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Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
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Cold Earth (2016)

by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland (7)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Rating: 3.75* of four

Ach, Jimmy, you need to pull up your socks and get with the program or Willow's gonna get something better equipped to provide babies and boom-boom in Inverness! What a pity that'll be!

I'm invested in this novel series. I liked this entry just fine. I had a problem with the resolution: When Simon Shrinky-dink is the ONE AND ONLY voice even implying the the first victim was in any way unhappy, well...five alarms and red red flags, Author Cleeves! It wasn't enough to ruin my pleasure in spending time with Jimmy and Sandy and Willow, mind you. Something else almost was, though: When Andy Hay's gone off to Have A Think, it's about the least deft thing I've read Author Cleeves do! And Janeymum does not twig to her boyo's hidey-hole? No. He's got quite a lot of probletunities, does Andy. He's no mastermind to be successfully invisible to his doting mama when he's a hundred meters away.

So I twigged to the murdered right quick. I was sure the Hay family was in it, particularly once the nature of the business relationships around the community were limned in acid on the backs of my eyelids. EW! What I had built in my head wasn't the connection that came to light, though: I was sure Michael's girlfriend was employed by Rogerson and the motive was outraged revenge on Simon Shrinky-dink's part.

I'm also curious about a throwaway line that Author Cleeves gives to Mavis Rogerson about her Kathryn: "She's her father's daughter all right." Nothing at all is done with it. Nothing really led up to it, although the mother/daughter relationship appeared to me to be quite businesslike; I put it down to adult-child-back-in-nest syndrome. Might be I was only partway right....

There it is, laddies and gentlewomen. There's the reason I keep going with this series in a nutshell. Author Cleeves gives the reader so much more than she writes on the page. She puts in details that don't exactly redherringize you, but do command a fraction more of your attention than ordinary backgrounding. She doesn't fill them out. She says, in effect, "and what do you imagine will be behind this little nug of goodness?" then leaves us to it.

I get the feeling that she likes her readers and enjoys making things that fun bit extra.

So why, I hear the Parity-for-All Perfectioneers grumble, do you give this a "bad" 3-star plus rating? All those nosegays of praise and then *splat*? That's just wrong! The hell it is, Gold Star Granting Gremlins. You just take yourself off and read [Red Bones] or better still [Raven Black]! Author Cleeves is capable of nigh-unto-perfection. This book just isn't that. There's the rating explained. ( )
  richardderus | Dec 15, 2018 |
I've known for a while that this series is coming to an end, and I've been torn between reading this book or saving it for when I need a read that I know is going to be good. That's how I've come to think of Ann Cleeves' writing-- as guaranteed excellence. Her books are so quiet and unassuming that readers may not realize just how tightly woven the plots are, how carefully delineated each character is, and how beautifully the landscape is described.

The mystery of the dark-haired woman takes time to tease out all the clues and make sense of them. Her identity alone drives the quiet and observant Jimmy Perez to distraction, and then there's the matter of what she was doing on Shetland to begin with as well as why someone would want her dead.

The personal lives of both Jimmy and Sandy are becoming interesting, and neither man is accustomed to thinking of a woman in his life when he's in the middle of a murder investigation. I love the omniscient point of view. By the time readers come to the end of a Cleeves novel, they've really come to know the characters because they've spent time in their heads. That points out one of the special things about this author's writing. How can readers spend so much time in the characters' heads without (1) becoming bored or (2) figuring out the identity of the killer?

Besides being on Shetland again and watching Perez solve a murder, one of the highlights of Cold Earth for me was the growth of Sandy's character. In this book, he's beginning to come into his own, and that says a lot, not only about him but of Jimmy Perez, the man who could see that this young man appeared to be slow but wasn't and took time to work with him and turn him into a first-rate police officer. It's something you don't see that often, in fiction or in real life.

If you're in the mood for tight plotting, excellent characterization, and a vivid landscape, you really need to pick up one of Ann Cleeves' Shetland Island mysteries. They are superb. ( )
  cathyskye | Sep 29, 2018 |
Gathered at the cemetery for the interment of Magnus Tait, the mourners, including Jimmy Perez, barely have time to move out of the way before a landslide topples tombstones and destroys Minnie Laurenson's former home. Perez discovers a body in the home which was believed to be vacant. Who is the woman? Is it the distant American relative who inherited the home or someone else? The autopsy reveals the woman was already dead when the mudslide occurred. Jimmy calls Willow Reeves in Edinburgh, asking for her assistance on the case. This installment shows Sandy developing better investigative skills. Suspects abound. A second murder near the same location leads investigators to look at those residing nearby more closely. I pinpointed the murderer rather early but it still was an engaging plot. I think there are some rather unrealistic elements to the plot. The wrap-up was perhaps a bit rushed and disappointing, leaving readers with additional questions left unanswered. Still, I'll read the next installment because I love this series. ( )
  thornton37814 | Aug 7, 2018 |
The seventh in Anne Cleeves' Shetland series, all of which are to some degree "locked room" mysteries. Cold Earth is an intriguing mystery and also good character development - Sandy starts to mature as a person and a policemen - as well as an indirect examination of Shetland life. It is slightly slower paced than previous stories and th Willow story line threatens to lose touch with reakity but overall still a good read. July 2018 ( )
  alanca | Jul 26, 2018 |
Like most of Ann Cleeves books it doesn't take long for a body to show up and the investigative team of this small Scottish Island to spring into action. This dark tale introduced the reader to a variety of characters that all could have been suspects and all had secrets to keep. What actually makes this series engrossing are the characters. Jimmy, Sandy and Willow are completely different personalities, but feed naturally off of one another in ways that are unique to each personality. Although I had trouble grasping the entire reason for the murder I found the book engaging enough that it complimented the series and I am looking forward to the next one...which rumor says could be the last installment of this series. ( )
  Carol420 | Jan 31, 2018 |
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For Sara, my friend and agent who's been with me almost since the beginning.
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The land slipped while Jimmy Perez was standing besides the grave.
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"In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and water smash through a house in its path. Everyone thinks the home is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. Perez soon becomes obsessed with tracing her identity and realizes he must find out who she was and how she died. Cold Earth is the next book in Ann Cleeves' beloved Shetland series, which is now a major success for the BBC and is available in U.S. through Netflix, PBS, and Acorn TV"--… (more)

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