#BloodyScotland: McIlvanney Award Reader: Pint Sized Reviews: Anne Cleeves & Cold Earth


The McIlvanney Prize is Bloody Scotland’s annual prize awarded to the best Scottish Crime book of the year. It provides Scottish crime writing with recognition and aims to raise the profile and prestige of the genre as a whole. Scottish roots are a must for competition applications: authors must either be born in Scotland, live there or set their books there. Crime fiction, non-fiction and anthologies of short crime stories are all eligible. The prize was renamed in memory of William McIlvanney, often described as the Godfather of Tartan Noir, in 2016.

For the second year in a row, I was honoured to be a reader for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize for #BloodyScotland.

This involves readers being sent 5 random books to read and score out of 10. The scores are all sent back to the team at Bloody Scotland and the long list is created from the top scorers. It is all done in secret and while some readers know other readers involved we agree not to discuss any of the books that we have read with each other, or with anyone else.

In the run up to #BloodyScotland I’ll be giving #pintsized reviews of the books I was allocated to read for this year’s long list.

First on my list was “Cold Earth” by Anne Cleeves


I am a lifelong fan of the Shetland series so I was delighted to have been chosen to read this book from Anne Cleeves:

What does the blurb say:

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage, he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.

My Pint sized review:

Once again Ann has nailed it! She plucks the reader from their sofa and drops them right into the midst of a plot so twisted and dark that there is no escape until the very last page! Ann paints the landscape so perfectly that I could imagine myself on Shetland and found myself shivering as I read. Her character portrayal is perfect and as a huge fan of the series, I feel as though I’ve lived their lives alongside them as the series has developed. These are characters that you cannot fail to engage with. Cold Earth ticked all the boxes for me – a dark and twisted plot; characters I can connect with and a sense of place which has opened up the Shetlands to those who have never had the chance to visit!

About Anne Cleeves:

Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves is the author behind ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on-screen and in print. Both series are international bestsellers.

In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland series. In 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame. Ann lives in North Tyneside.

You can buy the book by clicking the link below:

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