Category Archives: Two Rivers Series

Review: The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves

Title: The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
Two Rivers Series Book Two
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


New York Times bestseller Ann Cleeves returns with The Heron’s Cry, the extraordinary follow-up to The Long Call, soon to be a major TV series, alongside her two hit TV shows Shetland and Vera.

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

DI Matthew Venn returns in The Heron’s Cry, in Ann Cleeves powerful next novel, proving once again that she is a master of her craft.


The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves is a multi-layered mystery with an incredibly well-developed cast of characters. This second mystery in the Two Rivers series can be read as a standalone but I HIGHLY recommend the first book well.

Detective Sergeant Jen Rafferty is enjoying an evening gathering at her friend Cynthia Prior’s home when she is approached by Dr. Nigel Yeo. She enjoys their chat but she knows she has had too much to drink to have a serious discussion with him. Unfortunately, Jen will regret this discussion when Nigel is found murdered the next morning by his artist daughter Eve. The murder weapon seems to point to something personal, but why would anyone want to kill Dr. Yeo?

Detective Inspector Matthew Venn finds it difficult to keep this investigation from spilling over into his personal life. His husband, Jonathan Church, is friends with Eve and he wants nothing more than to comfort the grieving young woman. And although the current investigation is barely underway, Matthew is also still struggling with his strained relationship with his mum and his exit from a cult-like religion.

A second murder muddies the investigation somewhat but there is no mistaking the same person is responsible for both deaths. Nigel worked as the director of an advocacy group for patients of the NHS. He was currently trying to find answers about the suicide of a very troubled young man. As Matthew follows Dr. Yeo’s footsteps over the few days before his murder, he makes a shocking discovery. But how does this new information fit with the second murder? And after a stunning disappearance, Matthew, Jen and overly ambitious Detective Constable Ross May are in a race against time to save this person’s life.

The Heron’s Cry is a compelling mystery with complex characters and an engrossing storyline. Matthew is a work in progress as he continues to consciously change some of his embedded behaviors. Jonathan is a breath of fresh air who is caring, laid-back and quick to forgive. Some elements of the investigation give Jen reason to reflect on certain aspects of her own life. The close relationships, oppressive heat wave and small-town setting add tension to the investigation. With unanticipated twists, Ann Cleeves brings this suspenseful mystery to a pitch-perfect conclusion. Old and new fans of the  Two Rivers series are going to absolutely love this latest installment.

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Filed under Contemporary, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Heron's Call, Two Rivers Series

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