TBR Review: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

raven-blackRaven Black
by Ann Cleeves
Narrated by Gordon Griffin
Series: Shetland #1
Genre: Mystery
Published by Minotaur Books, 2006 (Macmillan Audio, 2014)
Audiobook, purchased
384 pages
11 hours, 21 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator grade: B+
Synopsis: Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.

It was precisely midnight when he stepped through the door. Taylor had said he wanted everyone in the Incident Room an hour before first light the next day, but Perez wasn’t ready for sleep. As he switched on the kettle to make tea, he remembered he hadn’t eaten since lunchtime and stuck sliced bread under the grill, fished margarine and marmalade from the fridge. He’d have breakfast now, save time in the morning.


  • This is my TBR Review for June. This reading challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. We post a review on the third Wednesday every month and she provides a topic each month to choose our TBR read from. This is an optional exercise, but fun for me to try to find a TBR book that fits the topic. This month the challenge is to choose an author that I have more than one of her books in my TBR pile. I think I have four or five of Ann Cleeves’ books.
  • I really like this book. I like the way the author tells the story–from a number of points of view–as we as well as the police try to figure out why the girl was murdered. The narrator did a great job narrating the book.
  • This is a character-driven mystery. There’s not a lot of action. That’s what I really like about it–learning more about the people and motivations.
  • The story told from many points of view (POV)–Jimmy Perez, the inspector from Shetland Island; Fran Hunter who finds the body; Magnus Tait, the lonely old man whom everyone is sure killed a girl who disappeared in the past; Sally Henry a girl who doesn’t fit in with her peers.
  • Even though the main POV is Jimmy Perez’s, the police inspector, this isn’t really a police procedural, because we see so many other POV’s during the story.
  • The Shetland Islands setting is so important to the story. An island–the isolation, the weather, the islanders v. newcomers (mostly English) v. tourists are all part of this story.
  • I like reading about islands and the people who live on them. Islands are so unique as are the people who live on them.
  • I didn’t figure out the solution to this mystery until the end.


  • In the next book I want to learn more about Jimmy Perez.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is a good beginning of a mystery series. I want to read more of the books.
  • I would really like to see the TV show for this series though I want to read the books first.


  • CWA Gold Dagger Award (2006)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Ann Cleeves is a British mystery writer–author of the Vera Stanhope series and the Shetland series–both series made into TV series.
  • She worked as a cook at the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle. While there she met a visiting ornithologist who became her husband. He was appointed warden to a small tidal island nature preserve. They were the only residents there and Ms. Cleeves found plenty of time to write. After that they moved to Northumberland which provided inspiration for many of her books. They now live in the North East.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Challenge–hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian (an author with more than one book in my TBR pile)
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (A book turned into a TV show–though I haven’t seen the TV show)