"The Long Call" by Ann Cleeves #bookreview

"The Long Call" by Ann Cleeves #bookreview

Feb 28, 2024Sophie Hadley

Sophie Hadley Review:

"The Long Call" by Ann Cleeves is a captivating mystery novel that introduces readers to a new detective, Matthew Venn, and immerses them in the atmospheric setting of North Devon. Cleeves, known for her skillful plotting and rich character development, delivers another masterful work in this first installment of the Two Rivers series.

Set against the backdrop of the rugged Devon coastline, the novel opens with the discovery of a body on a beach. Matthew Venn, a complex and introspective detective estranged from his strict religious family, is assigned to the case. As Venn delves into the investigation, he is forced to confront his own past and navigate the intricacies of the tight-knit community he once called home.

Cleeves excels at creating a sense of place, painting a vivid picture of the stark beauty and insular nature of North Devon. The setting serves not only as a backdrop for the mystery but also as a character in its own right, shaping the actions and motivations of the novel's inhabitants.

At the heart of the story is Venn himself, a refreshingly flawed protagonist grappling with personal demons while striving to bring a killer to justice. Cleeves deftly explores Venn's inner struggles, from his strained relationship with his family to his feelings of alienation within the police force. As Venn navigates the complexities of the case, he must also confront his own biases and preconceptions, adding depth and nuance to his character arc.

The supporting cast is equally well-drawn, with each character contributing to the rich tapestry of the narrative. From Venn's fiercely independent colleague Jen Rafferty to the enigmatic figure of Lucy, a homeless woman with a connection to the victim, Cleeves populates her novel with a diverse array of personalities, each with their own secrets and motivations.

The mystery itself is expertly plotted, with twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the final pages. Cleeves skillfully lays out a web of suspects and red herrings, gradually peeling back the layers of deception to reveal the truth beneath. The resolution is both satisfying and surprising, tying up loose ends while leaving room for future developments in the series.

One of the novel's greatest strengths is its exploration of themes such as identity, belonging, and the nature of community. Through Venn's eyes, readers are given insight into the complexities of life in a small town, where gossip and rumor can be as powerful as evidence in shaping public opinion. Cleeves also touches on issues of prejudice and acceptance, challenging readers to confront their own biases and assumptions.

In conclusion, "The Long Call" is a compelling and immersive mystery that showcases Ann Cleeves' talent for crafting intricate plots and memorable characters. With its evocative setting, complex protagonist, and thought-provoking themes, it is sure to delight fans of the genre and leave them eagerly anticipating the next installment in the Two Rivers series. Check out our other book reviews at https://sophiehadley.com

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