The Last One To See Her by Mark Tilbury

Today it is my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for The Last One To See Her, the latest thriller from author Mark Tilbury. It’s a dark and twisted tale, that’s for sure, and my thanks go to the author for inviting me to be part of the tour. Here’s what the book is about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

He says he is innocent. So why did he lie?

Mathew Hillock was the last person to see eleven-year-old Jodie Willis alive. When her dead body turns up four days later in his garden shed, the police think he’s guilty of her murder. So do most people in the town. But there’s no DNA evidence to link him to the crime.  

Battling the weight of public opinion and mental illness due to a childhood head trauma, he sinks into a deep depression.

Can Mathew do what the police failed to do and find evidence linking the real killer to the crime? The Last One to See Her is a terrifying story of what happens when you’re accused of a crime and no one believes you are innocent.

Available from: Amazon

My Thoughts

If you come to a Mark Tilbury book looking for cosy crime, you come to the wrong place. These books are tinged with darkness and whilst this is not the blackest of reads, it is still a story that will get under your skin. This is the story or poor Jodie Willis, an eleven year old girl who goes missing while running an errand for her mother, and of Mathew Hillock, the young man who was one of the last people to see her, and the one accused of being responsible for her disappearance. The story opens in dramatic fashion, and from there on in it is a blend of emotion, mystery and chills as we traverse the world of Mathew and those around him as they strive to find out what happened to poor Jodie.

I have read a number of Mark Tilbury’s books and what they all have in common, aside from a story which grips you very quickly and keeps you glued to the page, is the fact they have have very strong and very diverse characters, In this book, the main protagonist is Mathew, a young man with mental health and developmental issues. It is clear from the outset that there is something different about Mathew, something that makes him a natural suspect and although we don’t know what or why to being with, the more we read, the more we learn. Mark Tilbury has developed him in a very sympathetic and understanding way, whilst also highlighting the many prejudices that someone with Mathew’s condition have to face.

One such character guilty of this prejudice is the police’s other main suspect – Jim Bentley. He is as objectionable a character as you could ever hope not to meet and doesn’t seem to have a single redeeming quality. He is one of those characters you love to hate, driven by drugs and depravity and his actions throughout the book will likely shock. I can honestly say there wasn’t a single thing to like about him as a character and you could easliy picture him as being guilty.

Mathew has a very simple view on life, struggles to understand its complexities, and the fact that a large portion of the story is told from his pint of view, makes the way in which the readers experience the story very different too, and I liked the narrative techniques that the author chose to use in order for Mathew to puzzle things out in his head. It makes his voice and his part in the story quite distinct from the other characters such as Bentley and Jodie’s mother, Alison, when they take over the narrative perspective. Mathews is a very childlike perspective, compared to Bentley’s anger and Alison’s fear, but all three work well together to drive the story onward.

There is one other element to the story, one where we get a clearer picture of the person behind the abduction of Jodie and those passages are quite chilling in the casual tone which they display. The bad guy is hidden in plain sight in this book, and although suspicion may move from one person to another, it is never really clear who is behind it. Thankfully, although the implications of what happens to Jodie are very clear, they are kept largely off the page. There are scenes which may still upset people, particularly as Mathew battles with his own problems, but nothing is dealt with in a gratuitous way. There are links back into another of the author’s novels that eagle eyed readers may spot, and it makes me very glad I don’t live in a neighbourhood like this one. At least … I don’t think I do …

Another cracking read that fans of the author are going to love.

About the Author

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. 

After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. 

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books. His latest novel, The Last One To See Her will be published 4th June 2020.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.

Author links: Twitter | Website

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