Tuesday 28 December 2021

Book Review: The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves

 The Heron's Cry
Ann Cleeves
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication date: 2nd September 2021
Series: Two Rivers #2
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 382
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder--Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter's broken vases.

Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He's a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found--killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.
My review
I loved Ann Cleeves' Shetland and Vera series. She has proven time and time again that she can write compelling stories. I think that is why I was so disappointed in The Heron's Cry.
I haven't read The Long Call so I can't say how this compares to the first in this new series.
The Heron's Cry is narrated through multiple points of view. I found the content repetitive with the three main detectives questioning the same witnesses, at different times, and getting the same answers then meeting back at the station and going over it all again.
I found the characters one dimensional (maybe I missed something by not reading the first book). I'm fine with flawed characters however to be reminded that Venn had a strict childhood and traumatic exit from The Bretheren every few chapters was overkill. Jen continually apologised over get drunk at a party and angst over being a bad mother. Stop  apologising!!  You're a strong woman, be you!
The plot was boring and slow, even my 7 year old granddaughter was saying, 'give it up nan.' She was tired of my moaning.
I hadn't intended to be so scathing in my review but I wanted to convey everything.
What did I like? Jonathan, sweet gorgeous Jonathan, Matthew Venn's husband who was always thinking of Matthew and how he could make Matthew's life more pleasant. I also liked Detective Ross May and the little glimpse into his private life and his love for his wife.
Cleeves touches on the difficulty families face with a family member with mental health issues and the enormous burden it places on families when there is little to no support from hospitals.
I don't think I will continue with this series however I will be on the lookout for other books by Ann Cleeves. 
My rating 2 / 5  ⭐⭐

About the author
Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez, who can now be found on television in ITV's Vera and BBC One's Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide.
Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of 'Murder Squad', working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. Ann is also a passionate champion for libraries and was a National Libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set.

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