Book Review – Cold Earth

by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781447278214

Cold Earth is the seventh in Ann Cleeves’s acclaimed Shetland series, now a major BBC drama. She has published 25 novels and has a large and faithful following.

On a cold and wet winter’s day, villagers in the north-eastern archipelago of Shetland gather at a graveside to bid farewell to an old friend. The service, however, comes to an abrupt end as the unceasing rains dislodge the mountainside and a river of mud and earth crash through the cemetery and surrounding countryside. The spectators, safely out of the path of the mudslide, watch as a small croft, thought to be unoccupied, is destroyed in the mayhem. But in the small cottage a body of a woman is found and it soon becomes apparent that she was dead before the landslide, strangled in a red dress.

Jimmy Perez, a local detective, must solve this murder and unearth the identity of the mysterious woman. The most endearing quality of this book is the characters: Perez, his stepdaughter, his colleagues, and his superior from the mainland Willow.

Cold Earth is a good, solid detective read but unfortunately hardly a thriller. I found the pace pedestrian at best and almost longed for the book to resolve itself.

Wayne Bouwer

Posted on: 26th September 2016