The Long Call

The Long Call

by Ann Cleeves


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Looking for a new mystery series with a brooding detective to root for? Meet Detective Matthew Venn—the clever and haunted center of the Two Rivers series, and someone you’ll fall for from the very start. This tense, atmospheric thriller will make your blood run cold and have you counting down the days until the next spine-tingling installment.



The Long Call from Ann Cleeves—bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—introduces the first in a gripping new series, told with deep compassion and searing insight.

“In Matthew Venn, Ann has created a complex, daring, subtle character.” —Louise Penny

"Matthew Venn is a keeper. A stunning debut for Cleeves’ latest crimefighter."—David Baldacci

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Set in Devon, England, this thoughtful series launch from bestseller Cleeves (the Vera Stanhope series) introduces Det. Insp. Matthew Venn, who spent his childhood among the Barum Brethren, a strict evangelical community led by the charismatic Dennis Salter. As a teenager, Matthew rejected the teachings of the community and was banished. Now in his late 30s, the tightly wound and reserved Matthew works in nearby Barnstable and is married to Jon, who runs a multi-use community arts center called Woodward. When a local man turns up stabbed to death on a beach near Matthew and Jon’s house, the resulting investigation draws a few too many connections to Woodward—including that the victim volunteered there—and soon Matthew’s past and present lives begin to collide. Cleeves makes good use of Devon local color and populates this subtle, expertly paced mystery with distinctive supporting characters. Hopefully, future installments will delve even further into the intriguing Barum Brethren. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary Agent (U.K.) (Sept.)

From the Publisher

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller!
A Library Journal Best Book of 2019
A September 2019 LibraryReads pick!

A St. Louis Post Dispatch Best Book of 2019
One of Aunt Agatha's Best Books of 2019

"Cleeves's true strength lies in her descriptions of the natural world, gorgeously captured."—New York Times Book Review

"Cleeves' acclaimed Shetland series may be history, but her newest detective—buttoned-up, gay, married, ex-evangelical Matthew Venn—is a righteous successor."—People

"The plotting is complex and intriguing, the location comes alive, and the resolution satisfies... fans of Cleeves lamenting the end of the 'Shetland' series will find much to love in her new characters and setting."—Library Journal (starred)

"Fans missing detective Jimmy Perez (Wild Fire, 2018, etc.) will find a worthy successor in the equally complex Venn, who presides over an excellent mystery in this series kickoff."—Kirkus

"Cleeves makes good use of Devon local color and populates this subtle, expertly paced mystery with distinctive supporting characters."—Publishers Weekly

"As usual with this talented author, the key is relationships, and the murder is an occasion to examine them and then, finally, to expose what rips them apart."—Booklist

"Cleeves' new series is as nuanced, compassionate and compelling as her bestsellers starring two other gifted cops, Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez."—Seattle Times

"This is a perfect opening chapter that promises to be another phenomenally successful Cleeves series."—Globe and Mail

"Cleeves shows her usual mastery at creating fully fleshed characters, as well as a plot that keeps readers rapt, and ready for the next installment."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Long Call . . . is driven by strong characters who are deep, likeable and presented in great detail. Cleeves is also adept in providing a good sense of place. Although the story is rife with twists and surprises, the end comes together nicely."—The Missourian

"Matthew is immediately engaging. So, especially, is Jonathan, and so are Matthew's two sidekicks, colorful single mother Jen and straitlaced and ambitious Ross."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"As a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves’ latest. She easily exceeded those expectations with The Long Call. Matthew Venn is a keeper. A stunning debut for Cleeves’ latest crimefighter."—David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Brilliant, thoughtful and deeply engaging."—Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author of the V.I. Warshawski series

"Ann Cleeves is a phenomenal talent. With unfailing skill, gorgeous setting, flawless plot and seamless voice, she brilliantly conjures new worlds in crime fiction. Her instantly iconic Detective Matthew Venn is a treasure—and we will all follow him anywhere."—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Nationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Murder List

“Fans of Ann Cleeves' Vera and Shetland novels won't be disappointed with this unputdownable series debut! With an evocative setting, a gripping plot, and beautifully drawn characters, The Long Call is a terrific read—and Matthew Venn is my new favorite detective.”—Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of Garden of Lamentations

“A new series from Ann Cleeves had hopes raised sky-high but The Long Call exceeded them. Of course, the setting is sumptuously realised, as Cleeves moves without apparent effort from painting the sweep of wild landscapes to skewering the tiniest domestic vanity. Matthew Venn is a triumph of Cleeves’ particular blend of compassion and toughness and I already love him.”—Catriona McPherson, national bestselling author of Strangers at the Gate

“Ann Cleeves has done it again! A new detective, a new series, another terrific puzzle of a story that won’t let you go until the very end. Matthew Venn quickly earns his place beside Vera and Jimmy in a debut you don’t want to miss: The Long Call.”—Charles Todd, bestselling author of The Black Ascot

"In The Long Call, Ann Cleeves builds a prism of a world, multi-faceted, complex, and as brilliant as a diamond. Fans of Vera and Jimmy will love Matthew Venn."—Lori Rader-Day

