Sunday, December 12, 2021

Review: The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves

by Ann Cleeves
Release Date: September 7, 2021
2021 Minotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 382 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250204479
Audiobook: B08XQYN7TK
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

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 Thoughts
The Heron's Cry was a solid mystery, but I don't think it was quite as good as the first book in this series.  I do like the setting, North Devon, and I really like the diverse set of characters. Plus, I was interested in how the author would develop one of the main detectives, Matthew Venn, as I thought his background was intriguing.
One of the strengths of this book is the characters. Matthew and his team are called in to investigate the murder of Dr. Nigel Yeo, but the story definitely doesn't revolve around Matthew.  I like how we get glimpses into the lives of both Jenn and Ross as well, and see how their ambitions plays into how they act and make choices.  Matthew is a bit insecure in his personal life, but he doesn't let that define his professional relationships. I do like how he was able to let loose a little bit in this book, even if letting loose meant he just took off his jacket during a meeting.  But it is little innuendos and inner monologues by the other characters that make this author's writing so interesting. Jenn has two teenagers at home and this case definitely made her look at her own children's online behaviour, something in which all parents should take an interest.  I am not sure what to think of Ross however, as I am not sure if I really like his character.  While he is very attentive to his wife, Mel, some of his thinking almost seems to border on obsession / control and I'm not sure I like some of the things he thinks / feels.  

While the characters were nicely developed and I loved the descriptions of the coastline and the area, the weakness of this book was in the plot line.  Unfortunately, the mystery was quite predictable and the characters spent a lot of the time running around interviewing people.  Normally, I don't have an issue with this, but it got to be somewhat repetitive and boring after a while. And when we do find out who it was, a direction I was seriously hoping it wouldn't go, I thought the reason was weak and didn't quite fit into the rest of the book.  

The Heron's Cry is a well-written book and I really did enjoy the characters and the descriptions of the area.  The novel is definitely atmospheric, and I can picture myself walking through the woods or in the villages quite easily.  Where it fell apart for me was in the mystery as it was predictable and bland, with the characters rushing around interviewing people over and over again.  It's not necessarily the interviewing, it's how it was done, and I definitely did not believe the reasons for why the person did what they did as it didn't make sense with the rest of this novel.  I did enjoy this author's other series however, so I will read the next book in this series to see what happens next.