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
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.)
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 detectivebuttoned-up, gay, married, ex-evangelical Matthew Vennis 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
"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 treasureand we will all follow him anywhere."Hank Phillippi Ryan, Nationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Murder List
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.