The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
Series: Two Rivers #1
Published by Minotaur Books on September 3, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 376
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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.


The mystery genre is honestly my second favorite genre to dig into. Whether normal, paranormal, cozy, or gruesome, it doesn’t matter to me. All I need is a juicy mystery, good characters, and a satisfying ending. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves definitely delivers on most fronts!

I honestly was a little hesitant when I began the novel. The judgmental personality of protagonist Matthew Venn really put me off and I was unsure how I would rate this book. Heck, I was even worried about this becoming yet another book I would have to put as DNF. Luckily, as the story unfolded, so did Matthew’s personality. We’re shown why he is so formal and conservative. We meet his mother and learn a little about the congregation he grew up in. This background information definitely helped not only give meaning behind his somewhat stilted views, but also softened Venn’s edges. We see that his disapproving nature is surface level and it doesn’t actually color his actions. He can still trust Jen despite his reservations on her personal life, and ultimately, that redeems him as protagonist for me.

The mystery itself was really well crafted. This is my first time reading Cleeves and I can definitely see why she’s such a popular author. All of the pieces are there and everything feels so obvious, yet it is just barely out of reach. There is no last minute twist or gotcha! to cheapen the plot. It is simply solid work with all of the puzzle pieces visible and then being shown the box at the end as to how they fit. The atmosphere and setting were also incredibly well done. As someone that is obviously not from the UK, I’ve found that some books that are incredibly localized can be harder for ‘outsiders’ to relate or get into. This was definitely not the case here. There is just enough flavor that Britons can appreciate the nuances and non-Britons don’t feel uncomfortable or lost.

I think The Long Call by Ann Cleeves is definitely inspiring me to not just continue the series, but pick up other mysteries by the author. It is simply well written, a good mystery, and solid characters.


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