Review: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

The Long CallPublisher: Minotaur Books
Author: Ann Cleeves
Released: September 3rd, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of The Long Call through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Long Call is the first novel in a new series by Ann Cleeves, called Two Rivers. It’s not connected with any of her other novels or series. Which means it’s a great starting point for new fans! (Such as myself).

Detective Matthew Venn knows what he wants in life – and he won’t exchange his happiness for the acceptance of his family. But that is a rough path to walk. His path in life is rocked when a recent murder brings it all too close to home for his liking.

The Long Call is a tale of secrets buried upon secrets. Of a world that Matthew thought he had left behind. And of the world he and his new family had embraced. This is the moment when the two clash.

This will likely be Detective Venn’s first of many mysteries to solve (if Cleeves’ preference for writing series has anything to say about it). So get settled and ready for a long run.


“The day they found the body on the shore, Matthew Venn was already haunted by thoughts of death and dying.”

Spoiler Warning

The Long Call was by far the most character driven novel I’ve read this year. Using the main characters to push the plot forward through their reactions and connections to each other was a brilliant move. And one that was handled with excellent precision.

The storytelling in this novel took what could have been an everyday mystery, and turned it into so much more. I can now see why people gush so much about Ann Cleeves’ writing. Now I just find myself wishing I had tried one of her novels earlier!

This novel introduces a new protagonist, Detective Matthew Venn. I’m sure the rest of the series will be from his perspective as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll end up solving next. Though I hope we’ll see more of his husband and coworkers as well.

Speaking of, Matthew Venn’s backstory ended up playing a major role in this mystery. It was an interesting choice, but I was happy to see Venn consciously be aware of that fact, and try to back away on more than one occasion. This is not the tale of an investigator trying to cover up for their family – and that fact is made quickly apparent (I don’t think I could have respected the story nearly so much, had that been the case).

There were a lot of other characters and elements woven into this novel. The end result was something rich and full of life – no pun intended. The entire telling felt organic, as it progressed along, telling us what we needed to know, while also fleshing out the world around it.

I’m happy that I had a chance to read The Long Call. Now I just need to decide on if I want to go through Ann Cleeves’ backlog or not! Though I think I’ll be sticking with this series regardless.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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