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The Long Call

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For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves—international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—embarks on a gripping new series. 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 For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves—international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—embarks on a gripping new series. 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.


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For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves—international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—embarks on a gripping new series. 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 For the first time in 20 years, Ann Cleeves—international bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—embarks on a gripping new series. 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.

30 review for The Long Call

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Five blazing, fantastic stars to the one of the best crime thrillers of this year! Clap! Clap! Clap! You know the long call is the most complex vocalization of GULL’s repertoire can be heard year-round in mostly served as aggressive signals! So the GULLS SCREAMING, metaphoric WAKE UP CALL because this heart-wrenching, dark, twisty, nerve-bending story taken place at North Devon, people liked to act like THREE WISDOM MONKEYS! They see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil because their Five blazing, fantastic stars to the one of the best crime thrillers of this year! Clap! Clap! Clap! You know the long call is the most complex vocalization of GULL’s repertoire can be heard year-round in mostly served as aggressive signals! So the GULLS SCREAMING, metaphoric WAKE UP CALL because this heart-wrenching, dark, twisty, nerve-bending story taken place at North Devon, people liked to act like THREE WISDOM MONKEYS! They see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil because their reputation, their fake lives, their place at the society are more important than everything. They cover sexual abuses, domestic violence, bribery to resume their perfect, shiny, impeccable lives. But one day THEY COULDN’T COVER THE MURDER. And the officers came out to dig into more about secrets, their dirty lies by rocking their world upside down! They seemed like they are so noble people doing charities, extending their helping hands for the ones needed most. But they’re mostly the hypocritical people do this to hide their real faces from the outer world and blaming, judging, shunning the people as if they’re the high authorities, decision makers about people’s lives and fates. (ITCHY FINGERS ALERT! I WANT TO SLAP THEM ALL!) I chanted a huge BRAVA to the author! Leading detective Matthew Venn who brings out the truth hid for a long time is also shunned by his own traditional parents because of his life choices and sexual inclination. At the beginning of the story he found himself standing outside the church but he didn’t attend his own father’s funeral! Even though he has a respectable job, a good marriage, people still stick to their prejudices. Then a body was found with a tattoo of an Albatross on the neck. When they found out Simon Walden who was former forces man and ex- criminal, was the victim who stabbed and left to death. After he had drunk driven and killed an innocent child who had found himself into the spiral of self-loathing and depression, suicidal tendencies. He found himself, homeless and drunk at the church of North Devon and Caroline Peece wanted to help him by accepting him into her house as a second lodger, (first one is Gaby Henry, a talented artist who wanted to make ends meet to create her art passionately.) And he provided a job as seasonal chef at the hotel. Spiritual meaning of Albatross is grace, loyalty, open-minded. He wanted to set free the bird by doing the right thing and paying for his sins but he is killed before accomplishing his mission! His death was connected to the Woodyard, a community hub for helping mostly children who have learning disabilities and supporting art and cultural activities. Jonathan, husband of Matthew is also the head of the Woodyard. So what could be wrong about this honorable organization providing too many opportunities to change people’s lives! The book is HARD SLAP to the judgmental POVs because nobody shows their true self to the others and faking their identities. Victim atones to a mission he has to achieve to bring justice to a hidden crime of this close society but he pays his rightful attempts with his life. After Simon Walden’s death, two children suffering from Down Syndrome were kidnapped. So as the secrets revealed, more people started to hurt and more craziness broke out. Matthew is a complex, withdrawn, tormented, smart character. His team members Jen Refferty is also a victim of abusive marriage, changed his life to leave Liverpool with her kids, missing the glamorous, crowded city life, is vivid, brave, smart, fiery, straightforward character ( she is also my favorite one). And Ross May is less likable (not slap worthy, a little pinch on his arm works for me) character, a little pretentious, competitive, show-off, living a dreamful marriage and social life. He has been scolded by Matthew in front of his colleagues that damaged his self-esteem a little bit but at the final parts he reluctantly learned to be a team player. So many hard issues from abuses, violence at home, mental health disorder, religious convictions, sexual choices, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies are blended perfectly into the story. This is memorable, well-balanced pacing (not too slow or fast, good enough to absorb the back stories and relationship dynamics, history of the town.), questioning, clap deserving, one of the best crime stories I’ve read this year. And ending was well-rounded, strong. I have to put some cream on my face after I got so many literature and intellectual slaps from the author but I’m looking forward to read more stories of her!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paula Kalin

    What a pleasure it is to read such a well written character-driven mystery! British author, Ann Cleeves, has brought to life a very fine new character in Senior Detective Matthew Venn. He is not your typical drunken, wise ass detective. Instead, Cleeves has given us a compassionate and introspective mind. Matthew is a senior investigator who is unsure of himself when leading his evening briefings with his team, unbeknownst to them, which is very endearing. Also to my liking is the way Matthew’s What a pleasure it is to read such a well written character-driven mystery! British author, Ann Cleeves, has brought to life a very fine new character in Senior Detective Matthew Venn. He is not your typical drunken, wise ass detective. Instead, Cleeves has given us a compassionate and introspective mind. Matthew is a senior investigator who is unsure of himself when leading his evening briefings with his team, unbeknownst to them, which is very endearing. Also to my liking is the way Matthew’s mind works when deducting clues from all his sources of information. Smartly done. Matthew’s background is very nicely brought to light in the first of Cleeves’ new series. A body is found on a beach in North Devon, England, which brings him back to his former life as a member of a strict religious group called The Brethren and his estranged family. The book explores the power of the church and the blind faith of it’s followers. Also, there are ties to the place of his husband’s employment called The Woodyard a sanctuary for the disabled and mentally impaired. A big highlight for me is Matthew and Jonathan’s relationship. Matthew likes to be dressed in suits, whereas, Jonathan can always be found in shorts and sandals no matter what season of the year (very much like my household). THE LONG CALL is a slow burn mystery peaking at the back end of the book. It is a very compelling read with multiple plots and characters. The plots are interwoven well and more complicated than expected. Down’s Syndrome is touched upon with characters Lucy and Christine in an insightful manner. This is a refreshing novel and a series which I intend to continue. Highly recommend. 4.5 out of 5 stars Review posted on Goodreads - June 28, 2019 Publication date - September 3, 2019 I received a free ARC of THE LONG CALL by Ann Cleeves from Macmillan in an exchange for an honest review. #readinginsidersclub

