The Long Call

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

A new detective from one of my favourite authors, this time set in North Devon, between the 2 rivers Taw and Torridge.  Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite authors. I've read and loved both Vera, set in and around the north east and Jimmy Perez set in Shetland.
Ann Cleeves has such an amazing skill in scene setting that I could almost smell and hear the sea from her descriptions in the Long Call.  And so Matthew Venn's story begins. It took me a good  few chapters to warm to Matthew, but as his story unfolds you begin to understand why he is as he is.  His supporting team, Jen and Ross, are also well rounded and their stories are just waiting to be told. 
The story centres around an unknown male body being found on the shore, the Woodyard, a community centre run by Matthews partner and the people who use it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book  and I look forward to following  Matthew, Jen and Ross ..... hopefully quite soon.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advance reading copy.
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A new detective and a fascinating story. As usual I didn't have a clue where the story was going until the author told me.A good combination of characters.
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The Long Call by Ann Cleeves. I really enjoyed this book. Great characters and great ingredients for a murder mystery with an unexpected twist- which was handled really well. There are so many fascinating elements to this story, from the Brethren belief system and practices to the challenges faced by parents whose children have learning disabilities in balancing protection and  independence. Great pace and plenty of material for a sequel...or two.
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The new series opener from the prolific crime writer Ann Cleeves establishes the foundation for another enthralling series, that I'm sure will receive many justified accolades. The Long Call builds wonderful depth to a location, a community, multiple complex characters and a plot with enterprising threads that continuously surprise.

DI Matthew Venn is the main character and will lead the investigation of a man found murdered on the beach at Crow Point. The area is situated where the rivers Taw and Torridge join at the North Devon coast, a location that Ann Cleeves brings vividly to life. The region between the two rivers is set to be the focal point of the series, giving it its name.

Matthew’s father has recently died and because Matthew left the Barum Brethren church, he has been disowned by his family and has to watch his father’s funeral from a distance. He is now married to Jonathan, a man opposite to Matthew in many ways, including dress and outgoing persona, but a trusted partner where they can provide strength and support to each other. 

Ann Cleeves works with great detail and depth to create main and supporting characters that individually generate interest and empathy. The characters from the police force and the community are so rich we actually contemplate what draws us to each personality. I hope DS Jen Rafferty, herself a very appealing character, remains with Matthew in this series. Her own background has had its troubles, including an abusive ex-husband, but she is astute and her instinctive insights provide an intriguing dimension in the investigative team. 

At another level, Ann unmasks some societal prejudices and exposes trite behaviour towards gays and disabled and mentally impaired people. It is wonderful to experience the diversity of our people as an integral part of society, and an integral part of a crime story.

The main plot is slowly developed and the investigation into the victim connects him with the Day Centre at The Woodyard. The Woodyard is managed by Jonathan which causes Matthew to consider how appropriate his personal connections affect the investigation. While the pace of the story is more sedate than other thrillers, the momentum does shift into a higher gear towards the end with surprises and story plots that weave together to bring the story to a fascinating conclusion. 

Nothing that Ann Cleeves does is stereotypical, uniqueness captivates every page and her writing style is clever and accomplished. This is a series that I’m going to invest time reading each book she publishes. I would highly recommend this book and I'd like to thank Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.
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When we first meet DI Matthew Venn he's at his father's funeral, although 'at' rather overstates the proximity. He sees everyone - his mother and the preacher included from a distance - but he doesn't go it. He wouldn't be welcome. Those attending are part of the Barum Brethren and the teenage Matthew was thrown out when he told the congregation how wrong they were in their beliefs. It coincided with him leaving university and joining the police force. The announcement of Matthew's marriage to Jonathan Church was in the local paper and whilst he doesn't know if his father saw it, he can't imagine that it will have gone down well.

There's no time for introspection, though, as the body of a man has been found on the beach at Crow Point, not too far from where Matthew and Jonathan live. He's got no identification on him, but a shopping list takes Matthew's team back to the Woodyard, a centre for the arts, a community hub and the home of the centre for people with learning difficulties. Jonathan runs the Woodyard and DS Jen Rafferty and DC Ross May are conscious that there might be a conflict of interest for Matthew Venn as their enquiries all seem to lead back to the Woodyard, particularly when a young woman with Down's Syndrome is abducted.

