Anne Cleeves' 'Raven Black' perfectly catches the spirit of Shetland, it's people and the tight-knit communities that make up these remote islands. Her cast are beautifully realistic and the rendering of the landscapes allows you to picture the scenes with crystal clarity. Capturing the unique character of the Shetland people and that of the 'Incomers', or 'Soothmoothers', that are attempting to adapt and integrate has leant an uncannily accurate, real-life feel to her fictional story. The subdued undercurrent of tension between the islanders and the Mainlanders who arrive, thinking that they are more cosmopolitan and worldly-wise than the locals, nicely demonstrates the quiet, knowing confidence of a population who are far more cultured and cosmopolitan than a visitor would suspect. Anne works this into the general feel of the novel and also evokes memories of the trials and tribulations of childhood and family life.
The plot and its main and supporting characters build and progress evenly, elevating the suspense and developing it all the way to a most satisfying and unsuspected ending. I do not normally read crime novels and only did so on this occassion because of its location but I would recommend Anne's book wholeheartedly to all, but especially to Shetlanders and anyone else that is in love with the 'Auld Rock'.