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    The veteran crime writer Anne Cleeves begins a new series set in North Devon, between the 2 rivers, Taw and Torridge, where DI Matthew Venn, a gay man is his 40s married to his husband, Jonathan, is about to lead his first big murder inquiry when the dead body of a man is discovered on the sands, the victim has a tattoo of a albatross on his neck and has been stabbed. Venn is a local boy who grew up with his parents, part of a strict evangelical church, known as the Barum Brethren. His family The veteran crime writer Anne Cleeves begins a new series set in North Devon, between the 2 rivers, Taw and Torridge, where DI Matthew Venn, a gay man is his 40s married to his husband, Jonathan, is about to lead his first big murder inquiry when the dead body of a man is discovered on the sands, the victim has a tattoo of a albatross on his neck and has been stabbed. Venn is a local boy who grew up with his parents, part of a strict evangelical church, known as the Barum Brethren. His family and the church ostracised him when he renounced their faith, their God a creation in their own image, as hard, cold and inflexible as they are. He is feeling a sense of regret, his father has just died, and he never got to see him as his health deteriorated. Venn's partner, Jonathan is the head of The Woodyard, a community hub combining the arts, a cafe, and a day centre for learning disabled adults. Within Barnstaple Police, Matt is primarily helped by DS Jen Rafferty, a woman who left her abusive husband in Liverpool, settling locally with her children, although she still misses city life. The other main cop, Ross May, is deemed to be the eyes and ears of DCI Joe Oldham, a fact that makes others more wary of him. The victim turns out to be Simon Walden, a former forces man, whose marriage had broken down after he killed a child whilst driving under the influence of drink. He had been working as a seasonal chef at a hotel, been homeless, with alcohol and depression issues. He had been provided with a home by Caroline Preece and artist, Gaby Henry. Attending the Day Centre at The Woodyard are Down's Syndrome women, Lucy Braddock and Chrissie Shapland. As connections between the murder and The Woodyard begin to emerge, Venn is plagued by his personal connections to the case which should mean he should not be part of the investigating team, whilst his past history with The Brethren proves to be invaluable to the case. Anne Cleeves provides her trademark vibrant sense of location, I felt as if I was right there in North Devon. I have high hopes for this series, a lot of effort went into establishing and embedding the sense of place and the characters. This is not a fast paced read, it's a more character driven novel, I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the learning disabled women, Lucy, Chrissie and Rosa Holsworthy and their central role in the mystery. For the most part, this book was a 4 star read, but somehow in the last quarter it became a 5 star read as the multiple threads begin to come together so skilfully. I found this an absorbing and engaging crime read, although it might possibly be a little too slow moving for some readers. I am eagerly looking forward to the next in the series! Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Ann Cleeves has started a new series with The Long Call. The book, named for the cry of a herring gull, “The cry which always sounded to him like an inarticulate howl of pain.” Cleeves has developed a great set of characters here. Our main character, Matthew is a DI in Barnstaple. He’s smart, a complex thinker, a loving and loved man in a healthy relationship. The story starts with Matthew watching from afar the funeral of his father. He’s left the evangelical church he grew up in. It soon Ann Cleeves has started a new series with The Long Call. The book, named for the cry of a herring gull, “The cry which always sounded to him like an inarticulate howl of pain.” Cleeves has developed a great set of characters here. Our main character, Matthew is a DI in Barnstaple. He’s smart, a complex thinker, a loving and loved man in a healthy relationship. The story starts with Matthew watching from afar the funeral of his father. He’s left the evangelical church he grew up in. It soon becomes apparent it’s because he’s gay. But Jen is probably my favorite character. She’s one of Matthew’s DS’s and she’s transferred to Barnstaple to escape her abusive husband. She’s got great instincts and I love her insights, not only into motherhood, but into the people she’s interviewing. Even Ross, the brown noser, is eventually shown as a complex person. Cleeves also gives us a true sense of the area. It’s easily apparent why her books are turned into TV series as they’re accessible, smart and engaging. The same is true for this new series. It’s suspenseful and I had no idea how things were going to shake out until almost the end. I can only hope that Cleeves writes enough of these books so that some wise tv producer can pick up this series as well. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    4 stars for a well done police procedural. I have read 1 other book by Ann Cleeves, "The Crow Trap" which is book 1 in the Vera Stanhope series. I gave that book 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because it moved very slowly at times. This book moved along well and held my interest. The characters were believable and I was not sure who did what until towards the end, The DI(Detective Inspector) in charge of a murder investigation is Matthew Venn. He is a gay man married to Jonathan, head of The Woodyard, 4 stars for a well done police procedural. I have read 1 other book by Ann Cleeves, "The Crow Trap" which is book 1 in the Vera Stanhope series. I gave that book 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because it moved very slowly at times. This book moved along well and held my interest. The characters were believable and I was not sure who did what until towards the end, The DI(Detective Inspector) in charge of a murder investigation is Matthew Venn. He is a gay man married to Jonathan, head of The Woodyard, a day centre for learning disabled adults and. a craft/art centre. The murdered man volunteered at The Woodyard.. One quote: "He'd left the window down and now he could hear the surf on the beach and the cry of a herring gull, the sound the naturalists named the long call, the cry which always sounded to him like an inarticulate howl of pain. Thank You Minotaur Books/St Martin's Press for sending me this eARC through NetGalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Culpability The new series opener from the prolific crime writer Ann Cleeves establishes the foundation for another enthralling series, that I'm sure will receive many justified accolades. The Long Call builds wonderful depth to a location, a community, multiple complex characters and a plot with enterprising threads that continuously surprise. DI Matthew Venn is the main character and will lead the investigation of a man found murdered on the beach at Crow Point. The area is situated where the Culpability The new series opener from the prolific crime writer Ann Cleeves establishes the foundation for another enthralling series, that I'm sure will receive many justified accolades. The Long Call builds wonderful depth to a location, a community, multiple complex characters and a plot with enterprising threads that continuously surprise. DI Matthew Venn is the main character and will lead the investigation of a man found murdered on the beach at Crow Point. The area is situated where the rivers Taw and Torridge join at the North Devon coast, a location that Ann Cleeves brings vividly to life. The region between the two rivers is set to be the focal point for the series, giving it its name. Matthew’s father has recently died and because Matthew left the Barum Brethren church, he has been disowned by his family and has to watch his father’s funeral from a distance. He is now married to Jonathan, a man opposite to Matthew in many ways, including dress and outgoing persona, but a trusted partner where they can provide strength and support to each other. Ann Cleeves works with great detail and depth to create main and supporting characters that individually generate interest and empathy. The characters from the police force and the community are so richly portrayed, it is a pleasure to enjoy and contemplate each personality. I hope DS Jen Rafferty, herself a very appealing character, remains with Matthew in this series. Her background has had its troubles, including an abusive ex-husband, but she is astute and her instinctive insights provide an intriguing dimension in the investigative team. At another level, Ann unmasks some societal prejudices and exposes trite behaviour towards gays and disabled and mentally impaired people. It is wonderful to experience the diversity of our people as an integral part of society, and an integral part of a crime story. The main plot is slowly developed and the investigation into the victim connects him with the Day Centre at The Woodyard. The Woodyard is a haven for disabled, impaired, recovering and disenfranchised people and is managed by Jonathan, which causes