Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Raging Storm - Two Rivers #3

The Raging Storm is the third procedural mystery featuring Detective Matthew Venn and his colleagues by Ann Cleeves. Released 5th Sept 2023 from Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 400 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

This is another beautifully written mystery set in North Devon and featuring Detective Matthew Venn, a cerebral and solemnly intelligent investigator and his ensemble team. The pacing of the investigation is unhurried and the characters built up so well and in such detail that they seem to live and breathe. The author always does a stunning job with the setting and this is no exception, a true three dimensional engrossing read. The wildness and remoteness of the coastal area, the palpable danger of a huge coastal storm, and the bravery and dedication of the folks involved in search and rescue are all beautifully and believably rendered by the author.

Although it's the third book in the series, it works well enough as a standalone. This book is also quite intricately plotted, but there aren't any major spoilers if they're read out of order. The denouement and resolution were exciting and satisfying.

The author does a good job of showing the frustrations and difficulties of dealing with the challenges of a very ill child and the lengths to which families must accommodate. The language is rough in places (R-rated), and there are some blood/gore descriptions on page, but nothing egregious.

The audiobook is unabridged, has a run time of slightly over 10 hours, and is most expertly narrated by series narrator Jack Holden. He has a pleasantly nuanced voice and manages numerous characters with widely divergent accents (and ages, and both sexes) impressively well. One of the main characters is from Liverpool, the secondary characters are varied and have accents from Scotland to the Southwest and points in between, and he manages all of them with expertise and precision. Sound quality and production values are high throughout the recording.

Five stars for the book itself, five for the audiobook. This is a superlative series. It would make a great choice for a mystery book club read, or buddy/binge read.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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