Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for Last Lullaby, the latest Natalie Ward thriller from Carol Wyer. A huge thank you to Carol and Kim Nash of Bookouture for providing a very early read of this book. I love Carol’s work so it’s always a privilege to be invited to review. Here is what it’s about.
About the Book
Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?
When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.
As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.
Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’scrawled on the wall next to her.
All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.
When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?
Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will send shivers down your spine. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.
Oooohhh. This book is good. I really enjoyed The Birthday, the first book in the series which takes readers on a notably darker path than we are perhaps used to from Carol. With Last Lullaby we are again faced with a very dark and complex case, one which grasps your attention from the very start and, if you are at all like me, will have you racing through it in a matter of hours, unable to put the book down until you are finished.
At the very start of the novel we are introduced to Charlotte Brannon, a young mother who has just spent a rather tense evening with her husband, Adam, helping her parents to celebrate their anniversary. Well, this is certainly one anniversary they won’t forget. Within hours of arriving home, Charlotte is dead, the victim of a very brutal attack. Adam is the number one suspect, his alibi just not quite ringing true to Natalie Ward and her team. When another woman is murdered who has links to Adam and his boxing club, the finger of suspicion jabs once more in his direction. Can Natalie break the alibi, and if she does will she prove Adam guilty or innocent?
What I loved about this book is that from the very beginning you can feel the tension, and the frustration levels, rising. Carol Wyer has done a brilliant job of keeping the reader on the hook, the opening scene between Charlotte and Adam, showing us a marriage which is far from harmonious but showing us what caring and loving mother Charlotte is. The love for her son, Alfie, radiates from the page and you know she would do anything for him. It is noise from his baby monitor which wakes her, sounds which shouldn’t be there and which will be some of the last ones she will hear. Right up to the end of the chapter you can feel the edginess, the fear starting to set in, the scene cutting out at the very moment that the reader’s heart will be pounding …
And there are so many more moments like that littered throughout the novel. Carol Wyer has a real skill in creating that tension and the mystery that a novel such as this one requires. In truth, although suspicious of Adam, there are no end of suspects in Charlotte’s murder and very quickly we learn not to take everything at face value. How much of what we are shown is a red herring, how much jealousy and how much down right lies, you will need to read to find out, but hidden deep down, amongst everything you will read, is the truth. The very soul of a dangerous and disturbed individual bleeding out from the page, just like the blood they let flow from their victims.
I love the character of Natalie Ward. She is a wife and mother, her home life not entirely stable, and yet she remains equally as dedicated to her family as she is to her job. She has a focused and a no nonsense approach which I enjoy to read and it is nice to see a character who can just be left to investigate and not get bogged down by an over eager journalist or a boss who hates her. And why would they? She is really easy to like; by no means perfect, but a good leader and one for whom her team has a great respect. And what a team they are too. Whilst Murray Anderson and Ian Jarvis do play a key role in the book, Ian especially towards the end of the story, I think it is really Lucy Carmichael who sits front and centre alongside Natalie on this case.
Lucy has really taken the case to heart, determined to break the alibi of Adam and his best friend Lee, and you can feel her determination pushing through and her frustration as her attempts to crack the case are thwarted. She is driven by a kind of personal anxiety, certain elements of the case striking a chord with her. She is concerned about becoming a mother, her partner Bethany pregnant with their first child. Carol Wyer has done a brilliant job of capturing the way in which Lucy is facing all of her fears – that she won’t bond with the child, that she will be a terrible parent – and feeding them into the story seamlessly. Despite her fears, you know Lucy will make a brilliant, if potentially strict, parent and her relationship with Bethany is a joy to read. They really work well together, one of the few actually harmonious relationships in the whole book to be fair.
This book really has a little bit of everything. Great characters that you can get behind or rally against. Misdirection in almost every scene that will have you suspecting one person, only to have you second guessing yourself after a few page turns and thinking it is someone else entirely. There are heart stopping scenes (literally for the victims) which will have you on the edge of your seat and quiet moments of reflection in which the simpler, and yet still complicated, family lives of our detecting team are brought into focus. There are also scenes which may seem a little cryptic at first, but as you read on you come to realise who is speaking and the meaning becomes oh so clear, the menace oozing from the narrative, making the skin crawl. It really is a perfect mix.
Tense, fast paced and totally engrossing, this is a book that will exasperate you, thrill you, chill you and truly test your detecting skills as you strive to pinpoint whodunnit. I loved Last Lullaby. I have to say that this series is shaping up to be one heck of a killer read and I am relieved to hear that book three is well on its way as I cannot wait to read more.
If you’d like a copy of Last Lullaby for yourself, it’s available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Carol E. Wyer, who also writes as Carol Wyer, is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers.
Her book, Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
The DI Robyn Carter series has earned her acclaim as a crime writer and the first book in the series, Little Girl Lost, shot to the #2 best-selling spot on Kindle #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and was also a USA Today top 150 best-seller.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.
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