The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves: A review

 

This is the third entry in Ann Cleeves' latest series of mysteries, the one featuring Detective Matthew Venn. I must confess up front that Matthew Venn is not my favorite of Cleeves' creations. (Are you ever going to give us another Vera Stanhope mystery, Ms. Cleeves?) But I'll take what I can get.

This tale is set in the little village of Greystone in Devon. It involves a former member of that community named Jem Rosco. Rosco has made a name for himself as a sailor and adventurer who has roamed the world. Now he has returned to rent a nearby cottage, but, within a month of returning, he disappears and soon his dead body is discovered in a dingy off Scully Cove. He had been murdered.

The case is assigned to Matthew Venn and he and his sergeant Jen Rafferty along with another member of the team, Ross May, hurry to the scene. We learn that Greystone has troubling memories for Venn whose problematic family history is so much a part of his personal makeup. Many residents of Greystone are members of the strict religious community to which Venn's parents belonged and which he was a part of as a child. He left all that behind as soon as he was able but it still haunts him in many ways.

The detectives discover a complex story with many tangled relationships and the more they investigate the more convoluted the story becomes. The investigative team's own personal relationships with each other also play a role in the probe. Jen is a single mother of two teenagers and struggles to balance her work with her personal life. Ross is jealous of her. He is younger and feels that he is not sufficiently appreciated, even though it seems like Venn goes out of his way to praise him and make him feel a part of the team.  

Cleeves gives us a very atmospheric tale and builds suspense around the storms that constantly threaten the coastal town. The book is also filled with the strong characters that are a forte of her writing. She is a master at describing those characters in such vivid detail that we feel we know them and would recognize them if they walked in the door. 

The books in this series could easily be read as standalone novels, but I feel they are enhanced by reading them in order. And now I will be looking forward to number four in the Matthew Venn series. 


Comments

  1. Hi Dorothy, how have you been? I have read the few books in this series but the Vera Stanhope series is superior in my opinion. Take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Vera is always my favorite. I feel she is my soulmate. I wish Cleeves would give us more of her.

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