I was saddened when Ann Cleeaves stopped writing the Shetland novels but I can understand how difficult it would have been following the death of her husband, renowned ornithologist, Tim Cleeves. Instead she's put her detective in North Devon, the area where she grew up, and it comes alive in her hands. Some of the tourist destinations are there - such as Ilfracombe - but this is the North Devon where people live and work.

The characters are good too. I liked the combination of Matthew Venn, who prefers rules and order, who - if we're completely honest - lacks that bit of patience to be a really good detective, and Jonathan Church, who has the patience to sit and talk to a badly frightened young woman with Down's Syndrome. He's not worried about rules, or order, but he will adapt to suit Matthew. The police team comes off the page well, too. DS Jen Rafferty is newly escaped from an abusive relationship. Children Ben and Ella largely fend for themselves with only the slightest of oversight from Rafferty, who's become something of a party animal since she left her husband in Liverpool. DC Ross May could become a problem. He's DCI Joe Church's golden boy - and mole in the Venn team. He's devoted to his wife, Melanie, who Jen Rafferty describes as the perfect fashion accessory.

The plot is good too and I didn't work out who dunnit despite the fact that all the clues were there. Cleves manages to deliver a more-than-readable first-book-in-the-series whilst preparing the ground for what I hope are many books to follow. I'd like to thank the publisher for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

If you've read the Vera Stanhope series and the Shetland novels we can recommend anything by Paula Daly who brings the Lake District to life as few others do. Steve Burrows does something similar for North Norfolk in the early books of the Birder Murder series.
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Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez were always going to be hard acts to follow. When I saw that Ann Cleeves had written the first book in a new detective series, I was keen to give it a go. The Long Call has a complicated plot with well-written characters and a sense of place, but I could not warm to Matthew Venn. I realise I’m in a minority, but he seemed bland and uninspiring; there was just something missing. The pace was quite slow to begin with and only picked up towards the end, but perhaps this is to be expected in introducing a new series. I will read the next book to see how the character develops as I think Ann Cleeves is a very talented writer. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The veteran crime writer Anne Cleeves begins a new series set in North Devon, between the 2 rivers, Taw and Torridge, where DI Matthew Venn, a gay man is his 40s married to his husband, Jonathan, is about to lead his first big murder inquiry when the dead body of a man is discovered on the sands, the victim has a tattoo of a albatross on his neck and has been stabbed. Venn is a local boy who grew up with his parents, part of a strict evangelical church, known as the Barum Brethren. His family and the church ostracised him when he renounced their faith, their God a creation in their own image, as hard, cold and inflexible as they are. He is feeling a sense of regret, his father has just died, and he never got to see him as his health deteriorated. Venn's partner, Jonathan is the head of The Woodyard, a community hub combining the arts, a cafe, and a day centre for learning disabled adults.

Within Barnstaple Police, Matt is primarily helped by DS Jen Rafferty, a woman who left her abusive husband in Liverpool, settling locally with her children, although she still misses city life. The other main cop, Ross May, is deemed to be the eyes and ears of DCI Joe Oldham, a fact that makes others more wary of him. The victim turns out to be Simon Walden, a former forces man, whose marriage had broken down after he killed a child whilst driving under the influence of drink. He had been working as a seasonal chef at a hotel, had been homeless, with alcohol and depression issues. He had been provided with a home by Caroline Preece and artist, Gaby Henry. Attending the Day Centre at The Woodyard are Down's Syndrome women, Lucy Braddock and Chrissie Shapland. As connections between the murder and The Woodyard begin to emerge, Venn is plagued by his personal connections to the case which should mean he should not be part of the investigating team, whilst his past history with The Brethren proves to be invaluable to the case. 

