Category Archives: The Long Call

Review: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Title: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
Two Rivers Series Book One
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 382 pages
Book Rating:

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From Ann Cleeves—bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—comes the first in a gripping new series.

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

From Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of Vera and Shetland, beloved by readers and TV viewers alike, comes a spectacular new series, told with deep compassion and searing insight.


The Long Call by Ann Cleeves is an intriguing mystery set in Devon, England.

Detective Inspector Matthew Venn tackles a murder investigation which hits uncomfortably close to home. The victim is Simon Walden whose body is found not too far from Matthew’s home. Simon also volunteers at the Woodyard Centre which is managed by  Matthew’s husband Jon Church. Despite these possible conflicts, he continues working the case with Detective Sergeant Jen Rafferty and Detective Constable Ross May.  Their first order of business is to talk to Simon’s roommates, home owner and social worker Caroline Preece and artist in residence Gaby Henry. The two women also haveties to Woodyard Centre-Gaby works there and Caroline’s father Christopher is a donor and board member.  Simon has a bit of a troubled history, but by all accounts, he has turned his life around. So what motive would anyone have for killing him?

Matthew is a very contained and somewhat reserved man. He is quite happy with Jon despite their very different personalities. Matthew is a thoughtful boss who takes care to nurture the detectives who work for him. He has been estranged from his parents for several years due to his rejection of the family’s Evangelical church, the Barum Brethren. His father has recently passed away and Matthew remains at odds with his mother, Dorothy, who lives close by.

Simon’s murder investigation is a bit slow moving due to lack of information about the murdered man. Could his death have anything to do with his life before moving to town? Or does it have something to do with his puzzling friendship with Lucy Braddick, a young woman with Down Syndrome who attends classes at Woodyard?  And is there a connection between Simon’s murder and  the  shocking disappearance of Lucy’s friend who also has Down syndrome, Christine Shapland?

The Long Call is a multi-layered, gritty police procedural which features an enigmatic lead protagonist and a suspenseful storyline. The cast of characters is large yet each of the various people are well-developed. With the investigation taking a startling turn,  Ann Cleeves brings this engrossing mystery to a dramatic yet completely satisfying conclusion.  Readers of British crime novels are going to love this brilliant first installment in the Two Rivers series.


Filed under Ann Cleeves, Contemporary, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Long Call, Two Rivers Series