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Raven Black (Shetland Island #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,560 Ratings  ·  1,063 Reviews
It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunters eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance. The locals on the quiet island stubbo ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Derus
Oct 07, 2011 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing
There are two facts I must convey to you before reviewing the book. One: I am extremely uncomfortable, to the point of pain, around people with cognitive and/or communicative disorders or inabilities. Two: I was the object of my pedophile mother's sexual interest until I was fifteen.

Unsurprisingly, these aren't the sorts of themes I find enjoyable to find in my leisure reading. "Raven Black" has both! I was thinking seriously of abandoning the read, just quietly taking the book back to the libra
No one knew he had this beautiful creature to visit him.
She was his treasure, the raven in his cage.

----Ann Cleeves, Raven Black

Ann Cleeves, the award-winning British crime author, penned her first book in the Shetland series called, Raven Black , which later went on to win the The Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger in the year 2006. Raven Black cannot be compared to atypical crime novel, instead, this book promises us with a mystery that will only pull us more into its darker side, and a
May 13, 2012 Hannah rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries, 2012-reads
Quite frankly, I'm surprised this was an award winning mystery novel (2006 winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award). Makes me wonder how abysmal the competition was that this came out on top....

Symplistic/trite writing, lackluster characters (and characterization) and no sense of descriptive place (though set in the Shetland Islands, it could have taken place anywhere, IMO). The mystery was the only thing that kept me reading on - and the reveal was....ok at best.

Not recommended for anyone who
Mar 10, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in Anne Cleeves Shetland series. Although I love crime novels, I had not read any of this author’s books before, but I am pleased that I finally did get around to it, as this was an excellent book, with interesting characters and a good setting.

When sixteen year old Catherine Ross is found murdered by Fran Hunter, the crime brings back old memories to the residents of the island. For eight years ago, another little girl went missing and her body was never found. At the time, M
Linda O'Donnell F.
Jan 23, 2016 Linda O'Donnell F. rated it really liked it
Raven Black......How dark is thy plot!

While I enjoyed Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and finished it as a quick read, I was left with a disconnect in regard to her character development. We hardly had a grasp of one character before the author roundhoused us with another who, may or may not be, central to the plot. "Keep 'em guessing" is at the core of all mystery thrillers, but that person/persons have to matter or peak the interest of the reader. Only bits and pieces so as not to reveal the real k
Mar 09, 2016 Noeleen rated it really liked it
Having recently finished all of the available books to date in Ann Cleeves Vera Stanhope series, I was eager to start her Shetland series, featuring DI Jimmy Perez. The first instalment did not disappoint. Ann Cleeves is such an excellent crime writer. While the Vera series in set in Northumberland, this series is set on the Shetland Isles. That is one of the main things I love about Cleeves books, the settings….Cleeves has a natural ability to describe the places in her books and the reader can ...more
Jun 17, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery

4 stars

This is my first Ann Cleeves book and I will definitely read more. This book started off stronger than it finished, but I still liked it. I liked the sense of place in this book. The setting is the Shetland Islands which is a part of the UK. I liked the village life. I also liked the hook that drew me in from the beginning.

There were a lot of characters in this (more than I care to keep track of) and I should have known that this would be an indication of the red herring chases. I liked
Oct 18, 2015 Rosie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I have been giving 3 star ratings to every "thriller" book I have been reading lately. I just didn't really care for this one. I found the story to drag on and never really felt any suspense at all. It was so slow going that I could skim over paragraphs and still know exactly what was happening without missing anything. The ending sort of picked up a bit, though I still wasn't very excited by it. One thing I did like was how vividly Shetland was described. I could really visualise th ...more
Sep 06, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourite-series
4.5 stars
Thanks Mike & Minty for the recommendations for this one - very enjoyable!
I loved the characters and the setting and the mystery was really well played out - looking forward to reading the rest in the series.
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It is slow paced but in a luxurious, indulgent way that I imagine mirrors the pace of Ravenswick where it is set.
I can't say that it has a spectacular twist or that it deviates from traditional murder mystery BUT there is something about the writing that I really connected with
Feb 26, 2014 Malia rated it really liked it
Ann Cleeves is a new author to me, but one I will seek out again in the near future. This book, RAVEN BLACK, marks the first in what is set to be a promising series, set on Scotland's Shetland islands.
The story centers around the death of a girl, and is investigated by Jimmy Perez, a curious fellow I was instantly intrigued by. What made this book rather special, what made it stand out from all the other English mysteries, are the characters. Jimmy and Fran, the main characters, feel very real,
Jul 29, 2010 donna rated it really liked it
I've been on a British murder mystery binge. Really loved this one that was set on the Shetland Islands in Scotland. It's interesting to see the differences between those whose families have been on the islands forever and the newcomers (mostly English) who have recently chosen to make their homes there. Both the 17-year old murder victim and the woman who finds her body are newcomers from England and happen to be my favorite characters. The police detective, who actually doesn't seem to be full ...more
Oct 06, 2015 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raven Black, Cleeves' first book of seven in the Shetland series, was a page-turner for me. I loved the atmosphere and felt the somewhat slow pace matched the Shetland Islands locale. I look forward to getting to know the main characters and the islands' culture in future books. I've already deemed this a "favorite series" after reading only one book!
Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου
Με την Ann Cleeves και την ντετέκτιβ της, Βέρα Στάνχοουπ, δεν έχω και τις καλύτερες σχέσεις. Αυτό δεν οφείλεται στο ότι θεωρώ κακή την συγκεκριμένη σειρά αστυνομικών περιπετειών, αλλά περισσότερο στο γεγονός πως, αισθητικά και ποιοτικά, μου θυμίζει έργα άλλων εποχών που δεν ταιριάζουν σε αυτά που ζητάει ένας σύγχρονος αναγνώστης όπως είμαι εγώ, ούτε σε αυτά που θέλει ένας αναγνώστης που έχει διαβάσει τα άπαντα της κλασσικής αστυνομικής, ή και νουάρ, λογοτεχνίας. Τώρα, ίσως να αναρωτιέστε προς τι ...more
Arielle Walker
Jan 11, 2016 Arielle Walker rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thriller
A well crafted, dimensionally characterised, and atmospheric crime novel - why is that so rare to come across?!

