Ann Cleeves, creator of the series and TV Show Shetland, is starting the Fall with a new series, Two Rivers. The first installment in the series is The Long Call. This is my first read by Ann Cleeves so I can’t compare it to anything else. However, I have read multiple novels by British authors across different genres. Cleeves’ narrative and structure is appealing to the part of me missing the 1994-2005ish British Anglophile in me.
If you like a British, murder-mystery? You are halfway there.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.
I feel like I have been saying this a lot over the summer. I am not sure if it is a trend or just something I have recently noticed, but there are a lot of characters up front. Again, feeling like a broken record, once you get to know them, it is easy to navigate them.
Cleeves makes them unique and distinct. They are flushed out enough, have their own voice and play their own part in the plot to not confuse them. I’m going to leave that vague as to not give anything away. I will say this is definitely one of those books that will make you walk out the door, look at the neighbor and think…
“Do I know? I mean I know you… but do I really know you, know you?”
North Devon is utilized incredibly well as a dismal, dreary setting that brings an aura of creepiness and tension throughout the book. Starting out at a funeral in this setting makes perfect fest and kicks it off right properly. It is a murder mystery and the setting match perfectly. So yes! Let’s just jump right in with a funeral and then a body- but no not the one in the casket! Perfect!
However, here is where my issue with The Long Call kicks in. From there you would expect The Long Call to rocket into the stratosphere of a frolicking murder-mystery. I mean that is the greatest start ever, right? The Detective is at a funeral- let me clarify. The book starts in dreary North Devon with him at his DAD’s FUNERAL and a dead body washes up on the BEACH. Ok.
So, you would expect for the pacing to just take off from there, yeah? Me too. Except, well… no. The pacing just kind of flatlines. It kicks-off and the sits. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it. I was just disappointed with that it didn’t take off from such a monstrosity of a start.
It all came together at the end. And Cleeves had all the pieces of a great murder mystery. It just didn’t keep the promise of the beginning. It is an enjoyable read and I think the mileage may vary by reader. Plus, I haven’t read Cleeves other works, so I don’t have that background to compare.
The beginning and end were fantastic. I would love to see the middle beefed up to fit.
If anyone else reads The Long Call, I’d love to hear other opinions on it!