Contact It is a cold January morning, and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour, Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance. 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. Raven Black was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year.
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Rating: 4. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
My Review: There are two facts I must convey to you before reviewing the book. I was thinking seriously of abandoning the read, just quietly taking the book back to the library and forgetting it existed. Cleeves managed to make that an undesirable option, and in doing so, made it possible for me to hold a very unflattering mirror up to my character. The younger of my two grandsons is autistic. It is extremely hard for his mother to cope with the demands of two active, intelligent, communicative children plus an active, intelligent, uncommunicative one.
I would be incapable of doing one-third what she does, with at long last support and help from her second husband. Magnus Tait, one of our POV characters, is cognitively impaired. It made me think of the helpless inability I feel when confronted with my autistic grandson At least I understand. But funnily enough, that fails to make it better.
It makes it worse. I hope not, for her sake, but I felt "takes one to know one" so many times in reading certain parts of the book. The thriller aspects of the book were nicely done, though as an old hand I pegged the murderer and motive fairly early on I recommend this book to the unsqueamish. Nothing that happens in it is gratuitous. The guilty, and I mean those morally guilty, are punished severely. There is a bleak pleasure in that.
Ann Cleeves - Raven Black