Cover Image: The Long Call

The Long Call

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Member Reviews

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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This was my first ever time reading Ann Cleeves and I think now it's time I went back and read all the VERA books! What a cracking home-grown British whodunit The Long Call proved. Writing at it's very best with atmospheric settings, realistic and beautifully drawn characters...filled with rich detail and written with intelligence, insight  and compassion. There were enough red herrings in this to fill a small ocean - and it was only in the final few chapters did I guess the guilty party. I can't think of another single book this year that held me in it's thrall the way Long Call did. I was sorry when it drew to a close and in fact it was soooo good I may just go back and re-read it.I really hope Ann Cleeves continues to write about Matthew, Jen and Ross as I've now become so invested them and shall miss them. Please Ms Cleeves - may I have some more? Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for this honest and unbiased review.
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A new and exciting Detective from Ann Cleeves. Love all her other books this one is up to the minute with her new Detective . Great story line, twists and turns at all times. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
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The Long Call is the highly anticipated first novel in the new series from Ann Cleeves, bestselling author and creator of the two much-loved series Vera and Shetland.

In this police procedural Detective Matthew Venn has returned to North Devon to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region. Here Venn was brought up in an evangelical sect and was shunned when he chose to leave. He returns a successful detective, but investigating a murder and the suspects means he has to confront his past and the religious fanatics he thought he had left behind.

A murdered man is found on a beach near Venn's new home that he shares with his husband Jonathan Church, manager of the local community centre. With Church, Venn has found the love and acceptance that his childhood sect – or church – never provided. Venn juggles a potential conflict of interest as the centre becomes embroiled in his investigations which reach far and wide into the local community and ultimately brings to justice respected pillars of society who thought they were above the law. 

Cleeves is a first-class storyteller and ‘The Long Call’ is written with her usual craftsmanship. As the first book in a new series Cleeves has to introduce and establish characters and settings and does so in great detail which  slows down the narrative at times. Cleeves will have no such issues in the next book where readers will then be familiar with Two Rivers, Venn and his colleagues and family. In this first book Venn is likeable but the least colourful among a large cast. I look forward to getting to know Venn better and hope to become as addicted to his adventures as I was to those of Vera and Jimmy.
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A man is found stabbed through the chest on a North Devon beach. Local DI, Matthew Venn, is called to investigate. His assistant is scouse DS Jen Rafferty. The murdered man worked at the Woodyard Centre managed by Venn's husband Jonathan. The Woodyard includes a day centre for adults with learning difficulties. So begins the first in a new series.

The story builds up slowly but rattles along. I read it over a couple of days. The author takes care to describe the North Devon backdrop. Her characters are pretty well drawn too, Rafferty in particular. I didn't warm to Venn who seemed rather buttoned up, anguished and unsure of himself until the closing stages. Overall it's a classic police procedural 

A good read. I don't think Ann Cleve's fans will be disappointed.
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This is a solid police procedural thriller and just as good as you'd expect from this excellent author.

The characters are well written and rounded and you care about them.

It's a good, mystery crime drama, with depth and twists and a well rounded finish at the end.

I think I am becoming a tad jaded with police procedurals though, as this seemed slow moving and not (for me) a massive page turner. However, I think that's likely me more than the author and for those who either enjoy police procedurals, or, are fans of the author, it's a must read.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to preview.
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It seems that for Ann Cleeves murder needs a beautiful backdrop, or perhaps it’s just that stunning views come with a price. Having exhausted Shetland she has now turned her sights on the North Devon coast where she has a new cast of characters. Detective Matthew Venn has returned to the area he grew up in and in this first of a new series must deal with a murder investigation that turns out to have a few personal connections. With some interesting police colleagues this promises much. I hope the inclusion of links to his personal life was an excuse to introduce readers to his back story and won’t be a regular occurrence as I found this detracted from the main plot.

On the whole this was a good start, handicapped by some of the drawbacks that stem from introducing new characters. Not therefore her best book but one that I enjoyed and which holds out the promise of more delights to come. Definitely recommended.
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Creating a character on which to build a potential series of books is no mean feat, and Ann Cleeves has form – once with Vera Stanhope and again with Shetland’s Jimmy Perez. But both of those series are as much about the landscape and location as they are their lead character, so I was interested to see how she would approach her new series and detective, featuring Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, set in North Devon. It’s an area that I have visited on a couple of occasions but don’t know well, and I was able to see it through her eyes, ‘the special light you only find close to the sea’. 

