Blue Lightning (Shetland Island Series #4)

Blue Lightning (Shetland Island Series #4)

by Ann Cleeves

Paperback(First Edition)

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In the fourth book of Ann Cleeves' critically acclaimed series set in the Shetland Islands, Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez brings his fiancée home to Fair Isle, a birder's paradise, where strangers are viewed with suspicions and distrust. When a woman's body is discovered at the island's bird observatory, the investigation is hampered by a raging storm that renders the island totally isolated. Jimmy has to find clues the old-fashioned way, and he has to do it quickly. There's a killer on the island just waiting for the chance to strike again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312384449
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Series: Shetland Island Series , #4
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 35,372
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

ANN CLEEVES was twice shortlisted for the Dagger Award before winning the first Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award for Raven Black. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

Read an Excerpt

Blue Lightning


Chapter One

Fran sat with her eyes closed. The small plane dropped suddenly, seemed to fall from the sky, then levelled for a moment before tilting like a fairground ride. She opened her eyes to see a grey cliff ahead of them. It was close enough for her to make out the white streaks of bird muck and last season’s nests. Below, the sea was boiling. Spindrift and white froth caught by the gale-force winds spun over the surface of the water.

Why doesn’t the pilot do something? Why is Jimmy just sitting there, waiting for us all to die?

She imagined the impact as the plane hit the rock, twisted metal and twisted bodies. No hope at all of survival. I should have written a will. Who will care for Cassie? Then she realized this was the first time in her life she’d been scared for her own physical safety and was overcome by a mindless panic that scrambled her brain and stopped her thinking.

Then the plane lifted slightly, seemed just to clear the edge of the cliff. Perez was pointing out familiar landmarks: the North Haven, the field centre at the North Light, Ward Hill. It seemed to Fran that the pilot was still struggling to keep the aircraft level and that Perez was hoping to distract her as they bucked and swivelled to make a landing. Then they were down, bumping along the airstrip.

Neil the pilot sat quite still for a moment, his hands resting on the joystick. Fran thought then he’d been almost as scared as she had.

‘Great job,’ Perez said.

‘Oh, well.’ Neil gave a brief grin. ‘We have to practise for the ambulance flights. But I did think at one point we’d have to turn back.’ He added more urgently: ‘Out you get, the pair of you. I’ve a planeload of visitors to take out and the forecast is that it’ll get worse later. I don’t want to be stranded here all week.’

A small group of people waited by the airstrip, their backs to the wind, struggling to remain upright. Perez and Fran’s bags were already unloaded and Neil was waving for the waiting passengers to come on board. Fran found she was shaking now. It had felt suddenly cold after leaving the stuffy cabin of the small plane, but she knew this was also a response to her fear. And to her anxiety about meeting the waiting people, Perez’s family and friends. This place, Fair Isle, was a part of who he was. He’d grown up here and his family had lived here for generations. What would they make of her?

It would be, she thought, like the worst sort of job interview, and instead of arriving calm and composed, ready with a smile – usually she could do charm as well as anyone she knew – the terror of the flight remained with her and had turned her to a shivering, inarticulate wreck.

She was saved the need to perform immediately because Neil had loaded his passengers on to the plane and was taxiing to the end of the airstrip to prepare for the return trip to Tingwall on the Shetland mainland. The noise of the engines was very close and too loud for them to have an easy conversation. There was a momentary pause, then the surge of the engines again and the plane rattled past them and lifted into the air. Already it looked as frail and small as a child’s toy, tossed about by the strong wind. It turned over their heads and disappeared north, seeming more stable now. Around her Fran sensed a collective relief. She thought she hadn’t been overreacting about the dangers of the flight. It wasn’t a southern woman’s hysteria. This wasn’t an easy place to live.


