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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Consummate whodunit👍👍

    Who killed little Thomas' young mother?🔍Kept me guessing all the way😲 I loved the setting, the plot, the varied cast of characters and the author's facility at building a mystery with so many twists and red herrings. I really never guessed the culprit until Vera Stanhope risks her life to get the full story from the murderer's own mouth. This was my first time reading a novel by Ann Cleeves and I can certainly understand why she has won over so many readers and her works have made their way to television. I first heard of her works in an Australian author's novel and then learned that Cleeves sets her police procedural mysteries in some of my favorite settings. A perfect fit for me and I love Vera Stanhope's careless appearance and self-confidence. She dares a "take me as I am" attitude that many male detective leads sport and it's refreshing to have a woman detective to match their nonchalance about appearance and physical fitness while powering doggedly to a successful result. No question about it, I am now a fan. Thanks to publisher Macmillan and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

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  • Another Vera, love it!

    Any book written by Ann Cleeves is a joy to read. Put Vera in it and it becomes even better. The Darkest Evening is book 9 in the Vera Stanhope series but works just fine as a standalone with detailed character descriptions and backstory. However, if you’ve read any of the previous books, or watched any of the TV series, that’s a bonus, because Vera is already a familiar character. Her methods, her nature, her childhood, her surroundings. When The Darkest Evening opens it’s a dark evening indeed. Stubborn Vera has decided that yes, she can make it home just fine, thank you, even though it’s starting to snow and the weather forecast is not good. Turns out visibility isn’t so great after all, Vera misses a turn, becomes a little lost, and discovers a car parked on the side of the road that seems abandoned until she hears a small cry. Someone has left their car, door open, with a toddler strapped into the back seat. When she gets her bearings she realizes she is near the elegant country home, Brockburn, where her father grew up. Where she has family. But no warm and fuzzy memories. She takes the child to the estate. As the weather worsens, the body of a young woman is discovered in the snow. And we’re off. Anyone who thinks they can match wits against rumpled, disheveled, abrupt Vera and come out ahead is in for a surprise. There are a lot of secrets and therefore a lot of possible suspects, including family and people from the nearby town that Vera knows from her childhood. Vera is nothing if not determined. Her methods may not always seem to fall within some accepted norm, but she has a strong moral core that drives her to do what is right and seek justice for those who have been harmed. So with Vera digging in, secrets won’t remain secret for long. As is the case with everything author Cleeves writes, The Darkest Evening is cleverly and smoothly plotted, with twists and turns and surprises that increase the suspense page by page. Her team is back as well, and watching them take this case apart is so satisfying. Ann Cleeves has done it again. A terrific story that will keep you engaged until the very end and leave you wanting to read the next book at once. And amazingly, as with her series Shetland, the characters in the books and on the TV screen are one and the same. As I stated at the beginning, always a joy. Thanks to the author and St. Martin’s Press for providing an advance copy of The Darkest Evening via NetGalley. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it without hesitation. All opinions are my own.

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  • Quick read

    I received a free electronic copy of the ARC of this British police procedural from Netgalley, Ann Cleeves, and St. Marin's Press - Minotaur. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. The ninth novel featuring Vera Stanhope in this mystery series, The Darkest Evening stands alone and is a concise, quick read, and entertaining. You can't go wrong with Ann Cleeves. The majority of the action in this very active novel takes place in rural Northumberland, and we have the perspective of several first-person characters. Though the action is fast, the plot flows nicely and it's fairly easy to keep up. Vera is a character easy to appreciate and Ann Cleeves is an author I follow.

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  • Loved it!

    Ever so glad that Vera hasn’t lost her touch! Central to the book are family relationships. It was a nice touch to have Vera’s own extended family involved in this case, as it provided a bit more background to her upbringing while showing that privilege doesn’t guarantee happiness. Loved it ... waiting in anticipation for the next installment!

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  • Good one!

    Always enjoy a good Ann Cleeves mystery. I like her Vera novels, although I think she is more likable in the TV series.

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