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Shetland Island Books In Order

Publication Order of Shetland Island Books

Raven Black (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
White Nights (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Red Bones (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blue Lightning (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Water (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Thin Air (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Shetland Island is a series of six primary works span by well known Britain’s Duncan Lawrie Dagger award winning author Ann Cleeves. As the name suggests the basic setting is the Shetland Island with the story centered on the life of Inspector Jimmy Perez. As far as mystery stories go, this series definitely has readers hooked on its suspense. Each of the books has received praise for being able to keep readers intrigued.

Ann introduces the story with 2007’s Raven Black which received the highest monetary honour of all Crime fictions in form of the highly coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award. It is the beginning of this dazzling sequel that has mystery fans glued. It begins when Magnus Tait, a lonely outcast stays in his home on New Year’s Eve waiting for visitors who never show up.

When a murdered teenage girl’s body is found nearby the next morning, Magnus is first to be suspected. It is here that Inspector Jimmy Perez comes in and enters a maze of investigation set to uncover a past in Shetland Islands than anyone really wants to know. Lies are uncovered; secrets are brought to light with awe striking twists at every turn. Question is; what could be that bad? The twists and turns begin here.

This award winning introductory ushers us into the second instalment through 2008’s White Night where the mystery goes on. The story is set in midsummer when the sun never sets, birds sing at midnight and the white night rules. At the Herring House which is a gallery on the beach, Artist Bella Sinclair throws an intricate party to instigate a presentation of her work.

A strange Englishman spoils the fun when he bursts into tears claiming neither to know who he is nor where he comes from. The man is found the following day hanging from a rafter. Detective Jimmy Perez is set in his belief that the man has been murdered. This belief is strengthened when Bella’s musician nephew is also murdered.

In this special time of the year however when night blurs into days and nothing is quite as it seems and with the detective caught up in his relationship with Fran Hunter, his judgement might just be clouded. Will the detective think clearly enough to uncover the truth or will his relationship be what comes between him and his work?

The first two books give a more than perfect introductory to the life of Jimmy Perez with the first revealing his dedication as a detective and the second moving more into his personal life and trials. Still it maintains the churning force of mysterious events that lure you into turning each page. Red Bones does nothing if not maintain these standards.

The mist that covers Shetland Islands seems to be the work of nature to cover the deep secrets the land holds. A young archaeologist is studying on a site at Whalsay and stumbles upon some human remains. The island settlers are deeply intrigued and no one can understand whether this is a modern mystery or an ancient discovery.

An elderly woman is shot in the middle of the night in a tragic accident. Her grandson Sandy Wilson who is also Detective Jimmy Perez’s colleague calls the detective in. the journey he sets in is a tough one with the islanders so secretive and fierce. The elderly woman, Mima Wilson had been a loner who took pride in her land, herself and her family. When Jimmy turns to the islanders for a solution, he finds instead two feuding families who for generation have maintained their bitterness, envy and greed.

Jimmy is at a loss surrounded by strangers in a strange land which forces him out of his depth. When another death occurs however, Jimmy knows that amidst the claustrophobic mists lie secrets he must uncover to stop the killer from striking again. Will he succeed or will the killer aided by the secretive lands strike again?

In Dead Water the body of a journalist is discovered and Inspector Jimmy Perez who has been out of the loop after the horrible tragedy in the previous book Blue Lightning is summoned to use his local expertise to help Willow solve the murder. The dead journalist had left the island many years before to pursue a writing career in London leaving a scandal that involved a young girl in his wake. Upon digging deeper, the detectives realize that the journalist had been chasing a story that most Shetlanders wanted untouched. They must discover exactly what made him a target and who killed him.

Thin Air is a page turner in the series that is sure to keep you intrigued. Set in midsummer of light nights and surprising mists, this is one mystery you would not want to miss out on. When a group of old university friends set out from London to Unst; Shetland most northerly island, to make merry at the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander, little do they know of the impending tragedy about to befall them. Late into the night of the wedding celebration, one of them Eleanor disappears.

Polly, Eleanor’s friend receives an email the following day that reads like a suicide note. It states that she will never be found alive. Eleanor’s body is then discovered lying in a small tarn near the cliff’s edge. Two detectives; Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are sent out to Unst to carry out an investigation to the disappearance.

Before Eleanor went missing, she had claimed to see the ghost of a local child who had drowned in the 1920’s. She had been obsessively interested in the legend to an extent that her friends thought it both unhealthy and a sign of a troubled mind. The detectives however are certain that there is more to Eleanor’s death than meets the eye. Could there be a secret to the legend that could lead to murder decades later? In this mystery, modernity meets traditions and the past affects the present. Find out more as you turn each mystical page in this series.

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