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.
Review: At the beginning o the year I read my first Claire Douglas book, ‘The Sisters’. I was completely blown away and I didn’t think any of her other books could beat it. I was wrong. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Last Seen Alive – after some pestering – for review and it’s now firmly a book that sits on my “favourites” shelf on my bookcase. Only very, very, very, good books go on there – trust me! Last Seen Alive is about Libby and Jamie, a young couple who have had their fair share of shit but they get asked to do a house swap for a couple who need their flat to be near their daughter, who is currently ill in hospital. Libby and Jamie agree to the swap; the house they’re staying in in Cornwall is huge and a whole world away from their small flat so they embrace the house swap; both being in need of a holiday.
But they’re magical Cornish getaway starts turning sinister when Jamie gets poisoned, a man starts following them and clothing covered in blood starts showing up in the garden. They return home, thankful to be out of the house and back to normality – or are they? Things continue to happen long after they return home; money is stolen and accounts are opened in their name and parcels are being delivered that they never ordered. Then a man shows up dead in their garden. Who is it? Which one of their dark pasts is coming back to mess with them? And which one of them is lying?
I don’t know where to bloody start with this book. I was hooked from the first page; being familiar with Claire’s writing style from The Sisters, I knew I was going to get along with that aspect of the book. It’s incredibly easy to read, the flow is continuous and the language is made for extensively long reading periods in mind. All of that was top notch, pucker, job well done. But what got me is that at face value, this seemed like an eerie, kinda weird story where someone was telling some lies or had irritated someone else. Or maybe the people who’s house they were staying in weren’t entirely who they say they were? Something pretty standard Mystery / Thriller like that.
Nooooooooo. Holy crap, this book gets deep. Really, really deep in twists and turns and lies and deceit coming at you left, right and bloody centre. There was a moment where I was staring blankly at the page because I was so stunned with the twist I didn’t know or believe what I was reading! That never happens to me because (as I’ve said a bajillion times), I’ve read so many Thrillers, it takes a lot to shock me. I honestly don’t know how Claire kept up with her own story. At first the twist was a little confusing; but I think it was meant to be. It did take me a good chapter or 2 to actually get my head around what was going on and I love a book that makes you question your own sanity!
I think Claire’s forte with writing is her endings. I bloody loved the abrupt, questionable ending that makes you continue turning the pages to find out where the next chapter starts only to find it doesn’t. It’s so annoying and frustrating but I love it. It was very similar in style to The Sisters; both books I was left reeling because I don’t know what’s going to happen next (unless Claire writes a sequel) and it’s very much left a lot of questions unanswered and for you to think about after you put the book down. Claire has such a knack for writing Thriller; she encompasses what it takes for a book to be a true Thriller with all the elements you need.
This was the fastest book I’ve read probably all year and will definitely be in my top 10, top 5 books I’ve read in 2017. Which is a huge feat because this year for books has been incredible. I’ve not been completely and utterly and fully engrossed in a book to the point where I need to read it at ever spare second I have in a long time (probably since I read The Sisters actually!) This book is so exciting, so, so exciting; it takes hold and twists you and turns you until you have no idea who to believe, what to think or what on Earth might happen next. Because anything could. Claire knows what makes a good Thriller, she knows what keeps people holding on and Last Seen Alive has all of those elements. Cracking job Claire.