Dead Water-Ann Cleaves

Dead Water
Ann Cleaves
Minotaur, Feb 18 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9781250036605

Having returned to his home in the Shetlands after a stint in London, reporter Jerry Markham drives at night in Brae when an unlit vehicle forces him off the road. Moments later the journalist is murdered. Prosecutor Rhona Laing finds Markham’s corpse.

Detective Inspector Willow Reeves arrives from West Scotland to lead the investigation into the Markham murder. She knows she must cooperate with Laing but finds the stressed local prosecutor acting odd and seemingly concealing something critical. Though still on partial leave as he grieves the death of his lover Fran (see Blue Lightning), Inspector Jimmy Perez agrees to assist Reeves on the case by interviewing the islanders he knows so well. Reeves and Perez find the locals split over their feelings re Markham due to an incident years ago involving Evie Watt before he fled the Shetlands. The two cops also learn Markham was digging into a story many islanders prefer he ignored, but who killed him with so many suspects proves difficult to identify.

The fifth Shetland police procedural (see Raven Black, White Nights and Red Bones) is an entertaining leisurely paced whodunit that requires a mental adjustment by series fans; as depressed Perez never displays any energy especially involving the inquiry. The murder mystery is well done and enhanced by a deep look at the constant debate between tradition and modernization (even the police seem enamored with pre social media methods).

Harriet Klausner

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