Title: Last Light
Author: Helen Phifer
Publication Date: 16th November 2018
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
In charge of a new team, Detective Lucy Harwin is called out to attend the discovery of a woman’s body in an abandoned, crumbling church, and is quickly plunged into a case that will test her leadership skills to the limit.
With no leads except the crudely-fashioned crucifix the victim was displayed on, Lucy is at a complete loss. That is, until another body turns up: an elderly woman who devoted her life to the church.
Faced with a killer stalking the streets of her small coastal town, while also throwing herself into work to forget the love of her life, Lucy’s first case is turning into a nightmare.
Linking the killer to the church where her own teenage daughter volunteers, it seems the threat is quickly drawing closer to Lucy and those she loves. Can she catch this monster and prevent a tragedy that will tear her world apart?
What I Thought:
I last read a Helen Phifer book back in November 2017 when I took part in the blog blast for the second book in this series. Last Light came out in November 2018 and I’ve been remiss in not reading it until now!
One important point to note, although it’s the third book in the series Last Light is actually the first chronologically. There were a few references to the fact this was the first case Lucy has investigated as a DI and it was confusing as I’d already read two books where she was investigating as a DI, it wasn’t until I reached the end and saw the author’s note that I saw any mention of it being a prequel.
Now that that minor moan is out of the way on to the good bits, and there were plenty of good bits! The story starts with a rather grim discovery of a woman with her throat slit hanging upside down on a makeshift crucifix. Pressure mounts on Lucy to discover the killer as another body is found and things begin to hit a little bit close to home…
This story had me hooked from this grim start until the very end, the plot is well paced, there is plenty of information in the story to not feel cheated by the outcome, but the book feels neither rushed or as though it drags on. One of my favourite parts of the story was the inclusion of the throwback chapters telling the story of a young boy growing up in an abusive home. You just know he’s the killer, the challenge is trying to work out which of the present day characters you meet is that little boy! I’ve read a couple of books recently that have used this technique and I really like it. Perhaps it’s the psychology student in me, but I like discovering what has happened to make a person act in the way they do, and crime novels like this which tell the story of the murderer as well as the police investigation to find them fascinate me.
In both the previous books I really enjoyed Lucy’s character and although this was stepping back in time it was no different, I like that she’s committed to her job, even if sometimes this leads her to making some questionable decisions. I must admit I did miss DS Mattie Jackson, I grew fond of him in the first two books and he spends most of this one on holiday, that said DS Browning features more heavily in this story and he definitely grew on me!
I do think the book would have benefitted from making it clearer from the outset that this was a prequel, although if you’re brand new to the Lucy Harwin series this wouldn’t be an issue. That said I really enjoyed the story and read it in under 24 hours, I always enjoy following Lucy through a case so I’m hoping this isn’t the last of the Lucy books from Helen, although I know she has a new series due out this summer which I’m looking forward to.
About The Author
Helen Phifer is the #1 Bestselling crime and horror novelist of the Annie Graham and Lucy Harwin series. Helen lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children. She has lived in the same town since she was born. It gets some bad press, but it really is a lovely place to live. Surrounded by miles of coastline and not too far away from the beautiful Lake District, where she likes to visit as often as possible. She has always loved writing and reading since the days she learnt how to in infant school. She loves reading books that make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end and make her afraid to go to the toilet, alone in the middle of the night. She is eternally grateful to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Graham Masterton for scaring her senseless in her teenage years. Unable to find enough of the scary stories she loves to read, she decided to write her own.
Connect With Helen
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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?