As usual, I've ploughed through a lot of books this month. Most of them are from the same Ann Cleeve crime series, which I am loving. I've also been reading a lot of new releases from NetGalley and, while some have only been OK, there are a couple that have really gripped me.
Shetland Island Series by Ann CleevesThe last few monthly favourites posts from 2016 were full of Ann Cleeves' Vera series. I've now started on her Shetland Island series after my Grandma bought me the first book, Raven Black, for Christmas, and she has once again got me obsessed. She was the one who introduced me to Ann Cleeves in the first place (and also Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Ruth Rendell).
I've read the first four books in the Shetland Island series and I've just started the fifth one, Dead Water. I'm reading them in order this time as with the Vera ones I was all mixed up, I didn't find that too much of a problem but I would suggest reading the Shetland series from the beginning as there is more of a story which continues throughout the novels.
As the name suggests, the books are set on the Shetland Isles of Scotland and follow Inspector Jimmy Perez as he investigates murders on the Islands. Like Vera, I found Jimmy Perez an engaging character; curious, lonely, warm but also standoffish. I think I prefer Vera a bit more though, but I like how very different they are. Plus, Perez suits the setting of the Shetland Isles.
I particularly loved the first book, Raven Black when the murder of a school girl and the link with a previous missing girl case throws the Island into shock. I think the fourth book, Blue Lightening, is my least favourite; not to give any spoilers away but there's a...disappointing event and things get a tiny bit cheesy.
The Shetland series is really interesting as it looks at the way the police work in remote places, plus with Cleeves there's the usual excellent and full characters, even the supporting characters are full of depth. I'd definitely recommend Shetland, and any Ann Cleeves books, for crime fiction lovers.
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregorI've already reviewed Reservoir 13 here. It was a really stand out read for March. I was expecting a typical crime investigation of a missing girl, with a brief look at the local community. But it's really the opposite; the story of missing Rebecca Shaw is like background noise throughout the novel as the lives of the village community are explored over 13 years. I read another review which describes Reservoir 13 as hypnotising and I definitely agree; the prose is swift and mesmerising and before you know it you're half way through.
The Tweleve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah TintiThe review of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley was my last blog post so take a look at that for more details of this book. I really like the way the story is told, flashing back to tell how Samuel Hawley got each of the 12 bullet wounds on his body, while tying it in with the current events. It's really well balanced with some lovely prose, while also being violent, gritty and angry. I can see The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley appealing to lots of different people who like various genres as it covers a bit of everything; crime, romance, coming-of-age and more.
Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments below.