The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

4 Stars from me

Being a long term lover of shows like Vera and Midsummer Murders, I was delighted to have the opportunity to read The Long Call by Ann Cleeves as it is the first in a new series; featuring Detective Matthew Venn and set in North Devon.

Matthew Venn is a very likeable character who lives in an idyllic cottage by the sea with his (too perfect?) partner. The Long Call features a search for a missing girl and a murder enquiry both of which seem destined to draw Matthew back into a community – and a myriad of painful memories – that he sought to leave behind.

There is a nice mix of complexity and simplicity throughout the book and Ann Cleeves doesn’t shy away from a fair few contentious subjects as the story unfolds.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Long Call and can’t wait to see it on the TV when it is inevitably made into a tv series.


The Long Call is the captivating first novel in a brand new series from Sunday Times bestseller and creator of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves.

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.


Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

5 Stars from me!Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 18.44.30

I really didn’t expect to be giving Raven Black 5 stars, I’d never heard of Ann Cleeves and just picked it up on a whim but I absolutely loved it!

Now of course, now that I’ve done a little investigating I can see that Ann Cleeves is a prolific and well loved author and I should frankly be ashamed of myself who not knowing who she is.

In a way though it was better that way as I went into the book with no preconceptions and no expectations and purely judged it upon itself, and most definitely came up smelling of roses.

All of the characters well written drawn and came to life on the pages, as did the Shetland Isles – sounding half idyllic and half awful depending on the view point at the time.

Lots of lovely red herrings and garden paths to be led up, which for me really kept the story alive and interesting. Probably my only negative point would be that I’m not entirely sure that Jimmy Perez was well defined enough to carry the lead character role – sometimes he was but other times he was a bit wishy-washy.

Overall a read good read with lots of interesting facts – like Up Helly Aa – and a good old fashioned murder mystery to boot.

It earned it’s full 5 stars because I didn’t guess whodunnit!

Synopsis: Raven Black is the first book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series – which is now the major BBC1 drama starring Douglas Henshall, SHETLAND.

It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter’s eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance . . .

The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man – loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when police insist on opening out the investigation a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine’s neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst.