Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Multiple Murders, Mutiltiple Characters and a Big Surprise

Two Rivers  # 2
Ann Cleeves
Minotaur Books
September 7, 2021

Ever since The Long Call, the first in the Two Rivers series, I have been looking forward to the second book featuring DCI Matthew Venn and his team. Venn grew up in a fundamentalist Christian group in Devon. He was a rising "star" in the Barum Brethren until a sudden loss of faith resulted in his expulsion from the group and his family, not to mention his homosexuality. Now, he and his husband, Jonathan, are back in Devon. These are treacherous waters for Matthew and Jonathan, as the Brethren are involved to one degree or another. Thankfully, Matthew has a good team in DS Jenn Rafferty and DC Ross May. Jenn is a single mom with two teenagers, and May is dedicated, at least as far as building his career goes. The Heron's Cry begins with Jenn at a party at her friend Cynthia's home. Jenn is a bit tipsy, not an unusual occurrence in social situations when she meets Nigel Yeo. It's a pleasant meeting, but Jenn senses he has something on his mind. Imagine her surprise when Nigel is found dead at his artist daughter's studio. This event sets off even more murders. All the deaths occur among the people living at an artist's colony on the property of millionaire financier Frances Ley.

Very few authors have the characterization skills that Ann Cleeves possesses. She is juggling multiple characters, who all have a part to play in the plot. All are so finely drawn they are indelible, and their varying situations intersect to bring it to its end. I'm particularly fond of Jonathan, who has an endless well of support and sympathy for Matthew, even though their marriage does have its stresses. I am getting fonder of his mother, who seems to be trying in her own way to, if not mend fences, make a halting new beginning. A plus for me is that I didn't have a clue who the perpetrator was and why.

I highly recommend The Heron's Call. Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own. 

5 Stars