Raven Black is a solid British police procedural – well drawn characters, quality dialogue and an almost believable plot. It is in the realist tradition, aiming to draw readers in through its likeness to real life.
The story is set on the isolated island of Shetland, and uses the murder of two young girls over a long period to explore the tensions on the island.
After a teenager, Catherine, is murdered, and another goes missing, suspicions fall on Magnus Tait, an old local loner suspected of killing a child twenty or so years ago for whom there was never justice.
The local police officer, Perez, leads the investigation, vying with outside police forces for control of the case and discovering a lot about the people of the island on the way.
The spoiler is that Tait didn’t kill either girl, though is covering for his mother who killed the first, and Catherine’s murderer and the kidnapping is in fact the work of her best friend, Sally, who envied and disliked Catherine equally.
The high quality writing and the exploration of island life make this a strong piece of crime fiction.