What’s it about?
She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.
But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?
Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what she did.
As a reader of so many thrillers each year it’s not so easy to find a novel with a great plottwist that I didn’t see coming, but boy this one certainly hit it off! Oww yes, you are going to love Last Seen Alive if you enjoyed Claire Douglas’ previous novel Local Girl Missing! Even if they are completely different stories, you’ll experience the same exhilarating feeling when reading this. You are led to believe – again – that the story is a pretty straightforward one but I can assure you that you don’t know anything ;-).
I’m not going to lie, the first part of the story is a storyline which you’ll find in other novels as well, Libby is seeing things that don’t add up, suspicion is all around. Ms. Douglas is doing the legwork for the brilliant plotting in part 2 and 3 of this novel and this first part is very relevant is all I can say. I was totally invested in the lives of Libby and James and I did my best to try and figure out what was going on and who was to be suspected in this story but I still didn’t see IT before I was told in the second big break in this novel. I really like it that the author also included Libby’s own thoughts and theories and suspicions, making the character really think for herself and cleverly showing all the possibilities there are and so creating very subtly the seeds of suspicion. If you’re like me, all you’ll probably do is nod your head and think that’s exactly what I was thinking. Well you’re going to do a double-take when you find out how this plotline is going to develop. That’s a promise I make :-).
The prologue of the novel alone is to die for. It’s not even a page long but raises soooo many questions and is a brilliant set up for the rest of this novel! A lifeless body, a woman standing over him, one question on her lips, was she seen killing her husband?
All through the first part of the novel, when Libby and James are in Cornwall enjoying a little in promptu vacation after a few tumultuous weeks, I was wondering what could have happened to this couple to have brought this on, I kept going back to that prologue in my head. They are so wonderful and happy together and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine what could make Libby kill her husband. How well do you really know a person though? Who’s keeping secrets? Libby sees strange things in Cornwall… is someone really taking pictures of her husband? Who’s standing in the back yard of the holiday cottage? When they get back home the situation escalates even further. Could I keep on denying that the ever so friendly and kind James had some (dirty little) secrets? Libby doesn’t want to believe he did anything wrong but puuuhlease ;-). Argh Ms. Douglas sets the stage and she’ll go in for the cut in part 2 and 3. I had the whole situation judged and catalogued and I was finding myself out of my depth suddenly with the major turn of events.
Well the second part of the novel, where Libby revisits her past at the age of 21 and right before she met James, shows she has some secrets of her own. I already knew she had some bad memories about her trip to Thailand but didn’t realise it ran so deep. Secrets I didn’t come to expect from this teacher, someone who seems to be born to teach children. The twist is really well done!
The third part is confession time in the present, time to get all the secrets out on the table and she’s going to have to spill it all to the police when the body in the back yard is discovered. There’s lots more fun to come when they try to make Libby confess and she has to come clean about everything. I really appreciate the amazing plotting Ms. Douglas has done. I seriously love this author! The only downside is that this is one of those books that you’ll always remember the twist of ;-).
Without any doubt, I highly recommend reading this one and I think you’ll see it on my favorite list of this year! I already look forward to the next novel!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher, Penguin Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.