Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Well, here’s the scenario – an isolated island community is witness to a shocking murder of a high Raven_black school student, similar to a previous occurrence in which the young girl simply disappeared.  How easy is it for the suspicious old man who lives by himself to get blamed for both deaths?  Does the plot sound familiar?  Well, after reading Raven Black you might think otherwise.

The Shetlands are where the story takes place, a largely treeless island group made bleaker by the New Year’s snow.  In this close-knit community, a murder is practically unheard of, although a deep-rooted suspicion of outsiders or someone different eases residents’ tendencies to accuse a simple minded old man for both killings. 

It turns out to be far more complicated than this, as several story lines intertwine while the winter landscape plays a menacing backdrop to it all.  Raven Black definitely has all the criteria for a good thriller – an “edge of nowhere” setting, flawed and unsettling characters, and a strong sense of loneliness. 

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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