crucial role as a character, and also help to create the feeling of a locked room mystery because the list of characters and settings is so short and outsiders are so unlikely to wander into the story. Jimmy Perez is a truly interesting character, one with the kind of backstory that pulls the reader into his viewpoint. His relationship with the islands and their residents, as well as with the crime scene experts who come in from outside, is deftly drawn and highlights the insular nature of the entire community.
I highly recommend this series; I'm about to read the third and hope there are more to come!