The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Two Rivers #1
Publication Date: 9/3/19
Number of Pages: 384

I came across this book because I was searching for a new mystery series to read and love. I was really excited to get started on it, but what I found was a really slow-moving tale that could easily have been one hundred pages shorter. The murder mystery was a good one with many layers and multiple suspects – I really was guessing until the end. For me, it didn’t excite me or interest me enough to continue with the series – even with the excellent mystery. It was more character-driven than event-driven and none of the characters really stood out – not even the main character Inspector Matthew Venn. I think I learned and understood much more about the secondary characters than I needed to know – and not as much about the primary characters as I needed/wanted. I actually think the most interesting character in the book was the victim.

Detective Inspector Matthew Venn is originally from the Devon area and returned, after several years away, when he married his husband Jonathan. Jonathan and Matthew are polar opposites. Jonathan is a sociable soul full of wit and charm and Matthew is a prim and proper one who prefers to be more solitary.

The team of investigators that Matthew leads is also a disparate group who don’t really mesh but manage to solve the crime. Matthew is from a religious cult family who disowned him when he questioned their teachings. He is still more prude than not, even though he is gay. Jenn respects Matthew and thinks he is a good leader and a good man. Jen, however, has low self-esteem and a lot of self-doubts – mostly stemming from an abusive marriage. Then, there is Ross who just irritates everybody. Ross is a bit hyper and cannot be still and cannot be enclosed for any length of time. He’s also the golden boy of the Detective Chief Inspector Joe Oldham, who is in charge of their station, and that causes the others to resent him.

Matthew and his team are called to the scene of a murder on the beach at Crow Point, very near Matthew’s home. The man has been stabbed and there is nothing on his body to identify him. He has a tattoo of a large bird on his neck, but no other identifiable markings. When he is finally identified as Simon Walden, they find he is a derelict drunk with depression and other mental instabilities. Then, later, they find there is so much more to him.

When there are also two kidnappings of women with Down Syndrome added to the list of crimes to be solved, the intensity of the investigation has to be really stepped up. Matthew is sure the kidnappings are somehow related to the murder, but he can’t see what the connection would be.

You’ll be surprised by the wrap-up and solution to all of the crimes – at least I was. I had parts of it figured out, but not all – and I’m usually pretty good at figuring the mysteries out almost from the beginning.

I would have loved this mystery had it been less slow and plodding. If you don’t mind that, then I’d say that I recommend this book for you. However, if you are like me and lose patience with so much extraneous information and slow-moving investigations, then you might want to look elsewhere. The pace does pick up in the last twenty percent of the book if that is of any value to you.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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