Blog Tour: Heron’s Cry, Ann Cleeves

Book Review: Heron’s Cry, Two Rivers Series Book 2, Ann Cleeves


Heron's Cry

Mystery: Heron’s Cry, Two Rivers Series Book 2, Ann Cleeves


Even though book reviews are something we do for fun and do not get paid for, at Scintilla we feel a certain sense of responsibility for the task. Writers work exceedingly hard at crafting their stories, shaping their characters, focusing their plots, unveiling their settings. It would be terribly unfair to give the kind of review I want to give for this book.


That review is simply, “Wow!” That’s it. We’re done. Peace out.


Detective Inspector Matthew Venn leads a team of detectives in a small English town on the coast. One of his detectives has gone to a party late on Friday night. At the party she meets a man who says he wants to talk to her. Possibly put off by the fact that she has already had a lot to drink, he tells her it can wait and asks if he can call her later.


The next day, the man is dead, killed in his daughter Eve’s glass-blowing studio with a shard of glass from one of her own creations.


The investigation struggles to gain traction. There are many possible suspects and many possible motives, but none of them seem truly logical or compelling. Then, the daughter finds a second victim, also stabbed in the throat by a piece of glass she had made. Although she found the body it is obvious that she could not have killed the man, but it is equally obvious that the killer is playing a cruel and deadly game. Eve was summoned by text to meet the dead man, a text later determined to have been sent after the man was already dead. The killer wanted Eve to find the body, wanted Eve to identify the murder weapon, wanted Eve to experience that trauma and horror.


But why?


Heron’s Cry is a masterful book from a magnificent storyteller. Ann Cleeves is a name well known to mystery fans. Her books have been turned into TV series, are best sellers in several countries, translated into multiple languages, and have won awards. The only complaint I have is that this book is so good it is hard to know what to highlight.


The pacing is brilliant. Cleeves takes the time to let the plot develop. She allows room for her characters to breathe and to feel and to live. There are days when you just don’t get much done, when an investigation bogs down, when life interrupts. Cleeves is not afraid of those lulls and uses them astutely to flesh out her characters, to capture the setting, to draw readers in to more than just the mystery itself.


Although I would not enjoy spending time with all of the characters, I loved each of them. The three main detectives, Matthew, Jen, and Ross, are each very different. Matthew and his husband Jonathan spend time hosting Matthew’s very religious and conservative mother for a birthday dinner, a dinner that has Matthew tense and edgy at the thought of trying a rapprochement with the person who disapproved of his leaving the faith and of his coming out. Jen is a single mother of two teenagers and is probably too fond of alcohol. Ross is a young husband who is worried that his relationship with his wife is beginning to fray. Cleeves takes time to explore the tensions in these detectives personal and professional lives, tensions which are highlighted and sometimes exacerbated by this case.


The setting also shines out in this novel. The windswept coast with cliffs and rocks. The marshes with their wild birds. The small town with it’s artsy communities. The ocean, the farms, the humid heat and the wild thunderstorms. Cleeves allows us to live in this environment through the course of the novel and by the end it feels like the memories of the place are from an actual visit.


Wow. Just. Wow.


You may be drawn to the mystery plot, but Cleeves sets a much larger table for her readers. Replete with deep characters, vivid settings, and haunting imagery, this book is a feast for fans and newcomers alike. One bite and you will sink your teeth into one of the best books you will read this year.


Ann Cleeves, Author
Ann Cleeves, Author

The Heron's Cry BT Poster

Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of Heron’s Cry, given in exchange for our review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this novel check out the other bloggers on this tour.


Heron's Cry

Book Review: Heron’s Cry, Two Rivers Series Book 2, Ann Cleeves

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