Am I simply looking in all the wrong places? At least this one is the first in a series, so hopefully there are many more to go before I once again have to hunt down a new book, new author.
Jun 21, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, british
ho, hum. I don't know. I thought I'd be giving this one another star by the end, but it was just so run-of-the-mill. On the cover it says: Raven Black, by Ann Cleves, A THRILLER. I couldn't have been less thrilled. It was a decent mystery set up in a pretty standard style. I guess there was supposed to be a twist at the end, but by then I was so bored that I barely noticed. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't prize-worthy. I guess 2006 was a slow year for mysteries and thrillers, because this one took ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it
This is the first Ann Cleeves work that I’ve read and, once again, I praise the web-site Fantastic Fiction where I can find out what series an author has written and the chronological order of the books in each; and our public library system which allows me to borrow from other library systems in our province – in this case, it was the Annapolis Valley Regional Library that lent me this book.

The Shetland Islands seem a romantic setting for a murder that is decidedly unromantic. Cleeves draws the
Mar 06, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it
I very much enjoyed the Shetland setting of this book, which is well-drawn without drowning you in local color. (Really, I treat mysteries as a kind of travel writing. I love to read books about crimes being committed and solved in exotic and interesting places I'd like to visit.) I also liked the character of policeman Jimmy Perez, who has the interesting problem of being an outsider to everyone: to anyone from the U.K. mainland, he's a Shetlander, but the other Shetlanders all think of him as ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Christine rated it it was amazing
I read this because the BBC are dramatising this book next week 'Shetland' and I wanted to be familiar with the series. My sister also recommended the author to me.

A brilliant read that makes you want to hop on a plane up to Scotland. Murder in an isolated Shetland Island community, with an atmospheric feel of cold and claustrophobia. I absolutely love it when authors create evil acts in small town places and do it well.

In a place where everyone knows everyone, a teenage girl is murdered and the
Jan 01, 2015 Odette rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Ann Cleeves that I have read. I am really impressed with this book, especially the style of writing. This book was set in the Shetland Islands, and from the author's descriptions found it easy to visualise the setting. I found the characters to be very interesting and well developed and also the interactions between them. The mystery was good and had several suspects in mind throughout the book, and it was not until towards the end that all was revealed to me. I would c ...more
May 19, 2016 catzkc rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of the PBS series Shetland. It was until I had watched a half-dozen episodes I became aware it was based on this book series. I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy this one as I had recently watched the episode that was based on it. But there were enough differences that wasn't a problem!

Very enjoyable! Afraid I have another book series to work my way through!
Marguerite Kaye
Feb 20, 2013 Marguerite Kaye rated it liked it
This was my first book by Ann Cleeves. I downloaded it when I saw that the BBC had filmed it, and didn't realise that she also wrote the Vera books, which I have liked on tv.

