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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This is the final novel in Ann Cleeves's Shetland Quartet, and it's as good as, if not better than the other three. What I particularly liked about Blue Lightning is that the author has written about something she knows very well: working as the cook at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. For me, it made it special to know she was writing about something that she had experienced.

The setting is so atmospheric. I could really feel the closed in environment of the small island, and the weather, which stopped people getting on and off the island, giving a real sense of claustrophobia. The usual characters are in there, but this time Inspector Jimmy Perez is on his home island of Fair Isle, investigating murders in his usual reserved, yet probing, fashion.

I am so sorry to have come to the end of this series. Like other reviewers, I would love it if we could have more of Jimmy Perez and the Shetlands, but if not then I feel Blue Lightning was a perfect final chapter. These books are highly recommended.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
This is the fourth and final story in Ann Cleeves's Shetland Quartet, and Perez is on his home territory of Fair Isle, to take his fiancee, Fran to meet his parents. The murder of a woman in Fair Isle's bird observatory during a period of particularly turbulent weather means that Perez has to begin his investigations alone because it isn't possible to call on help from the Shetland Mainland. The number of suspects is limited by the location and the weather but that doesn't make Perez's task any easier. At the best of times, Fair Isle is an isolated location and the atmosphere generated in this excellent novel during a period of late autumn storms just increases this sense of isolation. Cleeves's detective Perez is an excellent creation whose character has deepened as the series has progressed, and in this story, Fran plays a more prominent role than in the previous book (Red Bones). Perez's parents are also well-drawn and realistic characters and the cameo roles for other islanders are also nicely drawn. There is lots of material here about "twitchers" and detail about the birds themselves and the work of the bird observatory which has been well-researched. As usual, it is the evocation of the setting which steals the show but the plot is labyrinthine and intricate making this an absorbing read. I would recommend that you read the other three books in the Shetland Quartet before embarking upon this one. Although the murder mystery here is complete in itself, this one definitely feels like the culmination of the series.
I do hope that Ann Cleeves can be persauded to revisit the Shetlands and Jimmy Perez at some point in the future.
This is a superb series of detective stories which maintains its high standard throughout!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I've really enjoyed the Shetland series thus far, but it all goes wrong when Jimmy Perez returns to his native Fair Isle, with his fiancee Fran, to visit his parents. Then someone is found stabbed and as the weather is too bad to bring in more people Perez must investigate on his own.

One of the most pronounced and unusual things about the preceding three books was the way in which Jimmy investigated crimes through the network of island associations and rumour. This is abandoned in this book as the only fully defined island characters are Jimmy's parents. The claustrophobia that Cleeves may have been trying for as a trade off didn't really work for me.

The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, with a couple of gratuitous plot twists that left the next 20 pages feeling a bit superfluous. Again, I can see what she might have been aiming for, but it didn't really come off. And its hard to imagine the document referred to would have any legal standing or be acceptable.

Overall, I wish I'd stopped at book number three. I wish the author had as well, as its fairly easy to predict which way the story will go after this - if it returns at all and I'm not sure I trust her any longer to deliver the goods.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2010
I hope this isn't going to be the last we hear of Inspector Perez in that "Blue Lightning" is the final book of Ms Cleeves' "Shetland Quartet". This is another really well written and well-researched thriller which had me guessing almost to the end. Having visited Shetland and Fair Isle in the past I can visualise the locations and they just make we want to go back there - especially now the killer has been caught!
I for one would be more than happy if there are some more "Shetland" stories following Inspector Perez's life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2013
After the masterful Red Bones I couldn't wait to read the fourth of the Shetland quartet, but this has been the only one of Cleeves' books I haven't liked. It's as if she got bored with the lot of them, or even as if someone else has written this one - I found the plot was predictable from around the middle of the book, and became something of a cliche as an ending to an otherwise terrific saga. Even the characters weren't so well drawn as usual, the usual atmospheric brilliance seemed laboured. A shame, but I won't bother with the sequel.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2013
I enjoyed the three earlier books in the Shetland series, and enjoyed this as much - until the end. The end just made me angry. Some may admire the "emotional punch". Personally, I don't read detective stories for that sort of effect. I doubt if I shall risk reading the next in the series. I only hope I'm not put off Vera Stanhope too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
If you have read the first three 'Shetland' books then think carefully before reading this one. As you can see from the title Cleeves has decided to get rid of one of the regulars. It is done badly and rushed in at the end like an afterthought. It does not bring anything to the story, in fact it spoils the whole thing and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Pity her editor or someone at her publishers didn't say something. Perhaps they did and she didn't listen to them. I know that it happens all the time in books, films and on TV. I could list at least three occasions straight off the top of my head, but this one seems so unnecessary. Perez seems to be tortured enough at the loss of a child and his first marriage without adding to his woes. Why authors need to fill their heros full of demons I don't know. Perhaps it is to divert us from weak plots and storylines. I wish Ms Cleeves all the best but from now on she won't be getting my £7.99 every year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
D I Jimmy Perez is on a break, taking his new partner to meet his parents, at their croft on Fair Isle. A pleasant enough trip one would hope, with the biggest worry being whether Fran his partner and his parents get on okay. Life is never that simple though as the head of the field centre, Angela is murdered in a way that shows it has been staged. With the weather taking a turn for the worse Perez has to start the case on his own until others can arrive on the island.

With the field centre being slightly remote from the islanders this reads a bit like a country house type murder, but even when Perez’ team arrive there seems to be no headway in the case, despite there being another killing.

Well written and with shocks and surprises in store as the case progresses we are taken into the bird watching fraternity, with Twitchers on the constant look out for a rare bird find. With what is considered a relatively harmless hobby we find that things can get very dark among the more obsessed members and lives and reputations are put at stake to be a first.

The characters at the field centre only really seem to have very tenuous reasons for wanting to do harm to Angela or anyone else, but scratch the surface and things start appearing. This is a well written mystery and keeps you reading due to the strong character descriptions and details of Fair Isle as well as wanting to know if your suspicions are right on who the killer could be. If you like your mysteries a bit darker than the main fare then this could be just what you are looking for.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2012
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the whole Quartet now. They are gripping,literate detective novels with convincing characters and story-lines. This final book was no exception and I would have given it five stars, but I'm afraid I hated the ending and it spoiled the book for me. As another reviewer said - unnecessary.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
I normally enjoy Ann Cleeves' Shetland books, but while this was a reasonably interesting mystery, it didn't grab my attention as much as the previous books in the series. I liked the details of Perez's back story, but the descriptions of the island were a little vague. The ending was so downbeat it made me miserable.
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