Matthew to consider how appropriate his connections affect the investigation. While the pace of the story is more sedate than other thrillers, the momentum does shift into a higher gear towards the end with surprises and story plots that weave together to bring the story to a fascinating conclusion. Nothing that Ann Cleeves does is stereotypical, uniqueness captivates every page and her writing style is clever and accomplished. This is a series that I’m going to invest time reading each book she publishes. I would highly recommend this book and I'd like to thank Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I have been wanting to try Ann Cleeves for several years now. When I saw she was starting a new series and I had a chance to get an advanced review copy, I decided it was time to pull the trigger (AKA click the green button) and finally dive into her works. After reading The Long Call, I now have my eyes on the first books of her Vera Stanhope and Shetland series. The Long Call is a one of those murder mysteries that clicks all the boxes for me. The characters have depth and are likeable (though I have been wanting to try Ann Cleeves for several years now. When I saw she was starting a new series and I had a chance to get an advanced review copy, I decided it was time to pull the trigger (AKA click the green button) and finally dive into her works. After reading The Long Call, I now have my eyes on the first books of her Vera Stanhope and Shetland series. The Long Call is a one of those murder mysteries that clicks all the boxes for me. The characters have depth and are likeable (though it took a while for DC Ross’s admirable side to come forth). There are a number of intriguing townspeople that I wasn’t sure if I could trust or not—always fun. The plot is intricate and twisty with a storyline that I had no idea whatsoever how to put together—I want all my crime fiction and thriller books to be this way. The author is an outstanding writer with a flair for creating atmosphere (including the title that is explained early on) and the type of suspense that sneaks up on you out of the blue. She also deals with interesting concepts such as adults with Down’s syndrome and their vulnerability and the challenges facing gay people as they struggle to overcome the disapproval of small (two meanings of small here) town folks. I am pleased to see this will be a series. I think there is much to explore in this town and with these characters, and I am very curious as to where Ms. Cleeves goes with book 2. I do know I will be reading it. Until then, I will be lining up in the library queue for a look at The Black Raven and The Crow Trap, the first books of her two most popular long running series. Pleased to meet you, Ms. Cleeves! Many thanks to Net Galley, Minotaur Books, and Ms. Ann Cleeves for an ARC of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A new series from Sleeves takes us to North Devon, and introduces us to police detective Matthew Venn. Venn, an ex member of the religious sect the Brethren has been booted out for non belief. He and his husband Jonathan live on the shore, where a body of a young man will be discovered. An interesting case that unravels many different threads, uncovering multiple layers that will drag others into its net. Really, Cleve has the enviable knack of conjuring atmospheric reads and characters with A new series from Sleeves takes us to North Devon, and introduces us to police detective Matthew Venn. Venn, an ex member of the religious sect the Brethren has been booted out for non belief. He and his husband Jonathan live on the shore, where a body of a young man will be discovered. An interesting case that unravels many different threads, uncovering multiple layers that will drag others into its net. Really, Cleve has the enviable knack of conjuring atmospheric reads and characters with fascinating back stories. In fact, I read today that this new series has already been optioned for a TV series. I have a feeling Matthew will grow on me in subsequent reads as the series progresses. That said, I will still miss Shetland and Jimmy Perez. ARC from Netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The body lay lifeless and unattended on the shore except for the distant, mournful cry of the herring gull. The irony of the albatross tattoo on the dead man's neck gave the message of an unknown burden.....too much to bear. DI Matthew Venn had been secreted behind the tall bushes near the church. It was to be his father's funeral for the invited. Matthew had been disowned by his family for his lifestyle and his marriage to Jonathan. But there was to be no closure for Matthew on that day or for The body lay lifeless and unattended on the shore except for the distant, mournful cry of the herring gull. The irony of the albatross tattoo on the dead man's neck gave the message of an unknown burden.....too much to bear. DI Matthew Venn had been secreted behind the tall bushes near the church. It was to be his father's funeral for the invited. Matthew had been disowned by his family for his lifestyle and his marriage to Jonathan. But there was to be no closure for Matthew on that day or for any day to come thereafter. The call that came from the police station in North Devon alerted him to that abandoned body found by a dog walker on the beach near Crow Point. Duty called and duty had to be acted upon. Matthew was already familiar with the area where the body lay. He and Jonathan had purchased a fixer-upper beachhouse near there that served them well with no frills and plenty of use for a hammer and nails. Jonathan worked nearby at The Woodyard, a renovated warehouse that served special needs individuals and community members with counseling, art lessons, and finely cooked foods. It was a labor of love for Jonathan. Ann Cleeves has opened the door at the ground level for the first offering in her new Two Rivers Series. If you've ever read an Ann Cleeves novel, you know that the writing is top notch. Her books are definitely character-driven and she keeps their exact involvement at bay until the very end. Her main character of Matthew is going to be a highly complicated one. His analytical skills are finely tuned, but his personal skills are tightly buttoned around his past. He, too, may be concealing burdens that he's tapped down out of the light. Cleeves includes Matthew's partners as quite an unexpected pair. DS Jen Rafferty has been transferred to North Devon with two teenagers in tow in order to avoid an abusive husband. Constable Ross May is a complainer and has a tendency to test the waters too many times out. But they will prove themselves in this distinct police procedural that gives nothing away. The Long Call is one to keep an eye out for. I received a copy of The Long Call through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Minotaur Books and to Ann Cleeves for the opportunity.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    The Long Call is the first in a new series by Ann Cleeves and it is also the first book I have read by her. On the day of his father's funeral, Detective Matthew Venn receives a phone call informing him of a dead body on the beach. A man has been stabbed to death. Who is this man? Why was he killed? Who is responsible? Running alongside this investigation is the story of an elderly man who is living with his daughter with downs syndrome. He is being urged to give her more independence and make The Long Call is the first in a new series by Ann Cleeves and it is also the first book I have read by her. On the day of his father's funeral, Detective Matthew Venn receives a phone call informing him of a dead body on the beach. A man has been stabbed to death. Who is this man? Why was he killed? Who is responsible? Running alongside this investigation is the story of an elderly man who is living with his daughter with downs syndrome. He is being urged to give her more independence and make other arrangements for her in the event of his death. Obviously, there is a connection between both stories, and you will have to read the book to find out just what or who brings these two plots together. There are many people in this book, and all are diverse, and some are quite interesting. Trying to figure out the mystery and just who can be trusted is also a highlight for me when I read a mystery. But I found this book to be a little slow for my taste. For most of the book, I wanted the pace to pick up and it does at the end. I just wish it had the oomph for the entire book. The book is well written, and she does a wonderful job depicting characters with down syndrome. This was just a little too slow for me. Many are enjoying this book more than I did, so I encourage everyone to read those reviews as well. Thank you to St. Martin's Press Minotaur Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Darkly evocative and smartly written! My first Ann Cleeves did not disappoint. I am already anticipating the next installment to this all new, Two Rivers, series and it hasn't even been announced yet! That's always a good sign. I was so pleasantly surprised with this. By far the best traditional mystery I have read this year. It is obvious from the first pages that Cleeves is a skilled, veteran mystery writer. Following Detective Matthew Venn and two of his junior colleagues, Jen and Ross, was an Darkly evocative and smartly written! My first Ann Cleeves did not disappoint. I am already anticipating the next installment to this all new, Two Rivers, series and it hasn't even been announced yet! That's always a good sign. I was so pleasantly surprised with this. By far the best traditional mystery I have read this year. It is obvious from the first pages that Cleeves is a skilled, veteran mystery writer. Following Detective Matthew Venn and two of his junior colleagues, Jen and Ross, was an absolute delight. I felt like I was there with them, learning the evidence as they were. Matthew was just a lovely protagonist. Thoughtful and introverted, extremely smart and dedicated to the idea of truth and justice for all. At the beginning of our tale, Matthew is attending his estranged Father's funeral. Standing in the back he observes neighbors, and other locals, he might once have considered friends. But he has left that part of his life far behind after the strict evangelical community his parents were a part of could not accept that he is gay. Basically excommunicated from the community, he hasn't spoken with either of his parents in many years. Upon quietly making his exit from the church, he receives a phone call from one of his colleagues. The body of a murdered man has just been found on a beach not far from his current location. He of course rushes to the scene and thus begins an investigation into the community of which he was once a part. I loved the tone of this novel. From start to finish the writing was so intelligent and gripping. It gave me strong Broadchurch vibes whilst also reminding me of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith. I would say if you enjoy the Cormoran books, you should DEFINITELY pick this one up. Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I am in love with it and cannot wait to continue on with the series!!! Well done, Ms. Cleeves!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    The long call is a term used to describe the cry of the herring gull although to main character DI Matthew Venn, it always sounds more like someone howling in pain. This observation gives you immediate insight into Venn, a smart & tightly wound copper in North Devon. There are a few things you need to know about Venn as they inform his character & how he conducts himself. His mother & father belonged to a strict evangelical community & he did too until the day he no longer The long call is a term used to describe the cry of the herring gull although to main character DI Matthew Venn, it always sounds more like someone howling in pain. This observation gives you immediate insight into Venn, a smart & tightly wound copper in North Devon. There are a few things you need to know about Venn as they inform his character & how he conducts himself. His mother & father belonged to a strict evangelical community & he did too until the day he no longer believed in God. And it turns out when you’re banished from the church, you also lose your family in the deal. Years went by & Venn ended up living in the area so his family were aware he became a cop. Then he married another man….I’m guessing Mom & Dad probably didn’t see that coming. Needless to say they’ve had zero contact & as the book opens, we find Venn standing outside his father’s funeral service after reading about it in the paper. He doesn’t know it yet but he’s about to begin a murder investigation that will bring his life full circle. A man’s body has just been found on the beach at Crow Point. Eventually he’s identified as a recovering alcoholic who volunteered at the Woodyard, a multi-use community centre run by Venn’s husband Jon. It’s a place we become very familiar with as more characters join the story. In alternate chapters we meet a counsellor, an art teacher, a philanthropist, a priest & some of the people who attend programs there. All of them have ties to the Woodyard. And all of them have secrets. Venn & his team have their work cut out as they try to prise the truth from people who would rather it stay hidden. This is a good old fashioned murder mystery that reserves the chills & thrills for the final chapters. There are plenty of descriptions of the area & residents, lending the story a moody atmosphere. Sprinkled through the investigation we get details on Venn’s background & his relationship with Jon. The supporting cast is large & full of distinct, well developed characters. Standouts for me were DS Jen Rafferty, a smart cop who throws out comments that shock her conservative boss from time to time. And Lucy Braddick, a 30 year old woman with Down’s Syndrome who’s desire for independence ends up putting her in danger. The plot takes its time as the team gradually accumulates information, clues & red herrings. It’s a book that is just as much about the characters as the investigation. Other crimes pop up & the trick is trying to figure out which ones are related. The pace is consistent until the last quarter when pieces fall into place & it’s a full on sprint to the finish. My one reservation is Venn himself. We understand where his baggage comes from through vignettes from the past. Behind his buttoned-up demeanor are conflicting emotions he goes to great lengths to keep in check. He’s a man who is never at ease, even with his husband & the result was I found it difficult to connect with him. But this is book #1 in a series. The groundwork is done & no doubt the author has great plans for how his character develops. Like Cleeves’ other series, this is a character driven procedural with a plot that keeps you guessing. And maybe wondering if you know your neighbours as well as you thought. 3.5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Great start to this new police/detective series! I enjoyed the diverse characters and the tactful treatment of an extremely delicate subject matter. Our main detective, Matthew showed strong morals and deep compassion for all the victims he encountered, especially those with diminished mental capacities. The plot unfolded at a non-hurried pace but was still fast enough to keep me interested. I felt if the conclusion were more concise, it would have been a five star read for me. I recommend this Great start to this new police/detective series! I enjoyed the diverse characters and the tactful treatment of an extremely delicate subject matter. Our main detective, Matthew showed strong morals and deep compassion for all the victims he encountered, especially those with diminished mental capacities. The plot unfolded at a non-hurried pace but was still fast enough to keep me interested. I felt if the conclusion were more concise, it would have been a five star read for me. I recommend this book for mystery readers and I look forward to visiting these characters again! *Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    My first Ann Cleeves and first in her new Two Rivers detective series. North Devon - A dead body is found and Inspector Matthew Venn and his two detectives are on the case; one who tries his patience daily and the other the best he's ever worked with. The murder mystery is a good one, multi-layered with quite the cast of diverse characters, but none of them really stood out to steal the show or retain my interest enough to continue on with the series. A bit slow-moving (for me) UNTIL the last My first Ann Cleeves and first in her new Two Rivers detective series. North Devon - A dead body is found and Inspector Matthew Venn and his two detectives are on the case; one who tries his patience daily and the other the best he's ever worked with. The murder mystery is a good one, multi-layered with quite the cast of diverse characters, but none of them really stood out to steal the show or retain my interest enough to continue on with the series. A bit slow-moving (for me) UNTIL the last quarter.***Many thanks to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books via NetGalley for the arc invite in exchange for an honest review***

