Ann Cleeves' Shetland Island series was originally intended to be four books, and, in fact, it's called The Shetland Quartet. However, she must have found it as hard to leave behind Inspector Jimmy Perez and the Shetlands as her readers did. Fortunately, for us, she brought both back in Dead Water.
Jimmy Perez is still in mourning and on leave, so when Rhona Laing found a body in the yoal, the boat she and other women used for rowing, Jimmy wasn't interested in the case. As Procurator Fiscal, it was Rhona's job to supervise the murder investigation. But, soon after she met Detective Inspector Willow Reeves, Rhona decided to take a leave. She suspected Reeves might see too much.
Sergeant Sandy Wilson and Inspector Reeves find there are rumors as to why Jerry Markham was on the island, but no one really knew why the journalist was there, or why he would have been killed. The man had been a spoiled child there, an only child who never grew up. He wasn't popular, but he'd been away for years until he returned, supposedly to write a story about the islands and energy. There were opposing sides in the fight to bring wind and tidal energy to the islands. But, did anyone care enough to kill?
Despite himself, Jimmy was interested in the case, and agrees to help, interviewing some of the people involved. As Reeves investigates the business and politics of energy, Perez turns to the local people he knows. "He always believed more in the personal than the political." And, he thought the truth was somewhere in Markham's change from the man everyone knew to the rumors of a conversion. Jimmy Perez sees that betrayal and transformation might be a key, particularly after a second victim is found.
Ann Cleeves continues to write mysteries that emphasize the dark and lonely side of life, using the isolated, hard-to-reach Shetland Islands as the perfect setting. And, time after time, she surprises with the ending and the killer, although the answers are perfectly logical when they're explained. Dead Water is another excellent book in the Shetland series. Welcome back, Jimmy Perez.
(Cleeves' TV series, Shetland, debuted on the BBC in 2013. Hopefully, someday it will come to PBS.)
Ann Cleeves website is www.anncleeves.com
Dead Water by Ann Cleeves. Minotaur Books. 2014. ISBN 9781250036605 (hardcover), 400p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.