The Long Call by Anne Cleeves

The Long Call is the first novel in the Two Rivers series

Book blurb

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

My thoughts

The Long Call begins with Detective Inspector Matthew Venn watching his father’s burial. He doesn’t go into the service. He long ago denounced the religious beliefs of his parents, was ostracised and left them to make his own way in the world.

Whilst not set on an island such as Shetland was Ann Cleeves has still achieved an intimate, claustrophobic atmosphere within this story. In part through the small geographical area in which this story is set but also through the relationships Malcolm Venn grew up with, has now forged personally, comes into contact with through work and how they become part of his investigation.

This is a captivating story which carries you along with this rather likeable new detective in solving the mystery of who killed the man on the beach, why he was killed. Each of the threads within it are cleverly drawn together. There is a dark side to this story but it is not overly graphic.

This is a wonderful beginning to a new series which has already won awards and has also been optioned for TV. I look forward to reading more and then, hopefully, at some future date seeing the adaptation.

I very much enjoyed reading The Long Call by Ann Cleeves. It has a good crime mystery and investigation at it’s heart whilst nicely setting the scene – character, place (North Devon) and some of Malcolm Venn’s back story.


With thanks to Pan Macmillan via NetGalley for an eCopy of The Long Call by Ann Cleeves. These are purely my own thoughts, for which I have received no payment.


Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: Paperback 20 Feb 2020 | Hardback/eBook 5 Sept 2019

Buy: At your local bookshop|| or All links to buy

The Long Call has already been optioned for TV by Silverprint Pictures, the company which produced Shetland and Vera.
Here, Ann introduces the new series and tells us about her inspiration for writing it and what we can expect from Detective Matthew Venn.
Ann Cleeves


Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can now be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide.
Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook, and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. Ann is also a passionate champion for libraries and was a National Libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set.

Book Series by Ann Cleeves


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