Book Review – The Seagull by Ann Cleeves.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, being open and honest and not trying to brag or name drop… I have met Ann Cleeves and would like to consider myself a distant friend (who still owes her lunch). 😉 I knew her as a friend via social media long before I realised she was an author (I can be slow on the uptake people) and despite all this I ALWAYS treat her books the same way I treat books from authors I don’t know or have not met. But, to be honest, in these days of social media and connecting with each other – I talk online to a LOT of authors I am a fan of. No difference, no biased, this review is based solely on what I thought of the book and not what I think of the author.

Okay, here we go…

Yet another great true crime book by Ms Cleeves. I am late to the party when it comes to reading her work, but have really enjoyed all the Vera Stanhope books I have read. They contain that descriptive flow of words that connects the reader to the story, puts them at that location, shows them around and eases them through the story… before smacking them in the back of the head with the whodunit! 😉

The story starts with an interesting little snippet from the past… something to keep you wondering throughout the rest of the book as to how it is connected.

The characters – recurring and new – are well described and easy to follow. No confusing Bill for Phil and the like. I do hate it when characters are so alike in name and actions within a book you confuse them. But in ‘The Seagull’ everyone is described well and easy to tell apart.

Did I get the whodunit? As I am always saying how I get it long before it is revealed in books? Yes and no… I figured a few important pieces out early on, but missed others. And so I was addicted to the ending as it was all lined up and pointed out to having been under my nose the whole time. Doh! That is my sort of crime writing. Letting me think I know it all… then pointing out that I missed bits and should stop guessing. 😉

And I don’t know what it is about true crimes set in England… but I do love the little snippet of life they seem to give. Don’t quote me on it being that accurate… but I do know that a lot of it IS as Ms Cleeves is very good at observing the world around her and capturing it within words to share with others. She gets this certain glint in her eye when it happens!

As a fan of the Ruth Rendell level of True crime, I do love that that calibre of writing is continued in others such as Ms Cleeves. I really enjoy her windows to the world shown through the Vera Stanhope series. Yes it’s not all pretty, happy or clean… but it is REAL and why it makes for an even more interesting read. That connection of reality with fiction that gives the reader the shivers.

The Seagull

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Lovers of True Crime would enjoy this book and the others in the Vera Stanhope series. And ‘The Seagull’ can be easily read as a standalone novel… though, personally, I have preferred reading the books in the series in order as there are some small character developments laced into the recurring characters that helps connect the reader to feeling a part of their lives.

But, yes, can be read as standalone. And, if it has been made into the TV version yet (I don’t know) – just read the book instead as they are ALWAYS better! Just saying. 😉

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. I own paper versions of several books in this series and want to one day own them all… having the bookshelf space to keep them in is another matter.

In summary: Lovers of true crime will enjoy the twists and turns concealed in ‘The Seagull’.


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