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The Long Call

Written by: Ann Cleeves
Narrated by: Ben Aldridge
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins

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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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  • Donna
  • 18-01-20

Story ok but narration rushed and uneven

The narration was so rushed at the beginning I thought I had it on double time. I got used to it, as the story was interesting but it was difficult to get to know the characters. I liked the new detective, but it appears it was a one off.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-19

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.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-19

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Schleeb
  • 13-09-19

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mitchy
  • 09-09-19

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Maggie
  • 22-09-19

I want to like this: so I'm switching to Kindle

I'm asking myself what's the magic spark that makes all Ann Cleeve's creations, Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez et al, so irresistible? I've decided it's because they are all normal, flawed human beings doing an extremely difficult job to the best of their ability, and in our different ways we all can relate to them.
I'm willing to bet that Matthew Venn will prove to be another in the same vein, because they are the sort of characters that Ann Cleeves can be relied on to produce. Unfortunately what's standing in the way of finding that out here is that Matthew, and all the other people in the story, are hard to distinguish, let alone to warm to.
There's no emotion at all. It started with short staccato bursts of speech interspered with gaps in between, not easy to follow. But whilst it's a fast paced delivery, it's in a flat monotone with absolutely no emotion or character at all so it's not easy to follow or even to tell one person from another unless they speak with a distinct accent.
To be fair to Ben Aldridge, who I've not heard of before, his accents are good, but all those from the north west are given whiny voices, even the female detective sergeant, who I'm sure is written as one of the sympathetic characters we should be able to warm to. Sounds cruel but if Ben sat down and listened to Kenny Blyth reading one of the Shetlands, or Janine Birkett one of the Vera Stanhope series, he'd understand.
I love Audible because I can be doing routine tasks whilst listening but I'm going to give Matthew Venn another chance by sitting down to read the book instead and building the characters in my head. Sorry Audible, but there it is.

29 people found this helpful

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  • SheilaZ
  • 08-09-19

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • A. V. Whitmore
  • 26-09-19

Good story. Dreadful narration.

A good yarn but enjoyment spoiled by the overly rapid poorly articulated narration. Hard to understand at times and neither smooth nor captivating.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine McDonald
  • 07-09-19

Disappointing narration

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

15 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-09-19

Disappointing

Can not rate story as returned book after chapter three.
Narrating made this book very uninteresting and boring.

6 people found this helpful

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  • puddy
  • 01-10-19

Spoilt by narration

Brilliant book from Ann Cleeves but the narrator was seriously weird. He broke up sentences and his style was extremely annoying. If the story hadn’t been so good there is no way I would have stuck with it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 08-09-19

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • ceeelle
  • 12-10-19

Poor narration!

The narration was so hard to understand that I stopped trying at the fourth chapter.
The story seemed promising .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sonja
  • 13-03-20

Ann Cleeves on form again

Very enjoyable story with a new location and new protagonist from Ann Cleeves of Shetland and Vera fame. There is even a mention of bird watching which is not uncommon in a Cleeves mystery.
I found it easy to identify one of the perpetrators. But otherwise the usual twists and turns

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  • Bonita N. Jones
  • 03-12-19

Lots of twists and turns, great story with a lot of heart

Fabulous story, fabulous narration. More please Anne Cleaves, looking forward to hearing more about Matthew, Jonathon, Jen and Ross. Lovely characters with a interesting history which I hope we’ll hear more about soon (ish)

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  • Catherine
  • 12-11-19

A murder mystery with a difference

Anne Cleeves embeds her murder mystery in a plausible social context. She explores the life of people who are not quite mainstream with balance and sensitivity and with not a hint of condescending. I found the characters engaging and realistic. A great listen. I loved the West Country accents.

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  • Roderic
  • 06-11-19

Good enough as a distraction

There was nothing remarkable about this book but it was good enough for me to read it without resenting the time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-19

Gripping story about misuse of power.

The story was excellent with action packed climax and an surprising twist at the end. Characters were realistic with very human flaws. Look forward to reading more about these detectives. The narrator was fine although felt he struggled to capture female voices.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-09-19

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.