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Group Read Discussions > September 2018 Group Read (spoiler thread): Raven Black, by Ann Cleeves

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message 1: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9317 comments Mod
If you're just bursting to say something about this book but are worried about spoiling the read for others, this is the place!


message 2: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Thanks, Nancy! I'm looking forward to seeing what you all think about this book. Post anything you want in this thread and no need to use the spoiler formatting.


message 3: by Bill (new)

Bill This was my review of the book. I look forward to seeing what other people think of the book.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 4: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Nice review, Bill! It's hard not to do a comparison of the books and the tv show no matter which one you discovered first. I was initially put off by the tv series - a blond Jimmy Perez?!! But then I said "get over it" and tried to enjoy the show on its own merits. I still like the books better, but it's fun to see the Shetlands brought to life on the small screen.

Here's my review - haha, short and to the point. But my comment "I've already deemed this a "favorite series" after reading only one book! " was right on point! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 5: by Bill (new)

Bill I visited the Shetland Islands once when I was in the Canadian Forces. We were working with the USAF and USMC to check out locations they might have to deploy to and we checked out the main airport. I spent one night there. I think it was at Lerwick but might be totally wrong.. :)


message 6: by Sally (new)

Sally | 38 comments I think I suspected every man in the village at some time. The ending was a shocking surprise. I'm going to love this series.


message 7: by Jean (new)

Jean Shriver | 16 comments I love this series. And this one was much better than the TV show of the same story in its complexity. Also, I like all the Shetland books better than the shows because I like Perez' love interests which are missing from the show. First FRan, then Willow....they are so sweet.


message 8: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments :)
Good to know: I have read a few of these. I adore Perez.


message 9: by Summer (new)

Summer (paradisecity) | 48 comments I wasn't expecting much out of this series but I really liked it. I'm not familiar with the area at all but the author did a good job supplying enough information for context. The characters were interesting; the writing was pretty tight; and a small, captive population provides such richness for stories. I'm definitely going to go on and read the other books at some point.


message 10: by Suzy (last edited Sep 04, 2018 02:58PM) (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments It's interesting that some readers/watchers of this series like the books better and some like the tv show better. I wonder if it has to do with which one we start with. I read most of the books before dipping into the tv series and definitely like the books better.

Two things in case you missed them in the other thread for this book:
1) Cleeves has published a coffee table book on the Shetland Islands - beautiful photographs and lots of great info about the history and culture. I found a copy at my library.
Shetland

2) Here's a really fun and informative interview with Cleeves as part of NPR's "Crime in the City" series from a few years ago where she talks about writing this series. https://www.npr.org/2014/07/08/329520...


message 11: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 28 comments Loved the book but found the ending unsatisfactory.
I understand that this is a spoiler thread discussion but for the sake of safety.
(view spoiler)


message 12: by Summer (new)

Summer (paradisecity) | 48 comments Great points, Bicky. Sally also should’ve shown some signs that she was capable of something like that. In a town that small, someone surely would’ve noticed something. The ending worked well from a pacing perspective but left a bit of a plot hole.


message 13: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments WOW: what an odd book! Talk about very odd people, too.


message 14: by Myrthe (new)

Myrthe (myrthekorf) I read the book over the weekend. I really like the TV series, but I'd watched it long enough ago that I didn't remember exactly the ending and who did it. I had to get used to the differences in the book (Cassie only five years old? Perez tall and dark-haired? Fran Hunter alive and a potential love interest? Okay, I'll go with the flow...), but I tried not to compare with the series too much. I enjoyed the book a lot. It's a slow-paced page turner - if that makes any sense. I enjoyed the sense of place, which in this book at least, is on a smaller scale than the series. The series gives a better feel for the majestic wildness, the distance from the 'rest of the world', whereas the book gives a great sense of the claustrophobia of living on a far-away island in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I was surprised by the twist at the end and, like Summer and Bicky above, found it slightly unsatisfactory.

