Atmospheric as all get out. Death on a small Shetland island: it's practically a locked-room mystery.
I really don't know what it is about Cleeves I like so much: the overthinking detective, the isolation but also the interdependence. There's just a mood to them that's quite pleasing. You know as the reader it's all going to come out in a big burst, and the tension is amazing.
The Long Call turned out to be a really long read for me, mostly because I kept setting it aside for something more interesting. The writing is stilted and there are odd phrasings and some out of context sentences here and there that add to that stilted affect. Like one lengthy paragraph about Jen's kids and child minders that ends with a sentence about Jen still having sexy dreams about one child minder and his 'tight bum.' Umm... Ok, maybe that was an attempt at giving the reader some insight about Jen, but it just left me confused about its relevance to anything in the story, including the paragraph it accompanies.
This is a police procedural, so I didn't expect much in the way of those edge of your seat moments that make a good thriller, but I found most of this book just plain boring. It did have potential but most of that got lost in the slow pacing of the story.
On a positive note, there is a lot of diversity, which is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. That said, this one got a little over the top with the characterizations of people. The protagonists are all open-minded and completely accepting while everyone else needs an attitude adjustment because their beliefs are just wrong. I'm about as open-minded as it gets, but I realize that it's rarely so black and white where people are concerned. This book gives voice to the idea that there is no gray area, and it started to feel more like a soap box than a story.
This is my first experience with Ann Cleeves, and I find myself quite underwhelmed. This isn't a story I would recommend and given my feelings about this one, I don't see any reason to continue with the series.
When I saw the cover I immediately clicked.
I love the cover for The Long Call by Ann Cleeves and am always on the lookout for a good mystery. That being said, I really wanted to love this, but…
Maggie loved talking to her friend but one day he didn’t show up. And so her mystery begins and she wants answers.
The characters are gay, lesbian, mentally challenged…
Everything, good and bad, centers around the Woodyard, a community center.
It held no tension or suspense for me. I couldn’t get excited by the story or the writing but I am curious…so I will read on. I know a police procedural is not as exciting as a thriller, but I would put down The Long Call, read something else, come back to it, put it down…well, you get the picture. I was bored and my mind kept drifting.
I did finish it and because I had to know the ending, I gave it 3 stars, for satisfying my curiosity.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Long Call by Ann Cleeves.
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of THE LONG CALL by Ann Cleeves from Macmillan in an exchange for an honest review.
The first book I read by Cleeves was the fifth book in her Shetland series, which is not the way to start that series. But eventually because people I knew loved Vera, I started to watch it, and then watched Shetland. So, when an opportunity came to get in on a new series, I grabbed it.
Matthew Venn is not your normal brooding British detective. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have problems, but those problems are almost common place. You might never know someone whose significant other was killed by a serial killer or whose father stuffed birds, but you most likely met someone like Matthew. And not only Matthew, but someone like Jen and Ross – the two detectives who report to him. Jen is older than Ross and a single mother who is not burdened by guilt. Ross is younger and isn’t what he first appears to be.
The mystery centers on the finding of a body on a beach. Who is this man become the question and the rest of the novel, in addition, to solving that mystery, also presents and mediates on the question of appearances.
It isn’t just the dead body or the police themselves, but also the civilians who inhabit the novel. How clearly do we see those who inhabit the same space as us, who share the same blood or family ties? In part the novel is about the connection between parents and children, and, thankfully, Cleeves does not use Jen in the most trope filled, obvious way – Jen is not conflicted about her children versus her job. Her worries in that regard are, well, not at of the ordinary and there is no real angst there. It is a refreshing change considering how many times we have seen the women police officer dealing with restatement at home – far more than the opposite way. No, the look at parents and children are, primary, with the civilians, in particular the parents of Christine and Lucy as well as with Caroline and her father. In fact, the conversation that occurs roughly mid-way in the book between Caroline and her father is one of the best conversations between father and daughter I have ever read in fiction. The pauses, the struggle of finding the words that need to be said is perfectly portrayed.
The characters of both Christine and Lucy, two young women with Down’s Syndrome, are well done. There is a tension between the women who are testing boundaries and their parents who belong to a totally different generation. It has to with independence and how much one is capable of. I love how Cleeves crafted Lucy and Maurice. While we may disagree with Maurice’s view of his daughter, we know that he loves her.
In all, this new British mystery starts a season that I look forward to returning to when the second book comes out.