BLUE LIGHTNING. Copyright © 2010 by Ann Cleeves. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Blue Lightning (Shetland Island Quartet #4) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now I know how my children and grandchildren felt waiting for the next Harry Potter book. My husband and I are big fans of the Shetland Island murder mysteries and have learned Ann Cleeves has released the fourth installment, "Blue Ligtning". Let's catch up with the UK and get this book out on the shelves so we can get on with our lives!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Copperskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth and final book in Ann Cleeves' Shetland Quartet and it has been a great series. In Blue Lightning, Det. Jimmy Perez brings his fiancee, Fran, home to remote Fair Isle to meet his parents. Soon we have stormy weather and a murder, and no way on or off the island for the residents, the birders staying at the bird observatory, the police, or the killer. These are police procedurals with a wonderful sense of place and interesting, complex characters. I'm so sorry to see the series end. And what an ending. Highly recommended!! I know, I know, another series - but there are only four!!The first book in the series is Raven Black and they should absolutely be read in order.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
The Shetland quartet comes to a close in Anne Cleeves’ Blue Lightning, and it’s end is a satisfying blend of tragic mystery and hope, perfectly suited to that ever-present character in these novels—the gray winds, clouds and seas of the Shetland Isles. (Of course, there are further books now, but Blue Lightning is the last of the original set—and yes, I shall be looking out for more.) Characters have been built up over the sequence of novels. Now there are plans for the future in the air, families to meet, obligations, relationships, hopes. And, of course, there’s mystery. But Jimmy Perez is at his childhood home on Fair Isle in this tale, with limited technology and communication. He really wanted to spend more time with his fiancee, who is fast becoming friends with his family. But fractured relationships, splintering trust and frayed tempers combine with mystery and intrigue to keep them apart. As usual, readers and protagonists come slowly to the truth of things, while a murderer seems almost to get away… Blue Lightning is probably best read in sequence with the other novels, not because it doesn’t stand alone (it does, beautifully), but because it gives away too much, tying books to the later TV series, and because it’s dénouement is so beautifully and hauntingly drawn on the past. I love this quartet. Disclosure: Now I want to buy more
knaresPF More than 1 year ago
consistent quality as with previous books in the series
MysteryReader More than 1 year ago
I reread the first three books of this series one right after another, before I began Blue Lightening. I couldn't put it down. When I finished I immediately went to Ann Cleeves' website to be sure this was not the final book...but that there will be another quartet featuring Perez. The ending was not what I wanted but I can see how it sets up books to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Knitting-MomJP More than 1 year ago
The whole Shetland island series is wonderful,, but this book certainly brings the series' main character full circle! The ending is unbelievable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hated this last book. Why did she have to kill off Fran. What a stupid and cruel ending.
Colona More than 1 year ago
The conclusion of the Shetland Quartet disappoints me so much that I've thought up a different one that fits the series. As Cleeves's story goes, when Sarah Fowler rushes out of the kitchen, Fran can't break in on Jimmy's meeting, and she feels the irritation with Sarah and the pressure and exhilaration of doing something. As I pick that up, Fran returns to the kitchen. She is stopped from recklessly running outside by the sight of a cooking mitt (and perhaps she burns herself). She experiences a moment of pain and futility and anger which inhibits her from acting: she has intuited that solving the murder is not her role. This, in a sense, is Fran's death. She develops beyond the character of the Pandora, the hubristic, driven mainland British woman who can't survive in Shetland. Instead, Fran begins to realize that she only struggle to survive emotionally in Shetland because she will have to temper her independence, somewhat subordinate the importance of her life to Jimmy's work, and carefully navigate the physical and human waters of an alien place. Fran's growth would add depth to continuing thrillers with Jimmy as protagonist; he would have to deal better, too.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Police Detective Jimmy Perez brings his English fiancée Fran Hunter to his home on Fair Isle to meet his parents and the other residents. A welcoming fete is thrown, but at a bird observatory, someone stabs a woman with a knife to her back and leaving feathers in her hair. The deceased is a famous BBC ornithologist Angela, alleged guardian of the island's bird sanctuary. Perez realizes the victim was universally disliked by those who knew her; even perhaps her husband Maurice. Suspects are numerous ranging from a myriad of lovers, her stepdaughter, her employee and the bird lovers' crowd. Perez struggles on his own due to a hurricane cutting off the island from the mainland. At the same time just before the storm hit, there is an influx of bird watchers due to a rare avian finding. As Perez digs deeper and Fran tries to help her beloved though he pleads with her not to get involved, he fears a tie to his family. The final Shetland Island police procedural (see Red Bones, Raven Black and White Nights) is a super whodunit. The story line focuses beyond just Jimmy's investigation and relationship with his fiancée, as the murder haunts the small community although the victim is loathed by anyone who met her. Jimmy is great as he is cut off from professional help, but though he detests what he is finding, he resolutely stays the course. With a final twist that will stun fans, The Shetland Island saga is a terrific series and hopefully will have more colorful Fair Isle mysteries. Harriet Klausner