I'd been wanting to start this book series for a while because I enjoy the TV series so much, so this was a good reason to start. I'll definitely continue the books.


message 15: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Bicky wrote: "Loved the book but found the ending unsatisfactory.
I understand that this is a spoiler thread discussion but for the sake of safety.
The ending turns this book into a psychological thriller rather..."


No need to use spoiler tag since this is the spoiler thread. :)


message 16: by Suzy (last edited Sep 14, 2018 06:53AM) (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Myrthe wrote: "I read the book over the weekend. I really like the TV series, but I'd watched it long enough ago that I didn't remember exactly the ending and who did it. I had to get used to the differences in t..."

I agree that this first book doesn't do as much justice as the tv show to the wildness of the Shetland Islands, but feel that this is fully developed over the span of books in the series. If I recall, each book is set in a different island in the archipelago. Glad to hear you're thinking of continuing with the series. I've liked all the books, some better than others, but all enjoyable.

And for those of us who started with the books and then watched the tv show, my reaction was . . . Cassie a teenager?! Fran not in the picture?! Perez a blond?!!! :)


message 17: by Myrthe (last edited Sep 14, 2018 09:40AM) (new)

Myrthe (myrthekorf) Suzy wrote: "And for those of us who started with the books and then watched the tv show, my reaction was . . . Cassie a teenager?! Fran not in the picture?! Perez a blond?!!! :) "

Haha! Yes, I can totally imagine the same reaction if you read the book first and then watched the series. :-))) I think it's a pity they changed the looks of Perez, but that may just have to do with available actors.

Suzy wrote: "If I recall, each book is set in a different island in the archipelago. "
This is a nice detail because in the TV series, that is either not the case or, if it is, it is not made clear. I never paid attention to it, anyway.


message 18: by Lena (new)

Lena I’ve watched three seasons and five storylines of Shetland, and while I like it four out of five stories finish with “So she was crazy and she killed him.”


message 19: by Tom (new)

Tom | 27 comments Have not checked out the series yet, but found it on NetFlix and will give it a go.

Question for you all though: Did anyone else find the abduction of Cassie to be a rather clumsy plot device? The more I've thought about it, the less logical and/or necessary it feels. The abductor's intent seems pretty fuzzy.


message 20: by Summer (new)

Summer (paradisecity) | 48 comments Agreed, Tom. That seemed like convenience for the author rather than an action that really moved the story along in any meaningful way.


message 21: by Tom (new)

Tom | 27 comments I guess it helped Perez connect the dots. But I don't get why the murderer snatched the kid off the streets in the first place. If she needed to be gotten rid of, there was plenty of opportunity before the festival events in Lerwick. If she was going to talk about what she'd seen, wouldn't she have been likely to do so before then?


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1482 comments I don't think Cassie knew exactly what was going on until the killer was babysitting her.


message 23: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Interesting point, Tom, about Cassie's abduction being unnecessary. It did seem extraneous, but I can also see Sally's motivation both for more attention and perhaps trying to throw the blame onto someone else.

This was a reread for me, but even though I thought I remembered that Sally was the killer, there were plenty of doubts planted in my mind by Cleeves while I was listening. I didn't think that the whodunit was completely out of the blue. Cleeves dropped clues that about Sally throughout the book, but I agree with many of you that the ending could have been more satisfying. Still a 4-star reread for me. I'm waiting the clear the holds list at the library for her latest Wild Fire!


message 24: by Katie (new)

Katie (katiestars) | 1 comments I feel like the ending did kind of ruin the story for me. Agreed with the folks who felt like there were no signs leading to it, nor did I feel like I got a satisfactory ending after. Also would have loved to have seen Sally’s mom’s reaction to all of it. That said, I would read another of her books because I did enjoy her style up until the end.


message 25: by Tom (new)

Tom | 27 comments Suzy: good observation about Sally's craving for attention being a motivator. It may be that illogical bit that's throwing me off.


message 26: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Hi all - thought you'd enjoy this article about Shetland Island's effort to be represented accurately on maps of Scotland. It puts their location, size and importance into perspective! https://www.npr.org/2018/10/07/655460...


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