Wednesday 28 June 2017


Last Seen by Lucy Clarke

Ever since reading her debut The Sea Sisters (a Richard & Judy Book Club pick) back in 2013 I've been a fan of Lucy Clarke's novels, always eagerly anticipating the next one. With A Single Breath and Blue I travelled the world through Lucy's vivid description of the many exotic locations depicted within the pages. Each book was a completely different adventure, their only constant being the pull of the sea a the heart of stories. And never more so than in her latest book; Last Seen.

Sarah and Isla have been best friends since they were teenagers. Spending their summers in side-by side beach huts at the edge of the British shore they are inseparable growing up. Even when Isla goes travelling and Sarah stays home to make a life for herself the psychical distance between them doesn't lessen their friendship. And when Isla comes home pregnant at the same time that Sarah is expecting too, their shared experiences seem to bring them closer than ever.

Their sons are born close together and Jacob and Marley too grow up best friends. Until one faithful day at the seaside the then 10-year-old boys go out to play in the sea but only one returns to the beach. Marley was Isla's entire world and losing him breaks her. The seaside and beach huts that have been at the heart of all her happiness suddenly have the exact opposite effect and she distances herself from Sarah first mentally and eventually physically by moving to Chile.

However, when Jacob disappears seven years to the day of Marley's disappearance, Sarah's desperate search for her son stirs up old memories and secrets, and both she and Isla are forced to relive the terrible nightmares once more to uncover the truth of the boys' disappearances once and for all...

I am not normally a reader of missing person thrillers, but Lucy Clarke's name on the cover persuaded me to pick this one up and boy am I glad that I did. Last Seen was a constantly surprising and superbly plotted novel, which completely pulled me in with its multifaceted characters and intriguing developments. There was so much depth to this story and the quietly unravelling secrets of the beach hut community, that I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of reading this novel.

Sarah and Isla were fascinating characters; hugely flawed and incredibly realistic as they faced unfathomable grief and despair. No parent should ever have to go through what they had to go through. Twice. And while their journeys were difficult, raw and heart-wrenching, they were also strangely alluring as you couldn't help but wonder about the secrets lingering at the edges of the pages – and whether both women were telling the truth about what really happened to their sons.  

Last Seen was a hugely intriguing story that will keep the reader guessing until the very end about the carefully crafted mystery at its core as it's led by unreliable narrators and shocking secrets. Each of Lucy's novels is different from the one before, the pull of the sea and her beautifully descriptive writing being what connects one to the next. And even though I only just finished Last Seen, I already can't wait to discover what she'll surprise her readers with next.

Last Seen is published by HarperFiction tomorrow, 29 June 2017, and you can pre-order your copy from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

Connect with the author:


Twitter: @lucyclarkebooks

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