Author: Liv Constantine
Title: The Last Time I Saw You
Publisher: Harper Collins
Plot: The internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish follows that success with an addictive novel filled with shocking twists about the aftermath of a brutal high-society murder.
Dr. Kate English has it all. Not only is she the heiress to a large fortune; she has a gorgeous husband and daughter, a high-flying career, and a beautiful home anyone would envy.
But all that changes the night Kate’s mother, Lily, is found dead, brutally murdered in her own home. Heartbroken and distraught, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire Barrington, who rushes to her side for the funeral, where the years of distance between them are forgotten in a moment.
That evening, Kate’s grief turns to horror when she receives an anonymous text: You think you’re sad now, just wait. By the time I’m finished with you, you’ll wish you had been buried today. More than ever, Kate needs her old friend’s help.
Once Blaire decides to take the investigation into her own hands, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems in Baltimore high society. As infidelity, lies, and betrayals come to light, and tensions rise to a boiling point, she begins to alienate Kate’s friends and relatives with her relentless, accusatory questions, as she tries to find Lily’s killer. The murderer could be anyone—friend, neighbor, loved one. But whoever it is, it’s clear that Kate is next on their list…
I received The Last Time I Saw You from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Having devoured The Last Mrs Parrish, I jumped at the chance of reading Liv Constatine’s new book. While it doesn’t leave you gaping in quite the same way, it’s an intense, engaging and gripping read. I didn’t want to put it down, so definitely a good book!
After her mother is murdered, Kate realises her troubles have just begun as the killer starts threatening her. They can see into her house; they know what she is wearing; they can get into her daughter’s playroom. With a past history of anxiety, it doesn’t take Kate long to start to unravel, mistrusting everyone around her.
I felt for Kate. There are moments when the reader isn’t certain whether she could actually be cracking up. She’s going through something horrendous and you want someone to tell her it’s going to be okay. But Kate comes across as quite pretentious: she is used to wealth and doesn’t always treat others around her in a fair way: even before Kate’s paranoia starts, her attitude towards her daughter’s nanny was irritating – I’m surprised Hilda put up with her!
Blaire is an intriguing character. She was Kate’s best friend when they were children, but a fight on Kate’s wedding day left them estranged for years. Blaire puts the past aside and is determined to be there for her friend. Even with both women narrating, you’re left with no doubt that the estrangement is Kate’s fault and Blaire is being forgiving.
No matter what was going on in her home life, she could escape into the worlds she created. She loved being the one to control everything, to decide who lived and who died, who stayed and who left.
Other characters – Kate’s husband, Simon, her father, Harrison and the detective assigned the case, Anderson – have a presence but you’re not allowed to connect to them. Kate’s paranoia isolates her from those she loves and by not connecting with these characters, it’s difficult to try and work out who the guilty party is.
The narration is split between Kate and Blaire, and ‘unreliable narrators’ should be the strapline of this book. Kate’s past starts to reveal itself – the loss of her fiancé in an accident, her anxiety and delusions she suffered as a result – makes you wonder if her paranoia is grounded in reality, or the stress of the situation.
There were times when the narration jumps back in time for extended paragraphs at once. It worked to add the backstory to the women and their past friendship, but it did slow the pace down at moments when things were tense. Perhaps just another device to keep you guessing at what is going on?
I’m trying to be so careful with how I write this review because this book left me guessing and events did not unfold the way I expected. It made it a tense and exciting read: nothing is quite adding up but there aren’t enough clues to figure out what’s going on.
Full of twists and surprises, this is a novel for anyone who likes to be kept guessing. The world these characters live in is so different from our own that it’s fun to get a glimpse at the wealthy! A definite recommendation!