Book Review: The Long Call

THE LONG CALL | Ann Cleeves
(Two Rivers #1)
09.03.2019 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Detective Matthew Venn has just lost his father. He has not been invited to his funeral, as Matthew lost his family the day he decided to leave their strict evangelical community behind. Now a successful detective working in North Devon, he cannot help to feel the pangs of loss and regret on this day.

Keeping his mind elsewhere are his team and their new case. The body of a tattooed man has just been found on a nearby beach. He has been stabbed to death. Who could have wanted to target this man? As a strange connection to the community Matthew left behind years ago comes to the surface he is forced to face his past in order to solve the present mystery.


Ann Cleeves is one of those authors who I have wanted to read for what seems like an eternity. If we’re being honest, I find myself intimidated to start reading authors who have long, much loved series reads as their main body of work. It can be hard to commit to reading a series with such depth as Cleeves’ two series do. When I heard that THE LONG CALL was being released and that it was my chance to get in on a new series I jumped at the opportunity.

One of the first things that captivated my attention about Ann Cleeves’ writing is her atmospheric quality. I instantly felt North Devon coming to life and set the moody, dreary stage for Detective Matthew Venn’s current case. I absolutely love when I can sink my teeth into the location of the story I am reading. There is something so satisfying about atmospheric books connecting the reader not only to the characters, but also to the place or places being featured.


The case at the heart of THE LONG CALL is about the body of a tattooed man, whom we come to find out is named Simon. This man has a past that he is trying to escape from. A past that he wants to leave behind, so that he can start a new life. Does that sound familiar? Does it sound a little like what our main character, Detective Matthew Venn has done? It should because this premise is what drives THE LONG CALL on many levels. It’s a premise any reader can appreciate and potentially relate to, which again gives Cleeves the upper hand on bringing in the reader’s commitment to this book and future series. I love that instead of featuring broken characters, Cleeves focuses on redemption.

While reading THE LONG CALL I kept finding myself comparing the style of this story and Cleeves’ writing to Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. There is this undeniable similarity in the pacing of the books. Both focus on a slower, more methodical plot unraveling, as opposed to the more intense thriller style we see predominantly in the crime fiction genre currently. In addition, these books do not focus on gorey cases. There is of course murder, but the heart of these stories are not the shock value in how these murders occurred. These stories are after life lessons and a much larger impact on the reader. If you have ever read any of Louise Penny’s books or something similar, I think THE LONG CALL is a must have for you TBR!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: A huge thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy of this book!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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