Calling fans of Ann Cleeves: The Long Call

I read and enjoyed this latest, a first in a new series, from Ann Cleeves. It is publishing soon.  I have also included the New York Times review. Let me know what you think, either of the reviews, or the book, or both.  I recommend this title.

My review

Kudos to the talented Ann Cleeves for this first entry in her new series. I have read the author’s Vera and Jimmy Perez novels, both of which I recommend. As a reader who looked forward especially to every Perez novel, I was sad to learn that the series had finished. I wondered if there would be no more books by this author. I am delighted that that is not the case.

In The Long Call, Ann Cleeves creates a world within a small community in North Devon where rivers converge; the setting effectively becomes a part of the story. In this world, there are three police officers who are central characters. First is Matthew; he was raised within the Brethren, a conservative religious group. While Brethren characters are very much a part of the novel, Matthew himself has left the group. This cast him away from the familiar into a new life in the police and with his husband, Jonathan. Next is a female character, Jen. She is divorced and never has sufficient time for that elusive work-life balance. Ross is a police officer who seems a bit full of himself but he too has reasons for being as he is. I enjoyed spending time with each of these characters.

The story is populated with many characters. There are businessmen, a curate and his girlfriend, an artist and many others. There is the murder victim whose backstory is essential to the plot. Also, there are three young women with Down Syndrome who are integral to the novel. Ms. Cleeves portrays each as a fully rounded person. She is clear eyed and empathetic in the portrayals of the three and their families.

This book was an excellent read and one that I highly recommend. I was sorry to get to the end of the book and only hope that the next in the series comes out soon. If you are a person who enjoys well written British mysteries, put this one on your TBR pile

Many, many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this book in exchange for an honest review.

The New York Times Book Review by Marilyn Stasio that will be in this weekend’s book review.

Matthew Venn is the kind of man who isn’t even welcome at his own father’s funeral. But that’s where we find this detective, skulking around the edges of the service at the North Devon Crematorium, when the call comes in that a body has been found nearby, on the beach at Crow Point. Not a drowning victim, we learn in Ann Cleeves’s atmospheric procedural THE LONG CALL (Minotaur, $26.99), but murdered with a stab wound to the chest.

Venn already has plenty to occupy him, having recently married his lover (“beautiful” Jonathan) and moved back to Devon to police the strictly religious community where he grew up. A prolific author with two sturdy mystery series already underway, Cleeves has a fondness for quirky characters, several of whom show up here when Venn starts interviewing suspects. But Cleeves’s true strength lies in her descriptions of the natural world, gorgeously captured in this brief description of Venn listening to “the surf on the beach and the cry of a herring gull, the sound naturalists named the long call, the cry which always sounded to him like an inarticulate howl of pain.”

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