Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Book review - Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

Last Seen Alive
Claire Douglas

Pre-order here
Publication date: 13th July
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Woman's Fiction

She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.
But she can't hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby's worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what he did.

Thank you to Michael Joseph/Penguin and Netgalley for this ARC, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

A psychological thriller with a difference. Libby Hall is married to Jamie, they have a dog called Ziggy and Jamie has an over bearing Mother and a snooty sister. The Mother and Sister are very close to Jamie's ex Hannah. Libby feels that she is not good enough for Jamie in his family's eyes, but Jamie loves her, chose her and married her.
Things haven't been going great for Libby and Jamie recently. They have lost their much wanted baby and Jamie's business isn't going as well as it should. 

So when Libby returns home to their basement flat and finds a flyer offering them a house swap in Cornwall, they decide it is exactly what they need. Phillip Heywood and his wife Tara need a flat near to Bath's hospital as their daughter needs a heart operation and it would appear that Libby and James' flat fits the bill.

They drive down to Cornwall and are surprised and astounded to see the Heywood's property is a huge house set atop a cliff with steps leading to the beach. 
Then things start to happen that leave Libby feeling uneasy. She is wary of sharing her fears as Jamie's Mother is a firm believer in 'sharing' whilst Libby likes to keep her problems to herself. Libby has the feeling they are being watched and at a visit to a lighthouse she notices a man training his camera on Jamie, the same man later shoves into Jamie, which in turn knocks Libby over and leaves her rolling towards the cliff edge. The same man is then seen in the garden of the house watching them while they walk Ziggy on the beach.
After Jamie ends up seriously ill in hospital with food poisoning they decide to return to Bath. Philip Heywood has telephoned to say that their daughter has been discharged and they have returned to their home in London.

More and more strange events occur including items being delivered to the flat that they haven't ordered and a man knocking on the door asking for sex with Jamie!
Libby is totally unnerved, is someone from her past trying to scare her? Why would Philip and Tara Heywood have an issue with them? Could Jamie's ex Hannah be involved?

So many questions that nobody can answer and Libby is afraid. Jamie is the only person she has, but someone is clearly trying to make trouble.

I really enjoyed this book. It had many twists and turns and I must admit I reread some parts to get clear in  my head who was talking. The story is set now and in the past when Libby was travelling through Thailand.
Claire Douglas describes the characters well and I found myself loathing Jamie's sister Katie and his ex Hannah. Libby bats away their snide comments like a tennis pro!

I look forward to reading more from Claire Douglas.

Clare can be found on Twitter

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