Review: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

cover163601-medium In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, 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 into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers.

Ann Cleeves has been on my TBR list forever it seems, but I never manage to get around to reading her.  I think that part of this is because my online book club is already really far into both the Shetland and Vera series and I hate starting in the middle of something.  So, when I saw that The Long Call was the beginning of a new series, I knew it was the perfect time to jump in and see what all the fuss was about.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book.  From what I’d heard, it’d be a great mystery that was well-written, but that was about it.  I hadn’t known I was going to find such engaging characters with differing backgrounds and personalities.  Matthew Venn endeared himself to me from the very beginning.  He’s thoughtful, determined, and very intelligent.  There are moments where he falls into old patterns from his youth and then beats himself up over them, but I’m hoping that he’s using them as learning moments for later.  His husband, Jonathan, is Matthew’s total opposite, but they fit together well.  I was afraid they’d be very Mitch and Cam a la Modern Family, but they aren’t quite that disparate in personality.  (Although, I love Mitch and Cam.)

Jenn was a hot mess and a half, but I really did love how dedicated she was to both her job and her kids.  I’d like to know more about her backstory as well in the future.  She has an important story that I think should be put a little bit forward.  Ross was a jerk, but by the end you begin to understand why.  I’m hoping that he starts to mellow out a bit in the next before Matthew pops him one.

I also hope that, in the upcoming sequels that they delve into the world of the Brethren a bit more.  For some reason, I have this weird obsession with crazy religious factions and I think it’d be fascinating to learn more about Matthew’s upbringing.

The Long Call was an intense, engaging story that kept me reading from the first page.  I wanted to know more about Matthew, the Brethren, his team, the murder… everything!  Although this was my first novel by this author, it definitely will not be my last.  Her writing style is smooth and flowing, making for an easy read although the story isn’t fluffy in any way.

4.5/5

*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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