Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Ann Cleeves' Thin Air has
Thick Atmosphere

In Thin Air, novelist Ann Cleeves plays one tight-knit community
against the other.   There are young urban professionals gone up to the northernmost British isle for a wedding, and the team of detectives who descend on the community when the bride vanishes.

The island itself, hours from the mainland, in the eerie twilight of a sun that never sets, naturally bears a small, insular community.  It has a scandal of its own: the neglected girl who drowned generations ago and now haunts the foggy cliffs and permeates the story.  

The crime sharpens conflict among the communities, and also within them. 

For those of us who have followed the series from the start, it's good news that brooding detective Jimmy Perez is a little less brooding, here, and a little more sensitive to his boss from the central office, named "Willow" by her aged hippie parents.  Even better, we see more growth and even a hint of romance for sidekick Sandy.

In each of Cleeves's novels that I've read, when the story reaches a breathlessly exciting conclusion, we face two or three chapters of stagey question-and-answer sessions explaining what really happened.   If there's some way to mete out revelations earlier, so that only one or two final questions remain at the denouement, I wish Cleeves would find it.

No comments: