22 October 2017

Review: THE SEAGULL, Ann Cleeves

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 2306 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (August 29, 2017)
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2017
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072BMV2K9
  • #8 in the Vera Stanhope series 
Synopsis (Amazon)

The Seagull is Ann Cleeves’ searing eighth novel in the bestselling Vera Stanhope series, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and about fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.

A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.

Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were ‘the Gang of Four’, and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . .

My Take

Vera's boss sends her off to the local prison to give a talk to some geriatric inmates. There she comes face to face with John Brace, a bent copper whom she helped put away. Brace says he has some information about a cold case, in return for Vera visiting his daughter. Vera finds she has a lot of sympathy for the daughter Patty who in reality is not doing all that well. There are some aspects of Patty's story that pricks Vera's curiosity, particularly about what happened to Patty's mother who was a prostitute.

Brace is true to his word and tells Vera where to find the body of a man who disappeared some years before. But there they find two bodies, not one, and then Patty's ex-husband is killed.

In this story I particularly liked the fact that Vera was prepared to go the extra mile, and that she expected her team to do so as well. When it all comes together at the end, it has been a very satisfying journey.

When you read this novel, be sure to read the author's note in the final pages about the setting.

My rating: 4.7

I've also read
mini-review RAVEN BLACK - Shetland #1
WHITE NIGHTS - Shetland#2
RED BONES - Shetland #3
5.0, BLUE LIGHTNING - Shetland#4
5.0, DEAD WATER  - Shetland#5
4.6, THIN AIR - Shetland #6
4.3, MURDER IN PARADISE - Palmer-Jones series #3
TELLING TALES (Vera Stanhope) #2
4.8, SILENT VOICES, (Vera Stanhope) #4
5.0, THE GLASS ROOM (Vera Stanhope) #5
4.9, HARBOUR STREET (Vera Stanhope) #6
 4.5, BURIAL OF GHOSTS - stand-alone
4.8, THE MOTH CATCHER (Vera Stanhope #7)
4.4, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (Quick Reads)

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