Book Review: The Crow Trap By Ann Cleeves

Friday, March 18, 2016
Series: Vera Stanhope Book #1
Paperback  560 pages
Publisher: Pan Books; New Edition edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1509815899
The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope)
The Crow Trap is the first book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, VERA. Three very different women come together at isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal ...Rachael, the team leader, is still reeling after a double betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Anne, a botanist, sees the survey as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace, a strange, uncommunicative young woman, hiding plenty of her own secrets. Rachael is the first to arrive at the cottage, where she discovers the body of her friend, Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide - a verdict Rachael refuses to accept. When another death occurs, a fourth woman enters the picture - the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope ...Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices and The Glass Room. Ann Cleeves' Shetland series (BBC television drama SHETLAND) contains five titles, of which Dead Water is the most recent.
I must admit that I had never heard of this author and discovered her quite by chance.  I love British drama series and as I was browsing the selection on Hulu, I came across "Vera" starring Brenda Blethyn whom I simply adore.  Once I realized this series was based on the books by Ann Cleeves, I immediately made it my mission to locate every book in the series. After all, we all know the book is so much better than any film adaptation! And I could not be more pleased with this first installment in the Vera Stanhope series.  Cleeves is an amazing British author with a keen eye for detail, suspense, and insight into the human psyche.  Each character is so well-developed and intriguing but none can compare to the eccentric Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope.  The most appealing aspect of this lead female character is that she's not perfect; she's flawed and broken with a haunting past that only makes her both endearing and intriguing all at once.  She doesn't necessarily play by the rules, and is rather unconventional and extremely driven by her investigative nature.  The plot within "The Crow Trap" is filled with so many unexpected twists and turns, I was left guessing until the very end and often times I felt as though I should grab a notepad myself to piece together the evidence and analyze each suspect!  An extremely well-written start to a series and I'm quite anxious to become even further acquainted with this talented writer. FIVE stars.

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