The Heron’s Cry is the second novel in the series featuring Matthew Venn. It follows on The Long Call. In that first novel, readers learn Matthew’s history. He was raised in a strict religious group where his sexual orientation and desire to work in the police force were in conflict with the values of those around him. Doing what was right for him has taken something out of Matthew. Luckily, his husband Jonathan offers support and love along with a different way of looking at the world.
Matthew’s current case takes place in a small community. There are several deaths. How are they connected? How will those around the victims cope and live their lives from this point on? Those characters are farmers, artists, pub owners and others with intersecting lives.
The first victim is Nigel Yeo. Was his death a personal vendetta or was it related to work that he was doing for an organization called Patients Together? How is the death of an artist related to this? And what about the cause of death of a third victim?
What Ann Cleeves does well:
-She creates a strong sense of place with her descriptions of the book’s settings.
-She forms a world filled with characters whose lives collide. All of these characters come alive. There are those who are present in this novel and also the recurring police characters and Matthew’s mother and husband. I enjoyed spending time with them.
-She raises an important social issue but it may require a trigger warning for some readers as the subject relates to suicide.
More than halfway into the novel, Matthew and Jonathan (his husband) see a heron. Watch for this and how Jonathan connects that bird to Matthew and his way of looking at the world. It seemed quite apt.
I was delighted to receive this ARC from NetGalley. I have read all of the Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez novels by this author and recommend them highly. When Ms. Cleeves announced that there would be no more Perez novels, I knew that I would miss them. The Matthew Venn novels are just a scintilla less engaging to me but I do recommend them. I hope that before long there will be a third Matthew Venn story.