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Publisher's Summary

From Ann Cleeves - New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows - comes the stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening.

"Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers." (Louise Penny)

"As a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves’ latest.... A stunning debut for Cleeves’ latest crimefighter." (David Baldacci on The Long Call)

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.

Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights, and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.

As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books

©2020 Ann Cleeves (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Darkest Evening: A Vera Stanhope Novel

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  • MW
  • 09-12-20

Great story, not a fan of the reader

Loved the addition to the Vera Stanhope series. I’m not a particular fan of this reader though. I find the male voices to sound dopey and some of the females so high and squeaky. Completely adequate and listenable, but not my favorite.

15 people found this helpful

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One of her best

Ann Cleeves hit another one out of the ballpark. I think The Darkest Evening had more humanity, emotion and love than any of her novels and I have listened to them all. All of the Vera novels and all of the Jimmy Perez stories are interesting but exploring Vera’s background made us understand her character as none of her other cases have. Janine Birkett is a wonderful narrator and evokes Vera from the television series completely. Her command of the nuances of each character’s voice is a delight to the ear. This is definitely a book to be enjoyed more than once.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

It was such a treat to listen to this book! Vera is her same messy but highly competent self, who generally tries not to let her loneliness show, while working with her team to tackle murders. But in this one, Anne Cleeves, I think, let a bit more of the vulnerable Vera show, as she is faced with dealing with murders that bring her directly into the middle of her deceased father’s somewhat estranged family. We see a side of her that enters into their ancestral home, with the last of the family who could never quite embrace her father (or her, as a child). She has awkward reconnections with her own family, as the mystery she tackles also revolves around other families. I really liked this book—listened straight through in one day. I also very much like the narrator, and think she does a good job with the different voices.

10 people found this helpful

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A suspenseful and well crafted story.

Great story as usual from Ann Cleeves. Really enjoyed the narration. Would Highly recommend this book.

7 people found this helpful

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A great mystery by a writer at the top of her game

if you love Vera, you'll be very happily satisfied and probably when it ends, begin again at the beginning. reader isn't the best, but you get used to her.

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful insight into Vera

I so enjoyed this story about Vera and her family, the relationships with her team, personal stuff, that I forgot to try to figure out who done it. The last chapter was incredibly touching. About the narrator. she was ok. Maybe the voice of television Vera is stuck in my head, once I came to grips with that, I was able to tolerate the reading, but others have done a much better job of reading this series.

5 people found this helpful

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Vera

fantastic. vera never let's you down. rude, rumpled and just canny enough to get the jib done. had it finished in 2 days

5 people found this helpful

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Families

I enjoyed this addition to the Vera Stanhope series for its thoughtful exploration of the nature of families of all sorts: biological, happy, workplace, community...and the author's continuing development of this most interesting, complex, and imperfect protagonist.

5 people found this helpful

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Perfection; Per Usual

Anytime I start a new Anne Cleeves I have this latent anxiety that I will be disappointed. The bar is so high because she had set this bar herself. I believe her to be the most talented crime writer (of this genre) of our time. Her writing has depth, atmosphere, humor, and just enough of a spooky undercurrent to propel her stories the right way. She always develops her characters totally, you truly get to know these folks. She is masterful with her ability to really TRANSPORT the reader to these locations. The Shetland Series is the proof of that. You close your eyes and really GO there and that is genius in my opinion. It is not easy to achieve this. I loved this book from start to finish. There are no lags, drags, or unnecessary words or chapters. Every printed word has been carefully though out. The story itself is exceedingly interesting and of course, we have the wild and alluring backdrop of Northumbria. The performance is outstanding. I absolutely loved it. This is one that I will be listening to again. I always enjoy Vera (I prefer Shetland but really enjoy Vera as well) and of the Vera series this is one of the best. In my opinion there are some serious standouts in the series. Books such The Crow Trap, Telling Tales, The Glass Room and Harbor Street are almost how to guides for a mystery writer. I’ve listened many times to these. This one is right at the top of that list. A wonderful book and a really fun read. Once again, and for like the fiftieth time, thank you AC. Another fabulous story that I won’t soon forget. Bravo 😎😎😎🎉🎉🎉

3 people found this helpful

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Narration hurt my teeth

I wish Audible would stop changing narrators for the fine work of Ann Cleeves. Janine Birkett is the worst one on the list, and when she voiced Juliette I wanted to slap her. She did fine with Vera, but it makes for choppy, uneven listening and I won't waste a credit on any more of her productions.

3 people found this helpful