Book Review | The Long Call, Ann Cleeves

Goodreads Blurb:
In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers.

My Thoughts:

It was so nice to dive into a whole new world of characters created by Ann Cleeves. She has very quickly become a favourite murder mystery author of mine. I’ve loved her other series’ Vera and Shetland, and so when I heard about this new series of hers I was so excited. Even better, once I had read it I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest (not that I thought I would be). I realised, writing this review, that this is the first time in a while that I have started reading a series as the books are published, rather than me finding the completed series later. I am so excited to be reading each Two Rivers book as they are released. Especially with such a fine lead character.

I found Matthew Venn to be a breath of fresh air within the collection of leading detectives I have read in the genre. He is quiet, reserved, and calculated in his methods. He doesn’t like to rush into things, nor does he like to get drawn into the spotlight and drama a case just for the sake of it. Which I find with a lot of detectives in the novels I read. Matthew is a troubled soul however, caught between his deeply religious childhood and the path he chose to walk – away from his family and all he knows so to move in with and marry his partner Jonathan. He has a tense relationship with his mother and his past, which is something I look forward to read more about throughout the mysteries he solves, as he sorts through the scars his past has left him with.

The murder mystery itself was wonderfully thought out and had me guessing right to the end. The case itself covered some very dark and twisted themes which I think were handled really well within the story. The story and the world of the characters had me on emotional tenterhooks the entire read as I was drawn deep into the mystery. So by the end of the read I almost needed to take a breather myself. Especially with the exciting last few chapters as the case was resolved.

As always, Cleeves gives us an insight into the world of some of the people caught up in the murder, so we get an understanding of how they play a role in the mystery. Each point of view character’s voice was unique and there wasn’t one I enjoyed less amongst the others. Aside from Matthew Venn himself, I especially liked reading through the point of view of one of Matthew’s colleagues DS. Jen Rafferty. I love her voice, as well as reading her thoughts and opinions of Matthew himself. I really love the way that Cleeves writes. She has created a beautiful pocket of a world with North Devon as the backdrop. She is really clever in the way that she crafts each character and their motivations, and so makes the whole story feel so real.

I am really looking forward to see how this series progresses and honestly cannot wait to read more about Matthew and his colleagues, and the cases they solve. I highly recommend this to any mystery fiction lovers looking for a new series to sink their teeth into. The Long Call is a gripping and thought provoking read right to the end.

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