Recently I read Raven Black, the first in Ann Cleeves' Shetland series. You can read my review here - overall I enjoyed it, but felt the characters and setting hadn't quite lived up to their potential. For me it felt very much like a promising introduction to a series rather than an outstanding mystery in its own right. I don't usually like to dive straight into the second book in a series but made an exception in this case as the BBC adaptation is due to air on 10th March and I quite fancy watching it. There's no way I'll get through all four books before the week is up but I'd like to have given it a good go!
I was delighted to find that my suspicions were correct and that I found White Nights to be a much more satisfying read than its predecessor.
I was totally gripped by this book and found it to have all the ingredients I love in a mystery. A relatively small cast of potential suspects, a mysterious stranger, a geniunely surprising conclusion that can only be solved by digging around in long-forgotten events of the past. Let me illustrate how engrossed I was: I was reading this at work on a Saturday in between answering calls on my bleep, and when the time came to go home it was actually an effort to put the book down and get in my car to leave the hospital!
We get a much better insight into Perez's character in this book and I found him to be an endearing protagonist. There is a quiet humility to the way he works that proves quite refreshing compared to the sort of super confident, suffer-no-fools detectives you often find in crime fiction. I was surprised to see the return of Taylor, the chief from the mainland, as he hadn't really captured my attention in the first book, but here the contrast between the two men's personalities worked well and I enjoyed seeing their working relationship develop.
Now I can't wait to read the next installment and find out what Perez's next challenge will be. Will you be watching the Shetland series when it airs on Sunday?