#BookReview #Ad The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

The Last PartyAbout the Book

It’s the party to end all parties….but not everyone is here to celebrate.

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.

Format: Hardback (448 pages)       Publisher: Sphere
Publication date: 4th August 2022 Genre: Crime, Thriller

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My Review

The first in a new series featuring DC Ffion Morgan of North Wales CID, The Last Party is a clever and intricately constructed whodunit. Set in an exclusive small development of luxury lakeside lodges, it has the feel of a locked room mystery.  As the book progresses it turns out pretty much everyone, including the residents of the nearby village, had a reason to want to kill Rhys Lloyd.

Since the murder scene is on the England/Wales border, DC Ffion Morgan is teamed up with DC Leo Brady of the Major Crime unit of Cheshire Constabulary. Their partnership gets off to a rocky start although, as we discover, they have more in common than they realise.

Alternating with the investigation are flashbacks to the months, weeks, days and hours running up to New Year’s Eve. These are told from a number of points of view, building up the back stories of the various characters as well as giving insights into their relationship with Rhys Lloyd whether that be business, personal or familial.  I especially liked the way the author often ends a chapter with a teasing final sentence. For example, ‘[X] tells people it’s all water under the bridge. It couldn’t be further from the truth.’ As the book goes on, the motives keep on stacking up, as do the red herrings and false trails.

The author gives Ffion a sardonic, no-nonsense attitude and a deadpan sense of humour. However is that just a facade?  Not only does the investigation expose fractures in the relationships between families but also between the lodge residents and the local community. And there are stresses in strains in Ffion’s and Leo’s domestic lives as well. However, I loved the way Ffion encouraged Leo to stand up to his overbearing boss.

The Last Party is an ingenious and absorbing crime mystery that will keep you guessing until the final chapter. The next book in the series, as yet untitled, is available to pre-order now.

I received a proof copy courtesy of Sphere.

In three words: Ingenious, intricate, engrossing

Try something similar: The Companion by Lesley Thomson


Clare MackintoshAbout the Author

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of sixty-four weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children. (Photo: Twitter profile)

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#BlogTour #BookReview #Ad A Winter Grave by Peter May @riverrunbooks

A Winter Grave Peter May Blog Tour FinalWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for A Winter Grave by Peter May. My thanks to Jess at Ransom PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and to riverrun for my review copy via NetGalley.


A Winter GraveAbout the Book

A TOMB OF ICE

A young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice.

A DYING DETECTIVE

Cameron Brodie, a Glasgow detective, sets out on a hazardous journey to the isolated and ice-bound village. He has his own reasons for wanting to investigate a murder case so far from his beat.

AN AGONIZING RECKONING

Brodie must face up to the ghosts of his past and to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that his investigation threatens to expose.

Format: eARC (368 pages)                Publisher: riverrun
Publication date: 19th January 2023 Genre: Crime, Thriller

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My Review

A Winter Grave is set in Scotland but it’s not a Scotland we would recognise. The year is 2051 and Scotland has achieved independence and rejoined the European Union. However, at the same time, the effects of climate change on the world have become all too obvious. Whilst parts of the world are suffering extreme heat, prompting the migration of millions of people from Africa and Asia to Europe, great swathes of Scotland are now under water due to rising sea levels caused by the melting of the Greenland ice sheets and the country now has the climate of northern Norway.

As Brodie investigates the death of a man found frozen in the ice of a snow tunnel, it becomes clear his enemy is not just the person or persons responsible for the man’s death but the weather as well. Ferocious storms have become a frequent occurrence for the residents of Kinlochleven, resulting in power cuts and the loss of communications with the outside world for days at a time. Venturing out into a particularly violent storm, Brodie witnesses the extreme weather conditions for himself. ‘He seemed to be driving headlong into the gale. Hailstorms flew out of the darkness like sparks, deflecting off the windscreen… He could barely see the road ahead of him, hail blowing around and drifting like snow on the recently cleared tarmac.’

Alongside an absorbing and action-packed crime story, and the depiction of the potential impacts of climate change on the world, is Inspector Cameron Brodie’s deeply personal story, told through flashbacks to 2023. Brodie hasn’t long left on this earth but in the time remaining he wants to lay to rest the ghosts of the past, attempt a reconciliation and, perhaps, receive forgiveness. ‘It wasn’t until now, with his own death imminent, that he had been moved, finally, to drag all the skeletons from the closet, and lay them out to be judged.’ It’s a story of love, loss and sacrifice and I found the end of the book intensely moving.

For those who like action, there’s plenty of it and for those who like intrigue, there’s plenty of that as well. There’s even a role for future technology the prospect of which might either thrill you or appall you depending on how you feel about flying in a pilotless plane or living in a 3D printed home.  Add to this a central character prepared to give his all in one last fight and you have a totally gripping crime thriller that is chilling in more ways than one. This is the first book I’ve read by Peter May but it definitely won’t be the last.

In three words: Immersive, exciting, intense

Try something similarThe Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse


Peter MayAbout the Author

Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award-winning journalist at the age of twenty-one and a published novelist at twenty-six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BBC, he quit journalism and during the high-octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland’s most successful television dramatists. He created three prime-time drama series, presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.

In 2021, he was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. He has also won several literature awards in France, received the USA’s Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded the ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South-West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally. (Photo: Facebook profile)

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