Review: The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8) by Ann Cleeves

The Seagull

Series : Vera Stanhope

Publisher : PanM

Source : Author

Release Date : August 29th 2017



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 . . .

Tash M

Ann Cleeves returns to  the wonderful   astute detective inspector Vera Stanhope in The Seagull. The eight book in her namesake series. Vera is back at her finest,  however this time around things aren’t simple or easy.  As her latest case dregs up the past and makes her revisit a time of her life she would have rather forgotten.  Her father and his friends aka ‘ The Gang of Four ‘   who  are well known for their illegal activities  in the area.   Vera has come to accept that part of her father’s life and the impact it had on her own. However even she isn’t prepared for what is instore  for her and the team as this one is going to hit home hard .

It  has been a number of years since the’ Gang of Four ‘ ruled the roost and  they were part of her life. However one of them is determined to dreg  up the past  and make everyone dance to their tune.  John Bruce, now a disgraced  ex police officer and serving time for his crimes is determined to have things his way .  The puppet master of this story, he  holds all the strings and  quickly reveals that he knows something  about the missing member of the Four.  Brian  Marshall is dead and he knows where the skeleton lies.

Brian Marshall, who mysteriously disappeared over twenty years ago and left  no traces himself behind but plenty of problems. He was well known in the community for all the wrong  reasons. A seasoned criminal who had never been caught, escaped to live the high life somewhere else .  John  believes by  opening up  his box of secrets , he can control things and help his  daughter and grandchildren who are struggling at the cost of giving away some of his carefully guarded secrets.

However he isn’t prepared for Vera Stanhope, the woman who put him away and knows how to play the game. She isn’t a detective inspector for nothing. Vera is soon thrown into a cold case with endless secrets  and no answers in sight.  With mysterious figure name The Prof from the  ‘ The Gang of Four’ who keeps appearing and throwing into a tail spin. Vera got her work cut out for her and it going to take something special to solve this case. As  it is a complicated case to say the least and it going to mean Vera putting her own memories to the test.

The Seagull is typical Vera Stanhope. I must admit I hadn’t read one of  Vera Stanhope books prior to this novel . I had however watched a number of episodes and must admit that  it translates well on to screen and I could imagine seeing this novel hitting our screen in the near future.  It’s very familiar and the familiar characters weren’t far from what I watched on tv. Vera was the same woman , that I came to love from the show. She may be tough  with dealing with criminals  and her colleagues but she knows how to treat people right  when it mattered.

The Seagull is Vera Stanhope at her finest exploring  the  intricacy of family relationships in carefully crafted novel. With familiar characters and a cold  case that will leave you hooked into the last page. The Seagull is a must read for mystery lovers.  Readers will enjoy the intimate look  into Vera’s life and family relationships as she tackles another case heads on





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