  15. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    North Devon, England, a place of astounding natural beauty is the setting for Anne Cleeves’s new novel. En route to a call from one of his team members, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn hears the cry of the herring gull, known to naturalists as “the long call;” he thinks it sounds like a pain-filled cry. On the rugged and beautiful coastline, a body is found, marking it as a place of a man’s final pain. So begins a murder investigation and my introduction to a cast of characters that intrigued North Devon, England, a place of astounding natural beauty is the setting for Anne Cleeves’s new novel. En route to a call from one of his team members, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn hears the cry of the herring gull, known to naturalists as “the long call;” he thinks it sounds like a pain-filled cry. On the rugged and beautiful coastline, a body is found, marking it as a place of a man’s final pain. So begins a murder investigation and my introduction to a cast of characters that intrigued me more and more as I read. Matthew had a falling out with his parents years ago, concerning a mysterious sect known as the Brethren. The novel begins with Matthew outside his father’s funeral service, not wanting to upset the people who’d loved his father by attending. Matthew is angry and you might think he had a crisis of faith, but he seems pretty confident in the choice he made to turn his back on the Brethern. Now, he lives with his husband, Jonathan in a house they bought cheaply because it’s in a flooding zone. Jonathan is the Manager of Woodyard, a place that combines a center for adults with learning disabilities with an art center. Jonathan’s idea had been for it to become a community meeting place and so far it’s been very successful. However, Woodyard will prove to have ties to the body on the beach as well as ties to other dark and shady happenings. Cleeves presents her characters in great depth and with the skill of a seasoned writer. Ross May, a DS under Matthew’s supervision, is the popular, sort of brown noser who’s in good with Venn’s immediate superior. Ross has got the perfect wife; their other teammate, DS Jen Rafferty would love to hate her but she’s actually nice. Jen is a single mother, out of a bad relationship with two teenagers at home. She constantly feels guilty for not being able to deliver one hundred percent to her children because she has to work so much and feels guilty when she’s at home because it takes her away from work. I love Jen! What mother with a career hasn’t felt the same way? The way the detectives operate as a team and how their personalities bump up against each other makes for good reading. Cleeves uses their differences like a can opener. Cleeves books are behind the TV series ‘Shetland’ and ‘Vera.’ I could easily imagine this book, the first of this series, on screen. Her writing and descriptions are very visual. I never guessed the outcome. The pacing is excellent. Slower at the beginning as I got to know the characters, but with great hooks to reel me in, then as I rushed toward the highly dangerous knowledge of who the murderer is, very dramatic and fast-paced. The ending is extremely satisfying with a nice little pat of closure, but I can tell that there’s a wealth of material in this community of North Devon just waiting to be uncovered by this expert writer. I’ll be looking forward to learning more about Matthew Venn!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    This book is a great read! One thing I love about reading a foreign book is the foreign terms that I don't hear everyday like breakfast TV for morning news and pissed for drunk. The story is slow paced for me with so many people to investigate. The characters' lives aren't that exciting to me, except Maurice and his daughter. I like his love, care, and worry for her and even though she's grown he still views her as his little girl and feels joy when she smiles. I also like Gaby. The terminology This book is a great read! One thing I love about reading a foreign book is the foreign terms that I don't hear everyday like breakfast TV for morning news and pissed for drunk. The story is slow paced for me with so many people to investigate. The characters' lives aren't that exciting to me, except Maurice and his daughter. I like his love, care, and worry for her and even though she's grown he still views her as his little girl and feels joy when she smiles. I also like Gaby. The terminology she uses is funny, like god-botherer. 
This book is told in the third person point of view following Detective Matthew Venn as he attempted to attend his father's funeral when he received a phone call informing him of a dead body found on the beach in the same neighborhood as his home. The second view is Maurice, 80. He outlived his wife and now takes care of his Down Syndrome's daughter Lucy, 30. The third view is Jen, Sergeant, worked with Mathew to investigate the murder scene. The fourth view is Gaby, artist and roommate of the dead body found. The chase is on to figure out who the killer is as readers get to know Mathew Venn and why he's reluctant to attend his father's funeral. 
The Long Call is well written for older readers I believe because they might enjoy all that descriptions of the landscapes. I like that there seems to be a puzzle that readers have to connect. The victim seems to be a stranger and unrelated to anyone but somehow he ended up dead is interesting. I like that this book brings attention to adults with Down's Syndrome. The ending was well executed when all players brought to light. I like that I couldn't guess who the killer was. I do recommend everyone to read this book! Pro: Britain's mystery, Down's Syndrome, puzzle-like connecting victim, parents/kids relationships
 Con: slow paced 
 I rate it 4 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.
xoxo,
Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details 


  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    This was an impressive start to the new mystery series by Ann Cleeves. There's a good group of core characters for her to work with so I'm excited to see where the series is going to go in future books. Years ago Detective Matthew Venn left the church he grew up in, which also meant losing his family as well. He is now in charge of a murder investigation that is hitting close to home. His past and his present seem to be on a collision course which might make solving this crime more difficult This was an impressive start to the new mystery series by Ann Cleeves. There's a good group of core characters for her to work with so I'm excited to see where the series is going to go in future books. Years ago Detective Matthew Venn left the church he grew up in, which also meant losing his family as well. He is now in charge of a murder investigation that is hitting close to home. His past and his present seem to be on a collision course which might make solving this crime more difficult than he originally thought. Even though Matthew is the main character in the book, the story does bounce around between multiple characters connected to the case including Jen Rafferty, a detective sergeant and single mom. She has an interesting backstory like Matthew and I have my fingers crossed she plays as big of a role in future books as she did in this one. I felt invested in the characters themselves as much as I was in the mystery which was nice because that isn't always the case. The author did a good job coming up with a mystery that in my opinion was complex enough that you really are left guessing until the very end. The small English seaside setting was a great location for the story. If you like police detective novels that have a more small town feel to them rather than the hustle and bustle of the big city ones, this is certainly a good one to check out! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    A funeral. A murder. Missing vulnerable adults. Secrets and lies. The Long Call , a new novel, which marks the start of a new series by the UK’s Ann Cleeves, features Detective Inspector Matthew Venn and Detective Sergeant Jen Rafferty, two very different personalities. It is Matthew whom we see in the opening scenes hovering at the fringes at his father’s funeral. He was raised in a conservative fundamentalist religious sect, the Brethren. Now he is an outcast, not only because he has rejected A funeral. A murder. Missing vulnerable adults. Secrets and lies. The Long Call , a new novel, which marks the start of a new series by the UK’s Ann Cleeves, features Detective Inspector Matthew Venn and Detective Sergeant Jen Rafferty, two very different personalities. It is Matthew whom we see in the opening scenes hovering at the fringes at his father’s funeral. He was raised in a conservative fundamentalist religious sect, the Brethren. Now he is an outcast, not only because he has rejected the religious beliefs he was taught, but also because he is married to a man, Jonathan. Maybe because he’s with the police, and maybe also because of his upbringing, Matthew dresses conservatively in suits and ties. He is socially more reserved. Jonathan, on the other hand, wears shorts and sandals no matter what the weather, and he loves to entertain. The two men seem to be a perfect match! Jen is the divorced mother of two teenagers and has moved from the city to North Devon following her divorce. She quite motivated prove