What we thought: I am a huge fan of Ann Cleeves and her style of writing. I love her Shetland series and I equally adore her Vera series. So, you can probably tell already that this is going to be a glowing review.
Characterisation is one of Cleeves’s major strengths. Every character in the book is a living, breathing, believable person in their own right, with their own idiosyncrasies, their own strengths and weaknesses. And strong characterisation is important in this novel as we are faced with a murder in a small, rural community where every single member of the locality could be a suspected killer. And with so many lives to juggle, it could be easy for the characters to blur, but Cleeves does an excellent job balancing each one throughout.
Vera and her team find themselves dealing with a double murder enquiry, when two male victims, who initially seem to have no connection with each other are found dead in and around the grounds of a country estate. With Vera’s instinct and grit, she soon begins to peel away the layers of each person’s life story, until a connection is discovered, and the killer is unmasked.
There are the usual twists and turns, and moments of conflict and drama, that mark our Cleeves’s clever writing style and attention to detail. But most of all for anyone who enjoys crime fiction, this is a lesson in how to write a pacy, gripping page turner, without the need for melodrama or clever deception. A thoroughly solid, entertaining read, and as ever I look forward to the next one.
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Val McDermid, Peter James, Ian Rankin.
Avoid if you don’t like: Clever female leads.
Ideal accompaniments: Takeaway pizza and a bottle of Guinness.
Genre: Crime Fiction.
Available on Amazon