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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Absorbing, engaging, excellent start to new series

    Although I have watched and thoroughly enjoyed both the Vera and Shetland series on television, this is the first book I have read by Ann Cleeves. After this I am definitely going back to catch up, and I can’t wait for the next book in this new Two Rivers series featuring Senior Detective Matthew Venn. It’s a bleak beginning. Even though not much is revealed except that Matthew is an observer, not a participant, at his father’s funeral, he seems troubled, unsettled, uncertain. From this little peek into Matthew Venn the man, we immediately transition to Matthew Venn the Senior Detective. A body has been found on the beach, practically on Matthew and his husband’s doorstep, in places they are familiar with. Brings back a lot of memories of his youth growing up as part of a strict evangelical church, known as the Barum Brethren. I found this to be an absorbing and engaging read, not dashing at the frantic pace of some of the thrillers so popular today but a measured journey through the vivid North Devon countryside, providing in-depth background and character development and a well-plotted mystery with multiple threads that come together skillfully at the end. Matthew, Jen and Ross make a good team, each bringing a different history and perspective to the case. I look forward to learning more about them and about Matthew’s husband Jonathan in future books. I found it endearing and revealing how Matthew always says, “my husband” if someone says, “your partner.” Matthew is very happy to be married to Jonathan. In addition to the riveting mystery Ann Cleeves is noted for, in The Long Call she also addresses some of society’s prejudices and treatment of those not in the mainstream, and the learning disabled women, Lucy, Chrissie and Rosa play an important part in the mystery. The Long Call would work just fine as a standalone, but lucky for us it is not. I especially appreciate when an author takes this much care with a new series, setting the scene, introducing the surroundings and the people that live there, providing a little insight into the relationships and stress and strains of everyday life the way Ann Cleeves has. Thanks to Minotaur Books/Macmillan and NetGalley for providing an advance copy for my honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed The Long Call and recommend it without hesitation.

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  • Hidden Past

    Murder - Abductions - -Characters galore. New Series by Ann Cleeves brings many characters that will probably be addressed more fully in later narratives. I liked the story and everything was tied up by the end. A bit slow moving but a good mystery crime drama. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."

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  • A New Ann Cleeves Series

    The Long Call is the first entry in the new Two Rivers Series. It introduces Matthew Venn, a British police officer, in a same sex marriage and estranged from his mother due to being raised in a strict and cruel sect. When a woman walking her dog finds a man stabbed to death on a beach in North Devon, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn goes straight from his father’s funeral to begin the investigation. While the police are searching for motives for the murder, a woman with Downs Syndrome, who attended Woodyard’s day center and helped in the kitchen, like the murdered man, goes missing. As the team searches for the woman and for a possible connection with the murder, Matthew struggles with a possible conflict of interest because of his husband’s connection to Woodyard. When a second woman with Downs disappears Matthew is further conflicted, knowing his husband would never kill anyone. The Long Call is a very character-driven police procedural, and these are not happy people. The term “long call” refers to the cry of the herring gull, a cry that always sounded to Matthew like “an inarticulate howl of pain”. That sound is very appropriate. Matthew himself has been ostracized by his family since he rejected the small fundamentalist faith in which he had been raised. And although he clearly loves his husband and is loved in return, he is equally clearly very insecure about their relationship. The members of his team also have burdens to deal with. Jen is raising her two children alone after leaving her abusive husband. Their boss, DCI Oldham, has problems of his own that may endanger his career and that I expect to hear of more in future books. Matthew and his team successfully solve the case but not before Matthew himself is endangered. These characters and their lives have not been so easily resolved, though, and Cleeves has made us care about them and assured that we will want to hear more about them in future books. Ms. Cleeves provides a vivid portrayal of her locations. Her wonderful writing and descriptions make you feel the sea, marshes and atmosphere of North Devon. She wrote a wonderful story, with an intriguing plot and a great development of her characters. I definitely recommend The Long Call to other readers. I hope to see more, much more, of Matthew and his team. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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  • Great beginning to a new series

    Matthew is a detective with an interesting background. While secretly attending his father’s funeral, the body of a man has been found and he is soon to be involved in the case. He has a few interesting coworkers that all seem to have their own baggage. The murdered man while known to many is very mysterious. Many of the people involved are also connected with a community arts center that is run by Matthew’s husband. The center has a program for some people with Down’s Syndrome, some of whom are somewhat involved with this mystery. As these women have different challenges, questioning them requires care and sensitivity. The complexity of all these characters makes a very good book that I highly recommend. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

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  • An excellent tale!

    I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Ann Cleeves, and Minotaur Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this British crime mystery of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. As usual, Ann Cleeves (think 'Shetland' and 'Raven Black') brings us a puzzle deeply cast, one that is almost obvious but inherently impossible. Your mind can't really go there, on its own. I enjoyed the people involved in this story, the fully drawn Downs syndrome girls were given the proper respect and allowed character, and even the bad guys were understandable to a degree. Matthew and his husband Jonathan were presented in natural light and the crew at the cop shop were allowed to be human, as well. I love the work of Ann Cleeves. She brings us the world as it is, and that's ok.

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