Celebrity’s Murder Forebodes a Maelstrom for Secluded Village in Ann

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The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves

What’s it About?

Celebrity Jem Rosco disappears as abruptly as he arrived in town, his lifeless body discovered in a dinghy, anchored off a cove with legends of its own. Superstition and rumor mix with fact as another body is found, and Detective Inspector Matthew Venn realizes that no one is safe from a storm of dark secrets.

New York Times bestselling author Ann Cleeves returns with an evocative third mystery in the Two Rivers series featuring DI Matthew Venn. Prior to The Raging Storm(Minotaur), Venn had attempted to put the past behind him, but to no avail. When Jem Rosco, a celebrity adventurer, is found dead and naked in a dinghy drifting off the rocky coastline, Venn is dispatched to Greystone, Devon, to investigate the crime.

As a child, Venn had spent summers with his parents at the Brethren retreat in the dull seaside village. He now faces unpleasant memories about the religion he has questioned and rejected. And his own mother’s loyalty to the Brethren continues to torture him.

The tiny village of Greystone has a long memory, and the elders remember the embarrassment Venn caused his family and the sect. However, the town had been delighted about the return of another former resident, Jem Rosco. Rosco had been a delinquent youth, and contrary to the village’s predictions, he had achieved international fame as a sailor, adventurer, and legend. Although as a child, Rosco had never fit in: now as an adult, he is revered, but he has limited his community interaction to nightly pints at the Maiden’s Prayer pub. 

Venn quickly discovers that no one knows a lot about Rosco’s present life. He is an enigma, blowing into the village like the North Wind. Yet the more Venn digs, the more he realizes everyone seems to possess an intimate connection to Rosco, himself, or the crime. But there is no evidence to connect any suspect to the murder. The only certainty is that Rosco had mentioned a mysterious mission — to meet a visitor who never materialized. Rosco’s untimely demise has left the village wondering about the true reason for his return and the identity of his visitor. 

The Search for a Killer’s Motive

With the help of Venn’s loyal assistants, Jen Rafferty and Ross May, Venn scours the coast, uncovering the motives for killing Rosco. They are as varied as the shells, stones, and bones washing up on the shore. Old secrets and rivalries resurface in Rosco’s former lovers, spouses, school friends, admirers, and foster parents. Was it revenge, money, or jealousy that prompted Rosco’s murder?

Interestingly, Jem Rosco is not the only legend hovering over Greystone. As the result of a prank lifeboat call-out, his body was found afloat in the treacherous Scully Cove. Scully Cove is mired in superstitions as the scene of unexplained deaths, drownings, and accidents. The locals avoid it, and view the inlet as a place where the angry tides sweep people out to sea, or impale them on the sharp rocks. Contributing to the lore, Rosco’s death scene appeared staged. Someone wanted him found, but why? Why not dump the body in the roiling sea?        

Chilling Mystery Shaped by Its Setting

Once again in The Raging Storm, Cleeves captures the heart and soul of Britain’s Devon Coast with her expressive, and impressive, use of landscape imagery. As in every Cleeves novel, the setting becomes an essential character, assuming a life of its own. This mystery would not have been as dramatic without the dangerous gale winds blowing, the white caps slapping against the shore, the jagged cliffs lording over the rocky shoreline, or the town isolated from the rest of the world by Mother Nature’s wrath. 

In The Raging Storm, this landscape defines the residents of Greystone, while it creates impediments and unforeseen dangers for the strangers in town, like Venn, Jen and Ross. In the eye of a force nine gale, Venn and his team are forced to battle the elements, suspicious residents, and uncooperative witnesses to uncover the truth about Jem Rosco’s death. Meanwhile, Venn must battle his personal demons, unaware that his own life is in peril. For fans of Ann Cleeves, The Raging Storm offers an intriguing continuation of her new Two Rivers franchise. Cleeves has fashioned complicated characters, villains, and plots, and offers a glimpse of life in Devon England that leaves the reader craving more of Matthew Venn. The Raging Storm is chilling to the core.

About Ann Cleeves:

Ann Cleeves is the author of more than 35 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 well-being and supporting access to books. In 2021 her Reading for Wellbeing project launched with local authorities across the North East. She lives in North Tyneside where the Vera books are set. (Photo Credit: David Hirst)

The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves

Publish Date: 9/5/2023

Genre: Crime, Mystery

Author: Ann Cleeves

Page Count: 392 pages

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 9781250836779

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