When the body of journalist Jerry Markham is found in a traditional Shetland boat, outside the house of the Fiscal down at the Marina, young Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is drafted in from the Hebrides to head the investigation.
Since the death of his fiancée, Inspector Jimmy Perez has been out the loop, but his interest in this new case is stirred and he decides to help the inquiry - for Willow, his local knowledge is invaluable as the close-knit community holds many secrets. Markham - originally a Shetlander but who had made a name for himself in London - had left the islands years before to pursue his burgeoning writing career. In his wake, he left a scandal involving a young girl, Evie Watt, who is now engaged to a crofter. He had few friends there, so why was he back in Shetland?
Willow and Jimmy are soon led to Sullom Voe, the heart of Shetland's North Sea oil and gas industry. In a community where traditional values are held very dear by some, the advent of new energies, even renewables, is not always welcome. It emerges that Markham was chasing a story in his final days. One that must have been - for someone - significant enough to warrant his death...
Dead Water was shortlisted for the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2013.
"[Ann Cleeves is] in her element in this extraordinary landscape, with its old croft houses and modern oilfields - and water, water everywhere."
New York Times Book Review
"...The tensions between those who wish to preserve their traditions and those who seek the opportunities of new technologies are subtly illustrated. Cleeves keeps readers guessing about the perpetrator's identity until the final pages."
In the US
The US edition was published by St Martins Minotaur on February 17th 2014:
In the UK
Dead Water was first published in the UK by Pan Macmillan in January 2013:
- Order the original hardback edition from Amazon (or from any bookshop or library, quoting the ISBN: 978-0-2307-6017-2).
- It is reissued in a new paperback edition (May 2021, ISBN: 978-1-5290-5022-6).
- Download the Kindle edition
- Dead Water is available in an audio edition, read by Kenny Blyth; from the Reading House in a choice of formats, or as an audio download from Amazon.
"...a sharp though sympathetic eye... ...a solidly constructed piece of crime fiction, with the grieving detective as a touching and original figure at the centre..."
"Cleeves brings the Shetlands to life so vividly you can feel the salty tang on the breeze as you read her Shetland novels. Dead Water is another completely satisfying story..."
"This novel has everything we love in a murder mystery - a good plot, some local colour, well described settings, some interesting characters. An excellent read that flows like silk..."