herself and shows herself quite capable when given the chance. She has a way of communicating with witnesses and has good instincts when pursuing leads. When the body of a lonely, recovering alcoholic man is discovered on the beach, Matthew and his team have their work cut out for them. Things get complicated when it is discovered that the man had ties to Jonathan’s workplace and that some of the board members there have ties to Matthew’s former church. It all begins to feel very secretive and sinister. Someone knows more than he or she is revealing. Perhaps more than one person is involved? After a woman with Down syndrome disappears, the intensity ratchets up a few more notches. I couldn’t imagine what THAT was all about. In a story that starts out feeling rather sleepy and frankly, had of a bit old-fashioned feel to it, this was turning out to be quite a mystery indeed! Why would someone take this woman? There were more mysteries, too, especially about the murdered man. He definitely had secrets. So did some of the people who knew him. I love some of the characters in this story, especially the participants at Woodyard, Lucy and her father Maurice, and also Christine. I also liked that Maurice was honest about his first assessment of Woodyard, that he cringed when he saw lower functioning, more physically handicapped clients there, and I loved how he learned to see the humanity in all of them. It reminded me of the day program where I used to work. I liked Jonathan and Matthew, and I wished we had been given a closer look at the two of them. I hope they are featured again in a subsequent novel. I also liked Jen. Her style is a wonderful complement to Matthew’s and she is a brilliant addition to his team. I would like to see her, too, in a future book and see if she can have a social life, because she deserves one. I found myself liking the victim, Simon Walden. Although he had made a serious mistake at one time in his life, he was desperately trying to redeem himself. He seemed to be a decent, gifted human being. There are also some very unlikable people in this book. The person I was expecting – and hoping – would be the actual murderer was not, although this individual was not completely blameless in the whole sordid affair. I would have liked there to have been someone in the Brethren to have been more compassionate and courageous than those who were portrayed, although perhaps there is hope for one of them... I wish to thank NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for this ARC in return for my honest review. 4 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    Set in North Devon, England, a place where two rivers converge to meet the sea, The Long Call is a brand new detective series from author Ann Cleeves that introduces us to DI Matthew Venn, a forty-something police detective who is investigating the case of a man named Simon Walden found stabbed to death on the beach, in an area close to where Matthew lives with his husband Jonathan. After breaking away from the strict evangelical community to which his estranged family still belongs, Matthew Set in North Devon, England, a place where two rivers converge to meet the sea, The Long Call is a brand new detective series from author Ann Cleeves that introduces us to DI Matthew Venn, a forty-something police detective who is investigating the case of a man named Simon Walden found stabbed to death on the beach, in an area close to where Matthew lives with his husband Jonathan. After breaking away from the strict evangelical community to which his estranged family still belongs, Matthew is no longer welcome among the Brethren, cast out to the point of only being able to observe his father's funeral from afar. As Matthew and his team follow the leads that emerge in investigating Walden's murder, the detective finds himself unexpectedly pulled back into the folds of the Brethren community, where the secrets of his past threaten to collide with the present life he so painstakingly built. To complicate matters, having recently transferred from Bristol, Matthew is the new boss in town heading up a group of detectives whose personalities couldn't be more different from each other, but who must now work together to solve the case, the dynamics of which add a layer of complexity to the investigation. This was a well-written police procedural that I found to be engaging and a bit different from ones I've read previously. Normally I would expect these types of stories to be action-packed and fast-paced, with a complicated plot as well as twists and turns galore, but surprisingly, that wasn't the case here. Instead, this was an atmospheric read that was actually a bit of a slow-burn, but not to the point of being draggy — rather, the plot moved along in a way that felt natural and un-rushed, though with an ending that still managed to be unpredictable and also a resolution to the case that caught me off guard. I like how Cleeves didn't just focus on developing a complex and believable plot, but also balanced it with meticulous character development as well, lending a level of depth to the story that made it more engaging in my opinion. Overall, I enjoyed this quiet but steady detective story that kept me interested throughout. This is the first book in a new series for Cleeves, and for me, it is a good introduction to this author's work, since this is my first time reading her books. I'm definitely looking forward to continuing this series when the second book comes out! As for her previous book series, I understand that two of them — the Shetland Island as well as Vera Stanhope series — were both turned into successful television series; no doubt that this new Two Rivers series will likely follow in the same footsteps. When that happens, it will be interesting to see how this story translates on screen. Received ARC from St. Martin's Press (Minotaur Books) via NetGalley.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    I received a free e-copy of The Long Call (Two Rivers Series #1) by Ann Cleeves from NetGalley for my honest review. Detective Matthew Venn is new to his job, estranged from his family and is newly married. Matthew is standing outside of where is father's funeral is, when he receives a call. A call telling him that a body was found on a nearby beach. The victim was stabbed, has no ID and no witnesses. Matthew, Sergeant Jen, and Constable Ross are on the case. These three make a great team. The I received a free e-copy of The Long Call (Two Rivers Series #1) by Ann Cleeves from NetGalley for my honest review. Detective Matthew Venn is new to his job, estranged from his family and is newly married. Matthew is standing outside of where is father's funeral is, when he receives a call. A call telling him that a body was found on a nearby beach. The victim was stabbed, has no ID and no witnesses. Matthew, Sergeant Jen, and Constable Ross are on the case. These three make a great team. The search involves activities at a center for adult education and the those with learning disabilities. The story focuses on this murder and subsequent abductions of two disabled women. Detective Venn and his team are set out on a complicated journey that hits close to home. A wonderful mystery with well written characters and lots of twists and turns.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Two Rivers #1 Detective Matthew Venn is outside the church where the funeral is taking place for his estranged father. His father was part of a strict religious community that Matthew had left a long time ago. Just as he's about to leave, he receives a phone call about a death in his area. A body has been found on the beach. Then a disabled girl goes missing. This new series is set in Devon. We are introduced to a new set of characters who each bring different qualities. Matthew Venn is the new Two Rivers #1 Detective Matthew Venn is outside the church where the funeral is taking place for his estranged father. His father was part of a strict religious community that Matthew had left a long time ago. Just as he's about to leave, he receives a phone call about a death in his area. A body has been found on the beach. Then a disabled girl goes missing. This new series is set in Devon. We are introduced to a new set of characters who each bring different qualities. Matthew Venn is the new leading DI. He has a personal connection to the case, the centre where the Roman received care and the man volunteered is run by his husband. There are pages that focus on Matthews relationship with Jonathan. I liked Matthew, he has faults and insecurities. This is a great story of secrets, murder and deceit. I thought this story started a bit slow but once you get into it a bit more, the pace picks up. It wasn't an edge of your seat read but it did keep my interest and turning the pages. I can't wait to read the next book in this promising series. I would like to thank NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and