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Wild Fire: A Shetland Island Mystery    by Ann Cleeves order for
Wild Fire
by Ann Cleeves
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I somehow missed the earlier episodes of Ann Cleeves' excellent Shetland Island mystery series (on which the hit TV series Shetland is based), I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their spectacular setting and series lead Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in the later ones.

Wild Fire follows Cold Earth (that started when a landslide uncovered a corpse) as the eighth (and final entry) in the series. While Jimmy discovers whodunit in both, the developments in his romantic life are just as riveting as the mystery. His obsession with the lovely victim in Cold Earth paralleled a growing relationship with his free spirited boss, Willow Reeves. Jimmy's struggles to come to terms with that relationship continue in Wild Fire.

This mystery centers on two families. The English Flemings moved to Shetland, hoping for a better life there for their autistic son Christopher. They bought a house from a popular local, Dennis Gear, who committed suicide after they moved in. This created a lingering resentment of the newcomers. The Flemings are friends with the Moncrieffs, a family with busy parents and a live-in nanny, Emma, whose own childhood left much to be desired. The investigation opens when Emma is found hanging in the Flemings' barn, just where Gear's corpse was discovered.

As always, Cleeves offers fans a fine and intricate puzzle in Wild Fire, with no obvious solution. Only patient and persistent police work will unearth the truth of what happened to cause this death and another. Along the way, Jimmy Perez must think hard about his past - and his future. I'm sorry to see this series end, and might just have to go back to catch up on its beginnings in Raven Black.

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