Publication date: 24th June 2016
Last To Die had me reading by the seat of my pants. Take several deep breaths before you start this book because you’ll be holding the last one until you’ve finished.
From the initial introduction to ordinary school teacher’s day, to the horrendous interruption in her routine where intruders started to open fire indiscriminately, Jessie Conway draws strength from some miraculous place when all seemed lost. You’d think that this nightmarish episode would be enough plot line, but oh no, life has more hellish turns in store.
Despite being hailed a hero by the locals for her intervention on the day of the shooting, the personal fallout she suffers as a result is humongous. Jessie cannot shake the guilt, the flashbacks, or the bloodied yellow sundress of a colleague and cocoons herself indoors.
It doesn’t help that the local rag is determined to interview the most revered person in Rocksville, but Jessie refuses to play the game. So, what’s the next best thing to hearing the story from the source? A story about the source. A despicable newshound digs and digs until she uncovers what she wants about Saint Jessie’s past, which sets the town’s jungle drums beating and could well turn her in-laws against her.
With SO much turmoil you wouldn’t think there’s no room for any more – WRONG – the cruel hand of fate is relentless. Sandwiched between chapters of Jessie’s endeavours to salvage what’s left of her life after the vultures have picked it clean, is the Caleb Switch, your local sociopath and helpful helpline switchboard volunteer. He listens, he manipulates, and he evaluates the callers based on their strengths and weaknesses. The help line is more a gold mine to him, as he’s prospecting for elite targets hoping to find a hidden gem to pit his wits and skills against.
He’s practiced at the sport he invented and although everyone is fair game the greater the challenge they present, the more Caleb can put his warped abilities to the test. After the boredom of his last hunt, a celebrity who seems immune to life-and-death situations is just what he needs.
After its shocking opening pages, the book sets the scene before the next wave hits (and the next), so you get to know their traits and how you’d expect them the react in grim situations. And it’s the little things in desperate situations that only a few authors get completely right. Even though these ordinary fictional people were placed under extraordinary pressures, their actions were entirely plausible. They didn’t develop super human abilities, or make me feel like I wanted to repeatedly strike them (except for Sherriff Earl Dubray), and that ‘self-defence bra incident’ was quite superb.
You know something, I’m utterly ashamed to say I have not come across this author before. And THAT is a complete tragedy, as this is an astonishing thriller of mammoth proportions and I cannot praise it highly enough!
(Mahoosive thanks to the publisher for allowing me to download a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
When Jessie Conway survives a horrific mass high school shooting, in the aftermath she finds herself thrust into the media spotlight, drawing all kinds of attention. But some of it is the wrong kind.
Caleb Switch, a sadistic serial killer, has been watching her every move. A skilled hunter, he likes his victims to be a challenge. Jessie is strong, fearless, a survivor, and now… she is his ultimate prey.
As Caleb picks off his current victims one by one, chasing, killing and butchering them with his crossbow, he’s closing in on Jessie… But will Jessie defy the odds and escape with her life? Or will she be Caleb’s final sacrifice …
A clever, dangerously twisted thriller that will have fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter gripped until the very last page.
Praise for Last to Die:
‘A taut, sharp, gripping reimagining of the serial-killer novel.’ Tana French
(Previously published as ‘The Chosen’)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
Arlene Hunt is one of Ireland s most highly regarded crime writers. She has published 6 novels, including five in the popular Quick detective series. Undertow (2008) was nominated as Best Crime Novel in the 2009 Irish Book Awards. The Chosen is the first book set outside Ireland, taking place in the mountainous border region of Tennessee and North Carolina, United States. Arlene lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.