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Blue Lightning (Shetland Book 4) by [Cleeves, Ann]
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Blue Lightning (Shetland Book 4) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 569 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in Shetland (6 Book Series)

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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Winning the prestigious Crime Writer’s Association Dagger for best crime novel did not necessarily glean for Cleeves the kind of kudos she clearly deserves -- although the remarkable Raven Black no doubt enjoyed a welcome sale fillip. A new TV series with Brenda Blethyn may do the trick, and it won't be a moment too soon. If you doubt this encomium to Ann Cleeves’ writing skills, do yourself a favour and pick up her latest, Blue Lightning -- a further demonstration of her considerable narrative skills and (her ace in the hole) persuasive evocation of atmosphere. Her Shetland detective Jimmy Perez is not looking forward to his journey to the Fair Isles. It is (famously) a very tight-knit community, which does not extend open arms to incomers. As Jimmy knows, the islanders are a hardy breed -- and they need to be, as winter approaches with its inevitable storms, making an already insular community close in further upon itself. It is in this pressure cooker atmosphere that murder takes place (this is an Ann Cleeves novel, after all) and the body of a woman is found with her hair laced with feathers. With the locals in a furious and fractious mood, it’s up to Jimmy to investigate the killing as quickly and efficiently as he can; not an easy task, as he has no resources to call on except his own. And as the clock ticks, the inevitability of another murder looms ever larger.

As in Ann Cleeves’ earlier Shetland mysteries, the trick here is to utilise the apparatus of the Christie-style murder mystery (most notably the cloistered, cut-off setting) and reinvigorate it with a healthy dose of plausible contemporary psychology. This Cleeves does splendidly, and even though Jimmy Perez may be a familiar kind of figure to those who read a great deal of crime fiction, there are still some canny changes that the author is able to ring on the familiar formula. Best of all, though, is the skill with which she evokes the experience of being on these dangerous islands; the author is a well-known aficionado of Scandinavian crime fiction, and she is able to transmit that Nordic feeling into her own exemplary work. --Barry Forshaw

Review

'Jimmy Perez takes his fiancée to Fair Isle to meet his parents, but when bad weather cuts off the island and a body is found at its bird observatory, where sexual tension and professional rivalry are rife, he takes charge of the investigation. Perez alone realises the murderer is still on the island and prepared to kill again, leading to events that make him question his career...' --Sunday Times

'Blue Lightening crackles with atmosphere and tension... It's meticulous crime fiction which does its job outstandingly of whisking the reader away to other worlds, and provides the reader with an almighty jolt just as it seems to be plain sailing at the end. And it's made me want to investigate those earlier books in the series' --reviewingtheevidence.com

'The thriller writer Ann Cleeves has really hit her stride with the series of novels she is currently writing in the Shetlands (the islands are principal characters in the books). This year's Blue Lightning is the last and best in the series. Be warned: it has a surprise ending of real emotional punch.' --John Lancaster, Telegraph Review

'If you are looking for a well-crafted Agatha Christie-type murder mystery with a strong atmosphere, you cannot do better than Ann Cleeves'
--Lady Antonia Fraser, The Lady

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1450 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (3 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0040JHNYI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 569 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,737 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Blue Lightning – Number 4 in the Shetland Series from Ann Cleeves

If you haven’t read these books – then you really should. They are all excellent murder mysteries. Originally a quartet, the series grew to 6 and will soon reach 7 books. Our central character is Jimmy Perez who was born and raised on Fair Isle. His black hair and surname lead us to believe he is descended from Spanish sailors stranded while fleeing home in the Armada. He is now a police Detective Inspector living in Shetland and we discover much about his and island life. I started reading the Shetland series of books a number of years ago – and well before the BBC series based on them. Perhaps it was because I had read the books before, but I found the BBC adaptation more than a tad disappointing. I particularly didn’t like the way the stories were modified and the chronology changed.

This forth book in the series “Blue Lightning”, continues on from the previous 3. This was the concluding volume of the original quartet of books. As such, it has a quite dramatic and has an unexpected finale.
This time we meet only a few of the usual characters as we travel to Fair Isle where Jimmy Perez was born! Instead we are introduced to the close-knit island community and Jimmy’s parents. Jimmy brings his finance’ Fran to meet his parents and is looking forward to the trip. Something he eventually regrets.

This mystery is primarily about Jimmy Perez’s investigation of the murder of a woman at the famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory. There is a cold-hearted killer on the loose who is trapped on the island by the bad weather. Alas, this same bad weather prevents mainland help for Jimmy as he struggles to investigate.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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I really enjoy Ann Cleeves books. The way she writes about Shetland, the landscape, the weather and the Shetlanders, make it all very real, without being too descriptive. As I finished one book I was eager to start the next one. The plots are complicated enough, but not so, that I feel I have to recap to get back into the story. The characters are totally credible as she mixes work with pleasure. I would recommend her to anyone who enjoys a good detective story that's entertaining without being so complex that it becomes hard work.
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Lots of people seem to love this book and although for me its not bad by any means, I don't quite get where the adulation is coming from.

My big problem is that Jimmy Perez seems to be a bit if a rubbish detective. What does he actually do? He interviews the suspects, but we don't really see much of that and it doesn't shed a lot of light on whats happened. He wanders about the island but doesn't seem to have any sort of plan. He takes a lot of photo's which are then forgotten. He gets involved with minor characters who don't really impinge on the plot. Oh, and he lets his artist girlfriend get involved in a bit of sleuthing (oops).

Throughout all of this he never gives the impression that he has any idea what he's doing. Somewhere along the way the Fiscal tells him he's the best detective she's ever met! God help the Scottish constabulary if that's the case.

Finally the plot is solved in a rush and the "shocking thing which happens at the end" happens and leaves the book and the reader feeling a bit out of balance.

So, I quite enjoyed it, but I'm not desperate to read another.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy these books as they are wellconstructed and there is always an unexpected twist in the story line. Look forward to reading more of the Shetland series.
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A bit ho-hum, this book. Great settings and interesting characters, but some of the detail of their situations was a little tedious to wade through. The sudden putting-together of the clues (which were hidden from the reader) stretches credibility, and the behaviour of some of the characters was also hard to believe.
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Excellent writing and story-line line was really good. However, i felt the ending let it down a wee bit, to me the idea of the final murdered was rather ridiculous - a twist too far that added nothing.
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Bit disappointed with Blue Lightning. I had enjoyed the previous novels in the series but reading this one I wondered whether Ms Cleeves style had changed a bit. The narrative didn't flow for me and in the ending there were developments in the plot which could have been explained in previous chapters. No doubt I will read it again. Maybe second time around...........
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