… a cold January morning, and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter’s eye is drawn to a splash of colour on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour, Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance.
An absorbing psychological thriller and a fascinating look at the way networks of relationships work in small communities.
Detective Jimmy Perez is a man with enough issues to keep him busy for years, he doesn’t need a body in the snow. Perez is a beguiling character who defies local pressure to disentangle a complex mystery.
Shetland itself is a character brought convincingly to life without any sentimentality. The sense of place is tremendous – the cold and the isolation are tangible. We have the sense of a community seemingly united but with tensions and divisions just below the surface. Hostility against outsiders, genuine ancient feuds, small snobberies and major jealousies.
Motives and suspects abound. Clues and red herrings. Hooked from the start, I rode along, from one twist to another, entertained until the very end and, just when I thought I knew the killer, I was wrong.