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The Long Call

Narrated by: Ben Aldridge
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sunday Times best-selling author of the Shetland and Vera Stanhope series, Ann Cleeves returns with the first in a brand-new series set in North Devon and featuring Detective Matthew Venn. In this rural idyll, where two rivers meet, crime is always there waiting to rise from the water. 

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father's funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family, too.

Now he's back, not just to mourn his father at a distance but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region, a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew's new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

©2019 Ann Cleeves (P)2019 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

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Average Customer Ratings

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Overall a bit disappointing

Warning, regrettably this is mostly a negative review. I’m a big fan of Cleeves, but The Long Call didn’t cut it for me. I found it overwritten, too many threads and in need of a good edit to remove repetition and the irritating reminders of who was related to whom and basic plot points. On the upside it was great to see diversity in choice of protagonist in this series. Unfortunately I also had problems with the reader’s style. I found it choppy, with small chunks of rapidly delivered narration punctuated throughout (even mid sentence) with significant pauses. Good to hear an appealing new voice on this series but I hope the narration rhythm and timing smooth out a lot next time. I will get the next one in the series, but less enthusiastically awaited by me than usual with an Ann Cleeves book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ann Cleeves is a great story teller.

Again Ann has told a story with a strong social justice theme.
I love that her heroes are all people who experience life differently. The gentle, pleasant, loving personalities of the women with Downs Syndrome remind me of the many people I know with this characteristic.
Well written and smoothly told I was held captive till the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-2019

Fantastic Story, poor delivery

Another fantastic detective from the imagination of Ann Cleeves but what a poor narrator, very robotic and sounding very uninterested, I only stuck with it because of the story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine McDonald
  • 07-09-2019

Disappointing narration

Did not finish listening. Found narrator disappointing. Sounded bored! Will read the book instead. Shame.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-2019

Terrible narration

Interesting new series from an author whose books I have loved for so many years. The narrator though was driving me mad, read as though he would get an award for passing the finishing line. Too fast, too dry, and sometimes difficult to understand.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mitchy
  • 09-09-2019

A solid new character who will surely evolve into a firm favourite

I was delighted to see a new Ann Cleeves’ leading character launched onto the literary landscape; much as I love Vera and Jimmy, I was a tiny bit tired of Shetland and Northumberland as my settings, for now at least. I am sure I will miss them though.

Meet Matthew Venn - in some ways reminiscent of both his predecessors, in that he is at heart solitary with just a tight circle around him - but I feel there is a rich seam of character traits still to be uncovered in the series. It was like meeting someone interesting yet quiet at a party, they didn’t dominate the room but I would love to spend more time with them.

As to the book itself, no spoilers here, or only vague hints from me. My very early guess (and there is no who in whodunnit if we don’t guess) as to who was spot on, the why could have gone one of two ways in my opinion, either financial or sexual. Was I right? Read it yourself to find out, but it’s a good one, with many complex characters.

Thanks for the new series Anne - already looking for ward to seeing how this one develops.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • adelaide17
  • 15-09-2019

One of my favourite authors ...

I have been a fan of Ann Cleeves for many years in written, TV and audio format. Thought the character development and the intricacies of the plot in this new series were good but I struggled to keep going to the end because the voice of the narrator which is crucial with the audio version was a little uninspired. For me also his regional accents were not convincing – especially that of Jen the Liverpudlian sergeant.

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  • Schleeb
  • 13-09-2019

Dreadful & robotic narrator

Who on earth approved this narration? So poor I had to return the book after two chapters so cannot comment on the story.
What a disappointment. I had been really looking forward to this series. Both the Shetland and Vera series are well narrated.
Sincerely hope the publisher takes note of all the comments on here and finds someone new for future books.

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  • Judith Raison
  • 13-09-2019

The new series, The Long Call

This is the first book of what I assume will be a new series. It was very different from both Shetland and Vera but, nevertheless, enjoyable. The main characters all seemed troubled in different ways but by the end of the book I thought that some issues were fading. I am looking forward to the next episode and hope that the characters will develop further. On the minus side the narrator was awful, he didn’t do justice to the story and appeared to be bored with the whole thing. If he narrates the next book I may well buy the kindle version instead. He actually detracted from the book.

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  • Noor Forbes
  • 13-09-2019

a little too predictable, echoes of Morse, Saville

the narrator's style improved as he went along....a little too staccato. main character has nothing on Perez/Vera.....a little disappointing...

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Cathryn B.
  • 12-09-2019

Not Ann's best book

I found this book quite boring. In fact I haven't finished it yet and don't think I will bother. I'm very disappointed, after reading the Shetland novels I was looking forward to Ann Cleeves new detective series. I have noticed this book is no longer available in the store. Maybe it's been withdrawn for a reason!

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  • SheilaZ
  • 08-09-2019

A Sluggish Read

Most importantly, I found the narration flat, and difficult to understand, which adversely affected my overall rating. The story has interesting plot twists Because this is the first book in what is to be a series, I thought the author did a poor job in developing the continuing characters.

I am a great fan of Cleeves' earlier series, but am unlikely to purchase more in this series.

This is the first book that I've read where the lead character is gay.