I found this was a pretty slow burn – most of the action happens in the last 50 pages or so, but this is kind of what I had expected (And I assume is typical of these sorts of books?). Much of the book is about introducing us to the characters – Matthew and his husband, and two of Matthew’s colleagues in particular. Of course we also meet a lot of locals as the investigate unfolds. While we spend a lot of time with the police officers as they interrogate the people close to the mystery I never felt like this was too police process-y, and I thought the story came together quite naturally rather than in information dumps.
One of my favourite things about this book was how well Cleeves wrote the setting – I found it really comfortable to read, and I could imagine being right there on the shore with Matthew during his investigations. I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I know Shetland and Vera from the tv, but I just found this really easy to picture as a tv adaptation, and was unsurprised to hear that there have been talks about adapting it already I feel like the way Cleeves writes characters and settings, as well as the pacing through the novel, really lends the story well to the screen.
As I’ve mentioned, the characters were really nicely written. I feel like the balance of letting us get to know the main characters, but also showing that there is more for us to discover about them was perfectly done. I am definitely keen to find out more about the main characters, and will be keeping an eye out for the next book in the series.
Source: Free copy provided by Pan Macmillan Australia
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Category: Mystery, fiction, crime
Themes: Family, mental health, disability, abuse, religion