Anne Cleeve provides her trademark vibrant sense of location, I felt as if I was right there in North Devon. I have high hopes for this series, a lot of effort went into establishing and embedding the sense of place and the characters. This is not a fast paced read, it's a more character driven novel, I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the learning disabled women, Lucy, Chrissie and Rosa Holsworthy and their central role in the mystery. For the most part, this book was a 4 star read, but somehow in the last quarter it became a 5 star read as the multiple threads begin to come together so skilfully. I found this an absorbing and engaging crime read, although it might possibly be a little too slow moving for some readers. I am eagerly looking forward to the next in the series! Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
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A mans body is found on the beach at Crow Point, the dead man volunteered at a Community Centre which just happens to be run by the lead Detectives husband, Is the murderer an attendee also ?? So begins an investigation into all those connected 

This is the first in hopefully a brand new series and if the next are as good as the first then we are in for a treat
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A new series of books begins, a new landscape unfolds, but the same intimacy, intricacy and sense of place remains, lives of formidable stoicism and quiet integrity rocked by senseless violence, observed with a clarity and humanity that is hard to resist. In Matthew Venn, Ann Cleeves has created a worthy colleague for Jimmy Perez and Vera Stanhope and a series which I look forward to following as it unfolds. 
One morning as you follow the beach, just where the rivers Torridge and Taw collide, in the distance you see a flash of blue lights. When you squint into to the bright reflected sunlight you can just make out something at the water's edge and further away a dark-suited figure and a woman with a shock of red hair. A herring gull, high above swoops and calls out mournfully. I'm afraid this may become a familiar sight, yes, this is a place where transient workers seek seasonal employment, where drug problems haunt the less fashionable streets, but more importantly this is the setting for a new series of crime novels from Ann Cleeves.
Detective Matthew Venn watches his father's funeral from a distance, an exile from his own home, disowned by his parents and the fundamentalist evangelical community in which he was raised, he has sought a new certainty, a new discipline in the police force. Then a body with a distinctive tattoo of an albatross on its neck and a mortal stab wound in the chest is found on the beach near his home and the investigation soon draws him back to examine the dark secrets of his own past.
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The Long Call is Part 1 of Ann Cleeves’ new detective series set in North Devon. Detective Matthew Venn, recently returned to the area he was brought up in, heads a unit investigating a body found on the beach.
Matthew and his team attempt to unravel the victim’s links to a local religious community and a recently opened Arts Centre for able-bodied and disabled adults. At first there are more questions than answers, but eventually, all falls into place.
This latest from Ann Cleeves is a well-structured crime novel. The striking backdrop of North Devon is described skilfully and with the appreciation of a nature lover. Combined with this writer’s insights and empathy with her characters, even the worst ones, the result is a compelling read.
No prizes for guessing how well this will do.
With thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan
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This ARC was courtesy of netgalley - all thoughts and opinions are mine and unbiased

I've not read any of her books before but seen them around and reviews so was thrilled to be able to read an advanced copy

Loved this - can't believe I haven't read any of her books before but will certainly be searching out for more

Lot of twists and turns

So well written, lots of interweaving of the storyline - wonderful

Part of series - can't wait for the next one
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What a well written and enjoyable book!
It is very immersive, and the characters are very believable. Cant wait to read more by the author!
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Although the Shetland series can never really be equalled, as the scenery is stunningly described by Ann Cleeves and the character of Jimmy Perez is so engrossing, this new Two Rivers series gets off to a cracking start.  Matthew Venn is a complex and fascinating figure who is tasked with finding the killer of a young man found on the beach and the abductor of vulnerable young women.  A plausible list of possible culprits is arrayed and the final revelation is surprising.  Once again the locale adds considerably to the charm of the book and Devon acts as an additional character.  Wonderful!
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What a great thriller. 
This author has brought to life a new character for a series. 
This is a slow burn thriller which peaks at the end. It is very compelling with many twists and turns. The plots are interwoven and it was more complicated than expected. 
This is a refreshing novel and I can’t wait for the next book in the series
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This is a new author to me, and is the first in a series with Matthew Venn as the lead character who is an Inspector in the local North Devon police. Venn is not your bog standard Detective, he wears a smart suit, doesn't swear is very honest and tries not to raise his voice or show anger, the one big difference is he has a husband, Jonathan, who works as a manager at a place called the Woodyard which is a community centre for adults with learning difficulties, which again is an interesting slant.

