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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tough love in Shetland - 3+
on 23 November 2014
I'm a big admirer of Ann Cleeves and have enjoyed the Shetland Island series tremendously. Like most Cleeves fans, I was happy to see her return to the Shetland locale and looked forward to the revival of principal, Jimmy Perez. "Dead Water" gets off to a fine start, with wonderful descriptions of the austere and dramatic landscape and the contemporary post "oil-boom" status of the islands. A murder is committed early on and brings the introduction of the main characters--including a still-grieving Perez, an off-island detective, and local deputy Sandy Wilson (who is given a leading role in this novel).
The procedural that takes up most of this book is classic Cleeves and deliciously serpentine and translucent, BUT somewhere in the last few chapters, the story just loses steam. The back-and-forth between the investigating characters seems increasingly forced and the tone of things slips into the melodramatic. By the conclusion--which isn't up to Cleeves' usual standards--the reader (this reader, at least), is pretty tired of the universally traumatized characters and not ready to buy the motives presented for crime(s)--especially for a second murder that is staged in such a way that leave even the book's principals disbelieving.
The good news about "Dead Water" is that Jimmy Perez has been resuscitated and will probably be back in a sequel. Hopefully, the author will have regained full footing for the next installment.