Friday, May 29, 2015

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves

First Sentence: The music started.

The gathering of university friends for a wedding hamefarin’ on Unst in the Shetlands Islands comes to an end with the discovery of one of the friend’s body the next morning. Was it suicide, as indicated by an email received from the dead woman the next day? Was her death foretold by Perrie Lizzie, the ghost of a young girl who’d died there years before? Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team travel to the outermost island to find out.

Cleeves excels at creating a sense of place and painting visual pictures which employ all the senses. Even though few will be able to visit these rather remote islands, you have a true sense of being there, with the long days and weather contributing to the plot. To this, she adds just a touch of the supernatural, leaving you to question what is real.

All of her characters are fully dimensional. You know their appearance, enough of their back story to have a true sense of them, and even insights into their personalities and insecurities. The relationships are realistic, understandable and important. The interplay between the investigating team and those associated to the victim are equally important and well balanced in the story. Yet it is Perez, his slowly maturing Sergeant Sandy Wilson, and Detective Willow Reeves brought in to oversee the case, who most hold our interest.

Thin Air” is very well done, with a plot that takes us around and amongst the islands, leading us down one path to another, with very good twists along the way. Cleeves is a wonderful writer and one who should be on any mystery-reader’s list.

THIN AIR (Pol Proc-Insp. Jimmy Perez-Shetlands, UK-Contemp) – VG+
Cleeves, Ann – 6th in series
Minotaur Books – May 2015

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