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Book Review | The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

From the publisher: 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 neighbors. 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.

The Last Party was a ton of fun. Within the first few pages we meet two recently single people who had a one night stand on New Year’s Eve. They both used fake names, and they never expected to see each other again. We meet up with them again a few pages later when Ffion (a Welsh cop) and Leo (an English cop) are assigned to work together on the case of a dead body found at a New Year’s Day swim on the Welsh/English border. Talk about awkward!

Both Ffion and Leo are interesting characters with flaws, and I enjoyed their interactions immensely. There are a lot of characters in the book, but the author did a great job of allowing me to keep them straight. The timeline jumps all over the place, but I had no problem following what was happening when to who. The dead guy was not a nice guy, and everyone has a reason to kill him. So who did? There are a lot of revelations and twists and turns on the way to the book’s conclusion.

The victim was a local boy who had some fame as a singer and has now turned his historic land into high price vacation homes for the rich and famous. The people in the Welsh town across the lake resent him and the development. The author skewers influencer culture. Complicating the case is the fact that Ffion knows everyone, is related to a lot of them, and is keeping secrets. Leo on the other hand is dealing with racists comments from his boss and an ex-wife planning to move to Australia with their only child. There is so much going on in this book! Lots of moving parts but I thought the author did a masterful job of keeping me intrigued and involved. I do kind of wish I had listened to this book. There are a lot of Welsh names and words, and I’d like to have heard them pronounced.

Clare Mackintosh is turning out to be an author to watch for me. I also enjoyed her book Hostage from 2021. If you like cozy police procedurals (is that a thing?), I recommend The Last Party. The author is already working on a sequel. I will definitely be reading it.

I read an advance reader copy of The Last Party from Netgalley.

The Last Party is available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library in print and as an ebook.

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