Venn is called from his father's funeral, not  that he could actually attend but just stood on the sidelines watching as he parents belonged to a religious sect which Matthew left when he was 18. A body is found on the beach near to where Matthew lives with his husband Jonathan and the victim is found to be a chef who volunteers at the Woodyard.

There are quite a few characters brought into the story, but to be honest the book is so slow paced it isn't difficult to keep up with at all. 

The formatting was skewed in the opening line of every chapter with Capitals and lower case letters all mixed up. Also towards the end Chrissie Shapland has a surname change for one sentence to Chrissie Southcombe which is very careless.

I did find the book a little plodding, not an awful lot happens for the longest time, and then it all gets wrapped up very neatly in the last few pages of the book. 

On the whole not a bad read but I am not sure I would go out of my way to read another, was just a little too slow and drawn out for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Synopsis: Detective Matthew Venn is Back in his home in North Devon working as a police officer in the town where he grew up. Ostracised from his family after he left the strict evangelical cult he had grown up in, Matthew is trying to find his place in the world. Nearby to Matthew's house a body is found on the beach, the man has been stabbed and now Mathew has to return to the community he left behind in order to get to the bottom of the mystery.

This is the first of Ann Cleeves' books that I've read but I have seen the televised version of Vera. I really enjoyed the book I liked Ann's style of writing and the way she brings so many characters into play without it becoming confusing or making you feel lost. Matthew's character was great as was the character of Jen another police officer.
I'll definitely be reading more of this series and getting round to the Vera and Shetland series' too.
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DI Matthew Venn is called to the discovery of a body on the beach near the house he shares with his husband Jonathan Church.  The victim has been stabbed and is soon identified as Simon Walden, an incomer to the area he was a former member of the armed services who had some mental health issues. He worked part time at the Woodyard Centre - an arts centre which also doubled up as a day centre for people with learning disabilities.  Venn and his team struggle to find a motive to his killing but find a connection when a girl with Down Syndrome is abducted from outside the Centre. 

This is the first in a new series of books by Ann Cleeves, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the author’s Vera and Shetland series and really enjoyed this book too.  I look forward to the next in the series. 

Thanks to Netgalley, Macmillan and Ann Cleeves for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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Who can follow in the footsteps of Shetland’s Jimmy Perez, and Northumberland’s redoubtable Vera Stanhope? Ann Cleeves begins a new crime series, introducing us to DI Matthew Venn. 
Venn is a quiet man, estranged from his family over a difference in faith, finding his feet in a new role in North Devon, living on the coast with his husband. DS Jen Rafferty has relocated from Merseyside, and the theme of outsiders and locals is woven throughout the book – who belongs and who doesn’t.

The familiar Cleeves hallmarks are here – the quiet location, the detail of the plants and landscapes and the weather. Ann Cleeves excels at providing a real sense of her characters’ surroundings, the locations are often a character in themselves, influencing atmosphere and actions. 

And of course, amid this calming landscape, there’s been a murder. A body is found on the beach, and the team are called in to investigate, looking into who the victim really was. Everyone the detectives encounter has secrets, and it takes the patience of Venn and his team to work to uncover the secrets and make the connections. 

A local community centre – home to artists, students, and a day centre for people with learning disabilities becomes central to the plot, allowing Cleeves to write a wide range of different characters, each with their own motivations. For Venn, his personal life and background begin to intrude on the case, and he begins to doubt himself. Characters with learning disabilities are prominent in the book, fully fleshed out and described as individuals, and treated as such by the other characters. 

The Long Call is a well written book, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing more in this series. If you haven’t read any of Ann Cleeves’ previous work, this is an excellent starting point. 
We received an advanced copy of The Long Call from the publisher and NetGalley. 
The Long Call will be published on 3rd September 2019 by Pan MacMillan.
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My first Ann Cleeves book and I loved it. Great detective novel with exciting plot, characters and pace. 
I loved the twists  & turns. I'd definitely read more from Cleeves now.

Thanks a lot Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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North Devon.

After standing outside the church as his father's funeral takes place, DI Matthew Venn is called back to work when a body turns up on the beach near his house.

Discovering the identity of the corpse leads the investigation into a potential conflict of interest for Matthew and raises ghosts from his past
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