Book Review: “The Long Call”

the long call

“The Long Call” is written by the award-winning author and creator of “Vera” and “Shetland”, Ann Cleeves.

It introduces us to a brand new crime-fighting character: Detective Matthew Venn.

We begin as Matthew attends the funeral of his father. Ostracised for leaving the close-knit religious community he’d grown up in, he keeps his distance.

Not only from the community, but also from his family. In the intervening years, he has not been part of their lives.

There’s an air of “triste” hanging around Matthew, like a cloud — melancholy, regretful.

Disillusioned, disconnected from his religion. Separated from his extended community.

The guilt of disappointing his parents is an albatross around his neck. Once they’d hoped he’d be the shining light of the community — a future preacher, perhaps.

His subsequent marriage has only widened the breach.

Now a body has been found on the beach. Initial thoughts would normally point to an accident, but a stab wound on the body indicates foul play. Does the victim’s tattoo — another albatross on another neck — have a deeper meaning?

Set in beautiful North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet, “The Long Call” follows Matthew and his colleagues as the investigation progresses.

When two women with additional support needs go missing, the finger of suspicion points to the facility where Matthew’s other half works. Is he too close to the investigation?

Events move swiftly, calling Matthew back to his old community; to the characters of his childhood. Can he reconcile with them? And can he catch the killer?

Like the two rivers, these compelling storylines flow concurrently, each bubbling along with twists and turns, moving apace towards confluence and an exciting conclusion.

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Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!