Wildfire, Shetland #8 by Ann Cleeves

I have simply adored the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. Beautifully written, atmospheric, filled with characters that are rich and flawed and who you champion and, better still, understand, these are superb novels. The islands that make up the Shetland group are brought to life with all their quirks and uniqueness, much like the locals. But it’s Jimmy Perez, the “emotionally incontinent” Detective Inspector, single father and widower who steals the show.

I think this is why, after investing in Jimmy so deeply and feeling like I knew what makes him tick, I found this final book in the series less than satisfying. While the central crime and plot surrounding it were terrific, it was Jimmy’s actions and motivation that didn’t feel true to the man we’ve grown to know and, like his love-interest Willow, adore. Not only that, but it felt as if the last part of the book was hurried, as if Cleeves had grown bored with her main characters and just wanted to bring the saga to an end. This was disappointing. After spending so much time with Perez and co, enjoying the warp and weft of the narrative threads and seeing the tapestry come together, it seemed to unravel a bit as it was rushed and untidy.

Maybe it was just me, but I have left the Shetlands and Perez, Sandy and Willow a wee bit frustrated and, after being welcomed as a local, feeling very much a soothmoother.


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