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HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 14 January 2017
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.
Once more, this is not a straightforward case at all – and we follow some interesting sub-plots before Jimmy finally unravels it all - but with an interesting and emotional climax - which (as usual) I didn’t see coming!

I was a tad disappointed with the previous book “Red Bones”. This one is back on track – perhaps this is why there are now 3 more books in the series (a quartet of 7 books)! As before, I couldn’t put the book down until I had read it all! This is a self-contained murder mystery book – but I would strongly recommend reading the previous 3 books first. They bring much more ‘background’ to this story and are well worth it.
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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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on 14 August 2015
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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on 25 April 2014
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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on 8 May 2017
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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on 27 September 2014
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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on 9 May 2014
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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on 30 September 2013
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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on 11 May 2014
I was somewhat disappointed with the ending and felt like I had watched an episode of a TV drama rather than read an intriguing novel - as was promised by some of the reviews of this book.
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on 22 May 2014
This sounded intriguing. But didn't like the ending would have been better if it had been Sarah Fowler as the killer.
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