Today I’m delighted to share a 5 star review for Carol Wyer’s latest instalment in the D. I. Natalie Ward series, Last Lullaby. Fast paced, gripping, and an emotional roller coaster this baby will leave you clinging to the edge of your seat. Read it crime lovers, you won’t be disappointed!
Title: Last Lullaby
Author: Carol E. Wyer
Publication Date: December 7, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Murder Mystery
Themes: Family, Crime, Serial Killers, Work/ Life Balance
My Rating: 5/ 5
Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?
When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.
As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.
Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’ scrawled on the wall next to her.
All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.
When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?
Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will send shivers down your spine. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.
While I love the D. I. Robyn Carter series, I was over the moon when the chance came around to dive into another D. I. Natalie Ward thriller. I just can’t get enough of her dysfunctional family, gritty team, and the jumped up killers. I was immediately sucked back into the team dynamic, and while I loved every minute of it, it’s definitely one of those sequels that benefits from having read the first book in the series. There’s enough going on between Natalie and David that it helps to know the history, and the same goes for the life events of the team. But with that being said, Last Lullaby has never been presented as a standalone item, and the continuity from The Birthday is both comfortable and seamless.
The crimes that the narrative revolves around are absolutely abhorrent (in the best way posisble) with mothers murdered before their infant children, chilling messages written in the victims blood, and not a thread of discernible connection between them. The nature of the murders is heightened by the interspersed psychologists sessions, clearly from our killer’s point of view but entirely anonymous. The result of these glimpses was that while I was willing to acknowledge a terrible childhood as, shall we say mitigating circumstance, I couldn’t help but feel disdain rather than pity and not a spec of sympathy.
My ire was piqued further by Adam and Lee’s continued evasions of the investigation despite their shady pasts. Their actions exposed perfectly the fear of prejudices harboured by law enforcement and society against former convicts, as even those who are innocent are treated with the same suspicion and lack of respect as those who are still engaged in crime. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, while I love an entertaining story, I love them even more when fiction is used to cast a critical eye against pervasive societal issues.
The result of their evasions was an infuriating confusing and convoluted case with false leads, dead ends, and a revolving cast of suspects. I was constantly trying to make things line up, and yet my guesses were right. I shared the frustrations of the team, grew irritated with the layered lies, and wanted to take my rage out against some of the less savoury characters. And because of it, I also shared in their growing helplessness as each new victim joined the murder board – which consequently kept my pages turning at break neck speed.
Perhaps the only thing that I was left wanting more of was resolution with regards to Charlotte’s family plot. I wish I could say more, but can’t without dropping spoilers! All I can say is what about her sister’s finance? What about little Alfie? What about her parents? Perhaps it’s my love of neat, tidy endings but this story left me wanting more! But, I have to acknowledge that the lack of resolution is entirely fitting. I mean, how many detectives get to know how the families of their victims make out in the wake of their respective tragedies? How many families actually find closure after their cases are solved? The turmoil, mess, and lack of resolution was entirely fitting – if not unbearably saddening.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I loved the first book in this series, and the second even more so. I can’t wait for the next instalment to be released. Buy it, borrow it, gift if for Christmas – you won’t be disappointed!
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.