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Reviews
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel and Sophie Amos (Narrator)
Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton and Margaret Strom (Narrator)
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Cleopatra in Space: Queen of the Nile by Mike Maihack
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
A Death Long Overdue by Eva Gates and Elise Arsenault (Narrator)
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alka
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett and Cassandra Campbell (narrator)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 1 by Naru Narumi
The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Gordon Griffin (narrator)
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Restaurant to Another World Volume 2 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman
The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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November 2020 Sources

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3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Raven Black: 12/30/20

Raven Black

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Gordon Griffin (narrator) is the first mystery in the Shetland Island series. It's also the inspiration for parts of the first series of Shetland ("Red Bones") and the first mystery of series two ("Raven Black"). I saw these first two mysteries on Shetland a couple years ago and decided to read the mystery series.

I recall Shetland being rather confusing in parts and now having read Raven Black I can see it's because a central artistic theme was stripped from it and applied to "Red Bones." This theme is fire and ice, taken from the Robert Frost poem. By stripping the fire of Up Helly Aa and slapping it onto an entire different mystery, destroys the narrative flow of both mysteries.

The book opens with an elderly man, Magnus, inviting two teenage girls to his home for cake on New Year's Eve. They live at the end of the lane near his place. They are tipsy and not inclined to go home, so they accept his offer as a lark. Both girls eventually head home. A couple days later, one of them is found murdered near the man's home and the village is convinced he did it. See, 19 years earlier, another girl who was friends with him went missing but he was never convicted.

The remainder of the mystery is an investigation of the dead girl's last days. It's a look into her history, her family, her love life, and ultimately a video project she was doing on the village, called "Fire and Ice."

Like In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany (2007), the narrative switches among multiple points of view, although the protagonist is clearly Inspector Jimmy Perez. Perez is from a different island but has settled here to work. His family, mother especially, wants him to come home and settle down, but he's conflicted.

Also like Delany's mystery, Raven Black's main appeal is its setting. It's a mystery set in a small, remote place with a harsh climate. In this volume, that setting is explored through the Robert Frost poem, just as the victim's life and character is.

The second book is White Nights (2008).

Four stars

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