the author Ann Cleeves for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    2.5 moved too slow for me stars. I have once again bucked the tide of wonderful reviews for this book and found that it was just too slow moving for me. I do appreciate the time and effort this author put into the story of a small town and a man who was murdered and her descriptions of the various characters, but for me there was not enough zest to the story to keep me totally involved. So, sad to say I will not be continuing this new series, but I do encourage everyone to take a look at the 2.5 moved too slow for me stars. I have once again bucked the tide of wonderful reviews for this book and found that it was just too slow moving for me. I do appreciate the time and effort this author put into the story of a small town and a man who was murdered and her descriptions of the various characters, but for me there was not enough zest to the story to keep me totally involved. So, sad to say I will not be continuing this new series, but I do encourage everyone to take a look at the other more positive reviews of this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This is the first offering in Cleeves latest detective series featuring DI Matthew Venn. The Two Rivers series takes place in North Devon between the Taw and Torridge rivers. Cleeves takes her time in introducing her new characters—DCI Joe Oldham is on the verge of retirement; DS Jen Rafferty is a smart, charming single mother; DC Ross May; and Jonathon, Matthew’s husband. The area is home to The Barum Brethren, a strict religious group that plays a dominant role in the lives of many of its This is the first offering in Cleeves latest detective series featuring DI Matthew Venn. The Two Rivers series takes place in North Devon between the Taw and Torridge rivers. Cleeves takes her time in introducing her new characters—DCI Joe Oldham is on the verge of retirement; DS Jen Rafferty is a smart, charming single mother; DC Ross May; and Jonathon, Matthew’s husband. The area is home to The Barum Brethren, a strict religious group that plays a dominant role in the lives of many of its residents, including Matthew’s own mother. Cleeves takes her time developing the plot, but does include some surprising twists and turns along the way. Recommend this solid new series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    Matthew Venn and his colleagues Ross May and Jen Rafferty have to investigate the murder of a man who had volunteered at Woodyard. Woodyard is a community center that includes an arts center, cafe and a program for people with learning disabilities. During the course of the book, in addition to the murder there are other crimes involving people connected with Woodyard. Coincidentally, Matthew’s husband runs Woodyard. Although there were several conversations about whether Matthew should recuse Matthew Venn and his colleagues Ross May and Jen Rafferty have to investigate the murder of a man who had volunteered at Woodyard. Woodyard is a community center that includes an arts center, cafe and a program for people with learning disabilities. During the course of the book, in addition to the murder there are other crimes involving people connected with Woodyard. Coincidentally, Matthew’s husband runs Woodyard. Although there were several conversations about whether Matthew should recuse himself from the case, he never did so. I would have thought such recusal would be mandatory, not optional, but then there wouldn’t have been a book, or any excuse for all the backstory about Matthew, Jonathan, Ross and Jen. I’m not a huge fan of police procedurals, and the only other book that I’ve read by this author is “Raven Black”. Although I didn’t like that book very much I thought I would try her most recent book, which is the start of a new series. I thought this book was an average representative of the genre. The police go from place to place questioning people who lie to them. Forensic evidence does not play a role here. The plot (but not the characters) held my interest but the pace was too slow for me until the last quarter of the book. People seem to love this author, so if you liked her other books you’ll probably like this one too. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    DI Matthew Venn is watching--not attending--his father's funeral when he receives the call. They've found a body on the beach of Crow Point, and it appears as if the victim has been stabbed. Crow Point is right where Matthew and his husband, Jonathan, reside. As Matthew begins digging into the case, he's pulled back into his former life--one he thought he left behind. He also finds himself in a world filled with secrets and lies; a world where some might do anything to kept those secrets buried. DI Matthew Venn is watching--not attending--his father's funeral when he receives the call. They've found a body on the beach of Crow Point, and it appears as if the victim has been stabbed. Crow Point is right where Matthew and his husband, Jonathan, reside. As Matthew begins digging into the case, he's pulled back into his former life--one he thought he left behind. He also finds himself in a world filled with secrets and lies; a world where some might do anything to kept those secrets buried. "The day they found the body on the shore, Matthew Venn was already haunted by thoughts of death and dying." Well, this was an excellent police procedural; one of those mysteries that you get caught up in from the start. I'll be honest that I've never heard of Ann Cleeves or any of her previous series. That's clearly my loss, and I'm definitely interested in her other works now. I won't go into too many details here and spoil the plot, but I'll say that this is a great read, filled with all the little details and nuances that you get from a strong writer. I was heartened from the beginning to find our protagonist, DI Venn, to be gay. You don't get a lot of that in the mystery world. His sexuality is a part of the book, but not the focus, and it was just really nice to read about a gay detective. Matthew is a fascinating character, who is grappling with facing members of the Barum Brethren, a religious sect that he grew up in, but of whom he is no longer a member. He is also a straight-laced policeman, and a strong leader who can admit his faults. It will be nice to follow him in a new series. His team is interesting as well--quirky Jen and annoying Ross are the main two--and I hope they come along in the second book. Cleeves is quite adept at creating her characters, and all are easy to imagine. There's a wide cast of characters in this one, and plenty of suspects, but not so many as to get confused or lost. There's a main plotline (murdered man) and a secondary one--that may be related--and both are intriguing and keep you guessing. We learn things along with the team, as they investigate, which is always a favorite of mine. It's a small-town setting, and many folks are complicated, many have secrets, and it's difficult to work out which secret may have led to murder! (Though I'm proud that I had an inkling about some things!) In the end, this was a really strong mystery. It quietly keeps you guessing and invested in the story. The characters are excellent, and I'm just so heartened to find a gay lead! It's thoughtful and smart, without any gimmicks. Definitely recommend. 4+ stars. I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for an honest review (thank you!). Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    DI Matthew Venn was reasonably new to the police station in Barnstaple, North Devon but his first big case – that of a murdered man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck – would test him immensely. His estrangement from his family stemmed from his youth; the father he hadn’t had contact with before his death, saw Matthew watching from afar as the funeral progressed. He could see his mother, but he didn’t go to her – she wouldn’t have wanted him there. As the investigation moved forward, Venn, DI Matthew Venn was reasonably new to the police station in Barnstaple, North Devon but his first big case – that of a murdered man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck – would test him immensely. His estrangement from his family stemmed from his youth; the father he hadn’t had contact with before his death, saw Matthew watching from afar as the funeral progressed. He could see his mother, but he didn’t go to her – she wouldn’t have wanted him there. As the investigation moved forward, Venn, DS Jen Rafferty and Detective Ross May plus the rest of the team, were frustrated by the lack of information and facts. Everything seemed to be pointing back to Woodyard, a centre for disabled adults which housed a café, an arts centre along with carers and teachers. But when someone went missing, the strange coincidences and links to the past had Venn wondering what the connections