"Clever, compassionate, and atmospheric, with a great cast of new characters to love. I am already a Matthew Venn fan."—Elly Griffiths, award-winning author of the Ruth Galloway series

"Ann Cleeves has a special gift for making it seem as if she has been writing about a new character or new location for years. The Long Call is brilliant—a page-turning and sensitively told tale, with a vividly evoked North Devon setting, a powerful emotional heft and a new detective hero in Matthew Venn who you will want to follow for book after book. Wonderful!”—Chris Ewan, award-winning author of the Good Thief's Guide series

"Ann Cleeves’ new series gets off to a terrific start with The Long Call—her native Devon is wonderfully evoked, and Matthew Venn is a very appealing new detective. Another sure-fire hit."—Martin Edwards, author of Gallows Court

"Cleeves excels at creating believable, flawed characters in dramatic settings. Moody and tense, The Long Call will more than satisfy Cleeves's many existing fans and new readers alike."—Shelf Awareness

"[The Long Call] introduces us to an unexpectedly splendid new hero, Detective Matthew Venn. In this book we have fleshed-out characters, as well as an engaging plot, with lots of twisting contemplations and complications."—The Regulator Bookshop

"[An] intelligent and complex police procedural of which Ann Cleeves is a master. This has all the Cleeves' hallmarks—beautiful writing, intelligent plotting, thoughtful social explication, and wonderfully memorable characters. Great debut to a new series."—Aunt Agatha's

"Cleeves evokes the local landscape as if it were a character in its own right. The plot moves at a healthy pace, and there is at least one surprise in store. By the end, The Long Call had me hooked—a promising beginning to another fine chapter in the Ann Cleeves story.”—The Times UK

“With a series of ingenious twists and an endearing cast of characters, The Long Call is a triumph that cements Cleeves’ status as one of Britain’s best crime writers.”—Daily Express (UK)

“Splendid stuff, with Cleeves’ characteristic gift for locale (here north Devon).”—Financial Times (UK)

Praise for Ann Cleeves:

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

“Gripping from start to finish.”—Booklist

“Chilling . . . enough to freeze the blood.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Cleeves’ taut, atmospheric thriller will keep readers guessing until the last page.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews

A clever police officer in Devon, England, confronts anger and sorrow from his early life.

DI Matthew Venn was brought up by parents who were members of the Barum Brethren, a small religious sect. When he renounced his religion, he was shunned by his parents and the sect members, became a police officer, and married the love of his life, Jonathan Church, a sunny optimist who manages the Woodyard Centre, a restored factory that's home to a covey of counseling services, artists, and charitable organizations. Venn is called from his father's funeral by PC Ross May to investigate a corpse on the beach near Venn's home. It's been stripped of all ID but an envelope bearing an address in a nearby town. DS Jen Rafferty and May find a house owned by Caroline, daughter of Woodyard trustee Christopher Preece, who shares it with Gaby Henry and a short-time lodger whom Gaby identifies as Simon Walden, the body on the beach. Caroline, who works for her father's mental health charity, felt sorry for Walden, who was living with crushing guilt from a drunken driving accident that killed a young girl, and offered him a place to stay. To Venn's dismay, many of the suspects are involved with the Woodyard Centre. Caroline, Gaby, and Walden all worked there, Caroline's father's charity is housed there, and her boyfriend, Edward, is a curate who sometimes helps out. Whenever Walden rode on a bus, he always sat next to Lucy Braddick, a woman with Down syndrome who attended classes at the Centre. Walden had plenty of money, even if they can't find it, so why was he scrimping on lodgings and transportation? A call from Venn's mother returns him to the orbit of the Brethren after another member's daughter with Down syndrome vanishes from the home of sect leader Dennis Salter. The search continues even as Venn ponders recusing himself from a case that hits so close to home.

Fans missing detective Jimmy Perez (Wild Fire, 2018, etc.) will find a worthy successor in the equally complex Venn, who presides over an excellent mystery in this series kickoff.

Library Journal

★ 07/01/2019

Cleeves's new series stars Matthew Venn, a British detective living near the sea in North Devon with his new husband and facing emotional demons from the past as well as physical ones in the present. When a dead man is found on the beach and two women with Down syndrome are kidnapped, Matthew is convinced there is a connection between the crimes and fears that it may come too close to home. He grew up in the area as part of a strict evangelical community, the Brethren, which he abandoned, and was disenfranchised when he married. His husband is the director of a newly opened community center with links to both the leader of the Brethren and the victims. In Matthew, Cleeves gives us a flawed character rife with insecurities. The events in the book begin the process of his healing, as broken family ties appear to be mending. Matthew's team is introduced, with tensions and backstories developed. The plotting is complex and intriguing, the location comes alive, and the resolution satisfies. VERDICT Fans of Cleeves lamenting the end of the "Shetland" series will find much to love in her new characters and setting. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]—Sharon Mensing, Phoenix, AZ

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250204448
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Series: The Two Rivers Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 20,526
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Customer Reviews