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Thursday 14 September 2023

The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves

Dear friends. Let me tell you, I was at 85% on the Kindle and still none the wiser about who was the murderer (or murderers). I found myself rationing the book because I didn't want to finish. Praise indeed for Ann Cleeves and her latest novel, The Raging Storm.

Today is my stop on the blog tour. 

Somehow I've never read any of Ann Cleeves's books before,  although I'm familiar with the TV series's Shetland and The Long Call. 

The Raging Storm Synopsis

Detective Matthew Venn returns in The Raging Storm, the next captivating novel in the Two Rivers series from Ann Cleeves, the number one bestselling author and creator of Vera and Shetland.

When Jem Rosco – sailor, adventurer and local legend – blows into town in the middle of an autumn gale, the residents of Greystone, Devon, are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. The residents think nothing of it when Rosco disappears again; that’s the sort of man he is.

Until the lifeboat is launched to a hoax call-out during a raging storm and his body is found in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own.

This is an uncomfortable case for DI Matthew Venn. He came to the remote village as a child, its community populated by the Barum Brethren that he parted ways with, so when superstition and rumour mix and another body is found in the cove, Matthew soon finds his judgement clouded.

As the stormy winds howl and the village is cut off, Venn and his team start their investigation, little realizing their own lives might be in danger. 

My Thoughts

Kudos to Cleeves for creating such a spell binding narrative. It's set in a grim village in North Devon where half of the population seem to be Brethren, who keep to themselves. Investigating the crime is DI Matthew Venn, born into Brethren but cast out after renouncing religion and marrying a man.

Most police crime thrillers have a central character with a particular characteristic. Neuro-diverse, or a loner, or a kick-ass woman, or a would-be poet.  While Matthew Venn could be categorised as "former Brethren," Cleeves has created a character with such depth that it becomes irrelevant.  

He is slightly morose, considered and anxious, fretting that he doesn't deserve his husband Jonathan.  It feels like Cleeves cares for him, whereas she's openly dismissive of the young and inexperienced DC Moss, who thinks about everything in a superficial way. 

Cleeves creates an eerie atmosphere amidst a groundswell of unease and flinty suspicion in the claustrophobic village. 

Venn and his team of Jen and Moss struggle to unravel the mysterious life of murder victim Jem.  This was fascinating in itself. Who was the person he was waiting for? It made me think of the mystery of the "person from Porlock"  (not so far away) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

I'll definitely be seeking out Ann Cleeves's back catalogue. This book gripped me until the end.

About the Author, Ann Cleeves 

Ann Cleeves is the author of more than thirty-five 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, Jimmy Perez and Matthew Venn, who can be found on television in ITV’s Vera, BBC One’s Shetland and ITV's The Long Call respectively. 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 also spends her time advocating for reading to improve health and wellbeing and supporting access to books. In 2021 her Reading for Wellbeing project launched with local authorities across the North East, and in 2022 she was awarded an OBE for her services to reading and libraries. She lives in Northumberland where the Vera books are set. You can find Ann on Twitter and Facebook @AnnCleeves. 

THE RAGING STORM is also available in ebook and audio. 


‘Everything is told crisply in scenes full of sharply observed detail’ INDEPENDENT
‘A fine writer’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
‘A traditional mystery of the best sort’ THE GUARDIAN 
‘Cleeves combines a flair for evoking sense of place with a thoughtful, complex plot’ MAIL ON SUNDAY 
 ‘Had me hooked- a promising beginning to another fine chapter in the Ann Cleeves story’ THE TIMES  
‘Testing our wits against the twisted plots of Ann Cleeves’ novels is only one of the pleasures the afford, and The Heron’s Cry bristles with her customarily keen sense of locale’
'Nobody does unsettling undercurrents better than Ann Cleeves' VAL MCDERMID
‘Clever, compassionate and atmospheric, with a great cast of new characters to love. I am already a Matthew Venn fan’ ELLY GRIFFITHS
‘As a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves’ latest. Matthew Venn is a keeper. A stunning debut for Cleeves’ latest crimefighter’ DAVID BALDAACI 
‘Ann Cleeves is a skilful technician...one of the best natural writers of detective fiction’                   SUNDAY EXPRESS
‘Cleeves weaves an absorbingly cunning mystery’ DAILY MAIL
‘A dark, interesting novel with considerable emotional force behind it’ SPECTATOR
‘Great sense of place, well-rounded characters and a cracking plot’ WOMAN & HOME

Thanks to the author and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the advance copy of The Raging Storm in return for an honest review.

Sharing this post with  #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Hello Monday at Sunshine and BooksRena at Fine Whatever#Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette, Final Friday/Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon #FridayCoffeeShare at Natalie the Explorer


There's a round-up of book reviews on the third Friday of every month at Is This Mutton, plus the occasional author and book spotlight. Follow me on Good Reads or Twitter to see what I'm reading.


August Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: Becoming Liz Taylor by Elizabeth Delo

Book Spotlight: Three Sisters by OJ Mullen 


1 comment

  1. This sounds amazing! I’ve came across Ann Cleeve a lot before but somehow haven’t read any of hers book yet, so will definitely give this one a go. Sounds perfect for Halloween too! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts x


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