On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.
His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.
But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.
The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, 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, a murder is just the beginning.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part. I’ve read almost all of Clare’s books and the chance to be in at the start of a new series was one not to be missed.
Poor Rhys Lloyd. His New Year came to an untimely end before it even began. Not that I really felt much sympathy for him, to be honest. In fact none of these guests and fellow lakeside home owners were people that I would want to spend an evening with.
Rhys had celebrity status however his opera singing career is waning and even his family were kept in the dark about certain aspects of his life. Is this enough to get him killed though – that is a question for DC Leo Brady of the Cheshire constabulary and DC Ffion Morgan of North Wales Police to discover. It’s a dual jurisdiction crime so the two have to team up – I loved seeing how this partnership developed.
This is a slow burner of a story with any number of suspects. The North Wales setting – the lakeside location, the local characters, the snatches of Welsh dialogue, all give the story a superb sense of place. There is atmosphere, tension and of course secrets galore – even Ffion Morgan is not adverse to having a few of her own.
I liked Leo Brady from the off, his backstory made him an appealing character and the bullying and racist taunts he endured from his DI made me sympathise with him even more. Ffion Morgan took longer to warm to. She was very strong willed and outspoken but at times I thought her unnecessarily snarky, especially with Leo – although by the end of the book I was 100% on her side. Her job was made more difficult because this was her home territory, she had grown up in the small village of Cwm Coed and knew all the locals – investigating them for murder was never going to be easy, and especially with the reputation that she had acquired from her younger wilder years.
There are many supporting characters involved, both locals and those more specifically attached to The Shore, the exclusive lakeside development (which has ruffled a few local feathers) and who may not always be what they seem. Little by little those grudges and deceptions appear and the resulting plot makes for an intriguing and absorbing read that includes a passing nod to obsession with social media and those wanting to Instagram every aspect of their life. With a timeline and multiple viewpoint that moves back and forth from that New Years Eve, secrets and suspicion keep the story moving along with curveballs and surprises aplenty.
Clare Mackintosh is better known for her twisty thrillers. The Last Party is a departure from these, being a crime fiction/police procedural however with its red herrings and twisty plot, this an excellent start to a new series. Already looking forward to the next one.
Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels, including I Let You Go, which was the fastest- selling debut thriller in the year it was released. 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 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart.
Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in Wales with her husband and their three children.
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