The Last Party is the new novel by Clare Mackintosh, which was published recently. Regular readers of my book reviews will know that Clare Mackintosh is one of my favourite authors, so I was very keen to read it. I refuse to buy full price hardbacks, which can be a problem when I book comes out that I really want to read. Sainsbury’s often comes up trumps for me, but it didn’t have The Last Party. Luckily I saw someone share a pic of a copy they’d picked up in Asda on social media. And I happened to spot an Asda while I was out at an athletics competition the other day. So I got my copy of The Last Party!
The Last Party is the first novel in a detective series by Clare Mackintosh. I love a detective series, like the Erika Foster books by Robert Bryndza, The Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman and the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson.
Set in north Wales, right on the border of England, the villagers of Cwm Coed aren’t happy about the development of luxury holiday homes on the English side of the lake. The homes were developed by Rhys Lloyd, a local lad who went on to become rich and famous. On New Year’s Eve, the holiday home owners throw a big party and the villagers are all invited.
Before midnight, Rhys Lloyd is dead.
DC Ffion Morgan lives in Cwm Coed with her mum and sister. As it isn’t clear whether the case belongs to the English side or the Welsh side, she investigates the murder jointly with DC Leo Brady of Cheshire police, an arrangement which initially causes friction.
It soon becomes clear that everyone at the party has a motive for killing Rhys Lloyd and they are all suspects.
Ffion and Leo, like all great fictional detectives, have their own issues to deal with too. Having grown up surrounded by everyone involved in the investigation, can Ffion really remain impartial?
The story is told from the points of view of a large number of characters. Each entry has a date, as it isn’t entirely chronological. While the chapters about the investigation are in order, they are interspersed with chapters from before the party. Some aspects of the story are told from different points of view. There are so many twists, I don’t think anyone would see them all coming.
I loved The Last Party right from the start. I’ve read a lot of good books this year, but it usually takes me 50 to 100 pages before I’m hooked. But everything about it made me want to read and read – from the storyline to the setting to the wonderful characters. I’ve also moaned in the past about books with clunky dialogue, but the dialogue in The Last Party is spot-on – from the bullying workplace ‘banter’ to the swearing and the way characters speak in half sentences. Because in real life we don’t recap every time we speak – the people we are speaking to know what we are talking about. With a book, the reader just needs to stay alert and work it all out, without being spoonfed all the context in clunky dialogue.
I love all of Clare Mackintosh’s books, but to me this is her best since the stunning I Let You Go. If you enjoy a detective story – or if you’ve ever been tempted to try one – I would definitely recommend The Last Party. I’m looking forward to DC Ffion Morgan’s next case already!