The Last Time She Died by Zoë Sharp

Today I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Last Time She Died, the brand new novel from Zoë Sharp. I love the author’s Charlie Fox and her McColl and Weston books and so hearing a new series was on the way with Bookouture made me very happy. My thanks to the publisher for the early copy for review and for including me on the tour. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 20 October 2021
Publisher: Bookouture

About the Book

She came back on the day of her father’s funeral, ten years after she vanished. But she can’t be who she says she is…

When Blake disappeared as a teenager, on a cold dark night, her father never reported her missing. She is presumed dead.

Now, ten years later, a young woman with white-blonde hair sits comfortably in the family living room and smiles at the shocked faces around her.

“Don’t you recognise me?” she says. “I’m Blake.”

Detective John Byron isn’t sure whether she’s telling the truth. But as he investigates, he soon realises no one is happy to see her.

And the people who should be welcoming her back with open arms know she can’t be Blake. Because they killed her the night she vanished…

Didn’t they?

From the bestselling author of the Charlie Fox books, The Last Time She Died will have you gripped until the last mind-blowing page. Fans of Cara Hunter, Kendra Elliot and Rachel Abbott will love this action-packed crime thriller.

My Thoughts

If you are looking for a story packed with mystery, suspicion, tension and a whole host of brilliant characters, then you need look no further. Combining all the best elements of Zoë Sharp’s writing with a tale that is most definitely topical and anger inducing, The Last Time She Died is the start of a series I hope we are going to see plenty of in the future.

The book introduces us to Detective Superintendent John Byron, a man who has more than his fair share of secrets and demons to cope with. On a kind of sabbatical from the Met police, the reasons for which are slowly revealed throughout the course of the novel. As he is on leave he is dispatched on an unofficial investigation into the death of a former MP in a traffic accident. But nothing is every straightforward in Zoë Sharp’s fictional lands and what should be a simple fact finding mission, soon becomes far more complicated, and potentially deadly, than anyone expects. Enter stage left, or from the shadows of the churchyard at the very least, Blake, a young woman whose presence is about to set off a very unexpected chain of events.

The opening to this book really sets off the tone, and gives readers something of a clue as to what is to come. Byron and Blake between them seek to uncover a well hidden and very dark truth. There is an undulating tension that runs through the novel, and not just because of the very clear threat to Blake. There is a real chemistry between the pair and although trust is not something that comes easily to Blake, and often they find themselves on opposite sides of the investigation, they make a brilliant and formidable team.

I really liked them both. The more we learn about Byron, the more his quirks, his reticence about his job, is understandable. As for Blake … well there are very clear reasons not to entirely trust her which are apparent as you read the book, but there is something about her conviction that really brings you on side. It’s one of the author’s real strengths, quickly establishing that bond between reader and her principal characters in a way which makes you want to go on that journey with them. And I’m excited for what is to come in future novels, as I think they are going to be a really fun pair to follow.

There is a dark side to this story, the theme of abuse, but it is handled in a delicate and non sensational way. It is a vehicle to drive the central thread of the story, but it is not the whole story. This book is about trust, betrayal, loyalty, family and so much more. It is police based crime fiction, but tipped on a slight angle and it works brilliantly. Full of misdirection, just when you think you have a handle on the story, the author throws a complete curveball and makes you reassess it all. It will keep you guessing to the end, and although you will uncover some of the. truths quite quickly, so much will still take you by surprise.

Fast paced, and with perfectly pitched humour throughout, I can’t wait for the next book.

About the Author

Zoë ​Sharp opted out of mainstream education at the age of 12 and wrote her first novel at 15. She went through a variety of strange professions before becoming a photojournalist in 1988. It was after receiving death threats in the course of her work that she started writing the first of her award-winning crime thriller series featuring Special Forces dropout-turned-bodyguard, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox, which has been optioned for film/TV.

When not travelling, crewing yachts, riding motorcycles or improvising everyday objects for self-defence purposes, she can be found renovating houses or international pet-sitting. Find out more and sign up for her VIP list on her website.

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