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The long call
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Bestselling 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.
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Booklist Review
The body on the beach in Devon was identified quickly as Simon Walden. He was staying rent-free at a home in the area, and he helped in the kitchen at the Woodyard Centre. Simple enough . . . just find out who blew his face away. But Detective Inspector Matthew Venn's investigation only reveals more mysteries. Turns out Walden wasn't a charity case but a respected chef who had run his own restaurant. And he'd just closed a real-estate deal that netted him a small fortune. He'd befriended a young woman with Down syndrome. He brought her candy. She perceived no threat. The case is personal for Venn, a gay man whose husband manages the Woodyard. Author Cleeves spends more than 200 pages setting this up, in prose as evocatively bleak as the Devon coast. Cleeves announces the plot's shift into high gear by revving the language: ""The clouds ripped apart to let through shafts of sunlight."" As usual with this talented author, the key is relationships, and the murder is an occasion to examine them and then, finally, to expose what rips them apart.--Don Crinklaw Copyright 2010 Booklist
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