One of the things I particularly liked about this first book in the series was the leading role given to people with learning disabilities (and their families), giving a wonderful window into a world that few of us understand.  As someone whose brother faces similar challenges, to have portrayals that go beyond the cliché of learning disability was wonderful. It made such a refreshing change to have proper, complex motives and choices attributed to people who are so often lumped together as ‘different’ and unable to rationalise the decisions they’ve made.

The story itself was absorbing, and it’s easy to see how the series could unfold. It was one of those books you read more slowly at the end than at the beginning, because although you really want to know what happens, you also don’t want it to end.  Can’t wait for the next one.
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Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite authors for the last couple of years I have been devouring the Shetland and Vera books.  Although I was sad to say goodbye to Vera and Jimmy Perez I was looking forward to the new series.  We are introduced to Matthew Venn and his partner and a whole new team in Devon.  The story was a bit slow to start but gradually built up to the twist which I didn't see coming.  It was a cracking read that I finished in a couple of days.  I loved the way that the special needs characters were drawn and woven into the story.  Matthew as a character was a bit of a Mary-Sue, a bit boring and perfect with his perfect boyfriend.  I was drawn more to DS Jen who seemed to be more of an Ann Cleeves main protagonist than Matthew.  I would really love to read a series about Jen and discover more about her.  Overall, this was  a great thriller as always from a brilliant author.
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The Long Call is an introduction to a new detective, DI Matthew Venn, in North Devon, where he lives with his husband Jonathan.  Matthew is a different type of person to Ann’s two most popular characters, Vera and Perez. He is a more sensitive man, unsure/unbelieving of his own worth in his home life, but very focused on his work, not speaking unless he has something to say, coming across as almost shy - which his colleagues find a bit disconcerting. His background is unusual too, in that he was outcast from his family and their strict religious sect when he lost his faith. He is still coping with the death of his father. 

The body of a homeless alcoholic is found on the beach, near to Matthews home. His investigation takes him to different areas of the community,  but mainly towards the Woodward Community Centre, managed by Jonathan.  

Jen, Matthews sergeant, is a single mum, having left an abusive relationship behind. She loves her work but feels guilty about the amount of time she misses with her two teenage children. Ross, a young detective on the squad, is very keen, impatient and very ambitious. The characters are well written,  but I couldn’t quite get to like Matthew yet.  

A well crafted book, as you would expect from this author. It made me want to keep reading, and held my interest fro m the start. I look forward to the next one in this series.
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The book is set in Devon and leads us to find out the mystery of who killed Simon and why. A man with a tortured past of his own. Is it someone settling an old grudge or has he put his nose in to some business which has caused him to be murdered. I enjoyed reading about the new detective Matthew but Vera is a forceful personality and she is still my favourite! Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me review this book.
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When an author is a favourite of yours and has written such iconic characters as Vera and Jimmy Perez, then you wonder what a new series is going to be like. It's feels fresh and different. New location, an interesting new lead with an even more interesting back story. Add characters and witnesses with disabilities who play major roles in the story, and you have a new start indeed.

Detective Matthew Venn isn't a troubled figure with a drink problem - so that was a winner from the off. He's something else. Unsure of himself in many ways and with enough self-awareness to know that he might be a leading detective but he likes to keep learning and getting to know his team. He has an inquisitive mind which is not bad thing for a detective of course, but this man's mind is very deep and I think this is going to be very interesting in future books. What really interested me was his past in a strict religious group. This seems so apt for today's world with the various beliefs and groups which now seem to hold sway. Again, I would think there is some interesting scope in this sense. A man from such a background is going to see things differently to others.

Matthew's husband works at a centre for disabled people and so we get to meet people who have Down's Syndrome and other disabilities. The characters stories overlap and intertwine and it was fascinating to see it all play out.

It's  a slow burn from finding that body on the beach but the novel pans out nicely. Devon is moody, atmospheric and omnipresent. Devon in the detail you might say. Same could be said about Jen Rafferty - I wish I could have seen her boss' face with some of the lines she came out with!

A new series from a well trusted author. Devon is calling!
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This is my second book by Ann  Cleese’s and the start of a brand new series Two Rivers featuring Detective Matthew Venn and his team, set in the beautiful county of Devon it’s a stunner of a book. The characters are so well developed very engaging and diverse, the plot is excellent and a really good police procedural that ticked all the boxes for me. Having watched both Shetland and Vera tv series both written Ann Cleeves I knew I was in for a treat with this new book and I really look forward to reading more of the series and hope the wait won’t be too long.
So a well recommended read and a big thank you to Ann for writing with both compassion and understanding whilst giving us a damn good mystery.
My thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
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