were. Would he find the answers he was searching for? Would they catch a killer? The Long Call is the first in the Two Rivers series by Ann Cleeves and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve only read one other by this author, and now will definitely be following this series. The characters are well crafted, easy to know; the story complex with plenty of twists and red herrings. An excellent start to a new crime series which I highly recommend - I'm looking forward to more of DI Matthew Venn. With thanks to Pan Macmillan AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Sometimes you cannot avoid having to go home, even years after you left, losing all you held dear. Detective Matthew Venn went “home” for a funeral and became part of a local murder investigation. Now he must face the demons of his youth, the strict and cultish religious group his estranged family clung to and still hold on to all he holds dear today, including his self-confidence and ability to do his job. THE LONG CALL by Ann Cleaves is a good old fashioned mystery that slowly builds, page Sometimes you cannot avoid having to go home, even years after you left, losing all you held dear. Detective Matthew Venn went “home” for a funeral and became part of a local murder investigation. Now he must face the demons of his youth, the strict and cultish religious group his estranged family clung to and still hold on to all he holds dear today, including his self-confidence and ability to do his job. THE LONG CALL by Ann Cleaves is a good old fashioned mystery that slowly builds, page after page, weaving its story into an intricate tapestry that explodes with a riot of action and color as it begins its rapid race to the finish. Each character comes to life, flawed, unique of personality and carrying their own baggage that at times weighs them down, yet gives them the strength to carry on. The main character is a man of substance, deeply thoughtful, emotionally charged and far from the sniping, edgy and slightly roguish detectives we often meet. He follows the rules, attempts to keep his own set of values while fighting an uphill battle with the ghosts from his past. An excellent read for British-style mystery lovers who enjoy the darkness and suspense of a well-written tale. I received a complimentary ARC edition from Minotaur Books! This is my honest and voluntary review. Series: Two Rivers - Book 1 Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 3, 2019) Publication Date: September 3, 2019 Genre: Mystery Thriller Print Length: 384 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I'm embarrassed to admit I had never heard of Ann Cleeves before this book, but I'm glad I've discovered her now. This was a solid crime mystery that kept my attention throughout. It was well-organized and I enjoyed the interplay among Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, and Detective Seargeants Jen and Ross. Matthew came across as a very thoughtful introvert with good instincts and is also compassionate and caring; Jen seems a tough single mother who is more extroverted and has a gift of I'm embarrassed to admit I had never heard of Ann Cleeves before this book, but I'm glad I've discovered her now. This was a solid crime mystery that kept my attention throughout. It was well-organized and I enjoyed the interplay among Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, and Detective Seargeants Jen and Ross. Matthew came across as a very thoughtful introvert with good instincts and is also compassionate and caring; Jen seems a tough single mother who is more extroverted and has a gift of communicating with others; and Ross hit me as an ambitious brown-noser, but still does his part for the team. They worked well together in trying to solve a murder. There's other crime links besides murder in this story as well. An enjoyable read. I will be putting some of Cleeves' earlier books on my list and may even watch some episodes of Shetland or Vera on BBC which series are both based on her books. I understand The Long Call has been optioned by Silverprint Pictures for the screen rights. Thanks to Ann Cleeves and St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andreia ❤The Butterfly Lover❤

    Outstanding beginning for a new crime series!! Original, consistent, unputdownable, interesting and surprising!! I loved Detective Matthew and his husband Jonathan. Will be on the lookout for book 2!! LOVED the Audible narration!! In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father's funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his Outstanding beginning for a new crime series!! Original, consistent, unputdownable, interesting and surprising!! I loved Detective Matthew and his husband Jonathan. Will be on the lookout for book 2!! LOVED the Audible narration!! In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father's funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too. Now he's back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose. A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew's new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death. Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Rating: 4 promising and suspenseful stars This is the first book in a new mystery series by Anne Cleeves. I’ve been meaning to read this author’s work for years so I was excited to get this book and get in on the ground floor of this series. I now see why Anne Cleeves’ works have received so much praise. This book has set the groundwork for what I believe will be a series that I anxiously await for each new book to be published. “The Long Call” is set on the North Devon coast of England, in a Rating: 4 promising and suspenseful stars This is the first book in a new mystery series by Anne Cleeves. I’ve been meaning to read this author’s work for years so I was excited to get this book and get in on the ground floor of this series. I now see why Anne Cleeves’ works have received so much praise. This book has set the groundwork for what I believe will be a series that I anxiously await for each new book to be published. “The Long Call” is set on the North Devon coast of England, in a spot where two rivers run into the sea. The scenery and setting is almost as much of a character in the book as the people who inhabit it. The title comes from the call of the herring gull often herd on the Devon coast. Naturalists have named the call the ‘long call’. To the main character, Detective Inspector (DI) Matthew Venn, the call sounds like an inarticulate howl of pain. Venn, is a native of this area. He has recently returned reluctantly to Barnstaple in order to support his partner’s career. Venn was estranged from his strict evangelical family and their insular community decades ago. In the opening scene of the book Matthew is standing outside of the chapel where his father’s funeral is being held. He is reluctant to enter, but doesn’t want to miss the service. His phone rings. It’s a call his police team member, Ross. Ross informs him that a dead body has just been found on the beach. The rest of the book is a race to figure out who the killer is. To do that, they need to understand who the victim was, and why someone might have wanted to murder him. There are several really good plot twists as Venn and his team chase down all sorts of leads. Some of the main characters are adults with Down syndrome. I thought that the scenes with 30 year-old Lucy and her aging father were especially well-written. The characters and suspects are connected through a fairly new community center called the Woodyard that Matthew’s husband, Jonathan runs. The book pulled me in, and didn’t let me go. It was well-plotted and evenly paced. I was vested in the characters. I want to read more about Matthew Venn and his husband Jonathan. Matthew’s team also holds promise for further character exploration. Jen, is a formerly abused single parent. She is struggling to balance caring for her teenaged children while working and carving out a bit of time for herself. Ross seems all too eager to be in the middle of the action. What insecurities motivate him to push himself to the front all the time? I’m looking forward to the next book to see where this whole team goes the next time the call to solve a murder comes in. I’d also like to see if Matthew’s Mom relaxes a bit and lets Matthew and Jonathan back into her life. What a great start to a promising series from a proven author. What’s not to like? I’d recommend this to mystery, especially police procedural lovers. But it shouldn’t be limited to just those readers who love the mystery genre. I think that most readers of a well-plotted drama would really enjoy this book. ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, St Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books and the author, Anne Cleeves for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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