I did like this. It was a very easy read, and one of those books that you can't put down even though you can pretty much guess what's happened. I've noticed that there's been a bit of a revival of 'traditional' detective stories, and quite a lot set in obscure places such as Shetland and Lewis, and wonder why they've become
Nov 30, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk-mystery
TITLE: Raven Black
DATE READ: 11/27/10
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: Crime Fiction/2006/St. Martin's Press/376
SERIES/STAND ALONE: 1st in a quartet
TIME/PLACE: 2000's/Shetland Islands
CHARACTERS: Inspector Jimmy Perez
FIRST LINES: Twenty past one in the morning on New Year's Day.
COMMENTS: This book had it all for me. A puzzle that kept me thinking up until the end. An isolated setting that was clearly defined and a bit unusual. Characters that were so far from coo
Jan 23, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable mystery. It's the first book in the Shetland series, with Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, a former resident of the Shetland islands, looking to solve the murder of a young girl. Now I had already watched the TV mini-series based on the books so found myself trying to find the similarities and differences between the show and the book, but the book was interesting enough that this constant comparison didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, itself. There are quite a fe ...more
Laura Moore
Jun 13, 2016 Laura Moore rated it really liked it
A gripping and atmospheric read - I had completely forgotten who the killer was even though I have watched all the Shetland TV episodes! It was interesting to see what changes had been made when making the TV series in terms of characters and their back stories. I will definitely be reading the rest of the book in this series!
May 27, 2016 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
It was kind of old school, almost like an Agatha Christie, one of those stories where all the suspects invite the detective into their home and brew him a cup of tea. The only one smart enough to know that you shouldn't talk to the police is the cognitively-challenged, 80 year old, besotted recluse with the talking raven. As with the "Vera" TV series, a big part of the appeal here is the setting. Considering that in real life, there is something like one serious assault charge for every hundred ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Up Helly Aa or much of anything about the Shetland Islands before reading this book. The setting and customs of the islands play an important part in this excellent mystery.

Every New Years Eve Magnus Tait keeps a light on waiting for someone to share a New Year's drink with him. For years it doesn't happen, but then two teen-age girls, Catherine and Sally do drop in for a dram.

A couple of days later a neighbor, Fran Hunter, finds Catherine's strangled body. Everything point
Drew Lakin
May 20, 2010 Drew Lakin rated it it was amazing
What a great writer Ann Cleeves is. This novel is excellently constructed, beautifully atmospheric, keeps you guessing all the way through and has a major "ahh" at the end. At the denouement I found myself re-reading a paragraph to check I was right, such was the strength of the twist.

Think Ryan's daughter with overtones. The strange "village idiot" perfectly positioned - surely he's too obvious - or is he? The space and ease of the book belies for me the masterly way in which it is crafted.

I l
Leanne Smith
Apr 17, 2015 Leanne Smith rated it really liked it
Although I had seen the TV version, it didn't spoil the book in the slightest and I still needed to race to the end. Beautiful descriptions of the Shetland scenery and great character development. The bonus was that I had remembered incorrectly who the murderer was so I still had a surprise at the end. Definitely a series I will keep reading.
John Lee
Mar 04, 2015 John Lee rated it really liked it
After finishing the Very Stanhope series, I wanted more from this author and found this Shetland set. As readers of my notes will know, I like to start at the beginning and so Raven Glass it was.
To be honest I didnt find the first half of the book particularly exciting but it was setting the scene and the characters brilliantly.
I have never been to Shetland but I now feel that I now know a part of it and its inhabitants quite well. The author has a very clever way of threatening to turn this int
Ian Mapp
Aug 15, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
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Ann is the author of the books behind ITV's VERA, now in it's third series, and the BBC's SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann's DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann's Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands...

More about Ann Cleeves...

Other Books in the Series

Shetland Island (7 books)
  • White Nights (Shetland Island, #2)
  • Red Bones (Shetland Island, #3)
  • Blue Lightning (Shetland Island, #4)
  • Dead Water (Shetland Island, #5)
  • Thin Air (Shetland Island, #6)
  • Cold Earth (Shetland Island, #7)

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“It was precisely midnight when he stepped through the door. Taylor had said he wanted everyone in the Incident Room an hour before first light the next day, but Perez wasn't ready for sleep. As he switched on the kettle to make tea, he remembered he hadn't eaten since lunchtime and stuck sliced bread under the grill, fished margarine and marmalade from the fridge. He'd have breakfast now, save time in the morning.” 0 likes
“Because he’d talked to her about Catriona Bruce. He must be a lonely man. Living all on his own in that house since his mother died. Suddenly he had company, someone sympathetic, wanting him to talk, listening to him. Perhaps she had her own reasons for encouraging him to speak. She wanted his stories for her film. Perhaps she was just a nice kid who felt sorry for him. And the temptation was too much for him. Perhaps he’d had a whisky or two and that loosened his tongue. Whatever.’ ‘I can see that,’ Perez said. ‘I can even see him killing her afterwards to keep the whole thing quiet. But I can’t see him going into the Ross house, searching her room and finding the disk, finding the script and wiping all trace of it from the PC. I don’t get that.’ They sat looking at each other for a moment in silence. Taylor stretched, shuffled in his chair. He’d told Perez he had a bad back, disc trouble, that was why he couldn’t sit still, but Perez wasn’t convinced. It was the man’s mind that didn’t know how to rest, not his body. ‘So what do we do about it?’ Taylor said. ‘Time’s running out for me. I’ve promised I’ll be back at the end of the week. Any longer than that and they’ll start talking about a disciplinary.’ ‘I’m going to take another trip to the Anderson,’ Perez said. ‘Check she didn’t hand the film in early, give it to a friend to look at. If the film is safe we have to let the whole thing go. Like you said, the note on the back of the receipt incriminates Magnus. It shows he talked to her about Catriona. Euan says there’s no other way she could have known about the girl.’ Taylor stood up, lifting the plan with both hands on his way.” 0 likes
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