The Last Party (DC Morgan, #1), by Clare Mackintosh

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once more, a novel that wasn’t bad – but not really good either. The simplistic plot, the huge cast, jumping around in time, many different points of views and the many clichés don’t help either.

Let’s start with a plot: A rich guy, Rhys, whose career was on a downward spiral was murdered. Since he created a rich-people settlement in rural Wales, pretty much everyone from the nearby village hated him and two police detectives, Ffion and Leo, investigate the murder. That’s something we’ve read countless times. Nothing about the plot is new. Not a single aspect.

As for the cast: We have the afore-mentioned village and every single villager has a reason to hate and kill our victim. From the postwoman up to and including Ffion herself. Then there are the other rich people who also all have pretty good reasons for offing the victim.

Many of these people are also rather superficially presented: There’s the sexy social media influencer, the laid-back boxer-gone-actor, the teenage mother, the juvenile offender, the tough-grim nature-loving hermit/witch-doctor, the husband left behind who wants his wife back and many others. Almost all of them weren’t well-developed and distinctive enough to make me care much about them or their stories. (Ffion being an exception here…)

All in all, we get to know at least 20 people and most of them get a chapter or two to present how Rhys wronged them and after about ten of these chapters I was starting to think this was going to be an “Orient Express” scenario. Rhys has pretty much no redeeming qualities and why someone didn’t kill him much earlier mystified me more than the actual mystery…

All these points of view are also mostly told going backwards in time. (Unless we jump forward but have to figure that out on our own…). The murder occurred during New Year’s Eve and we’re going backwards to June (maybe in the same year? Not sure…) and then again forwards to June (the following year)…

Among all this jumping around in time and space, about every other chapter is actually about our detectives trying to figure things out but their actual work gets mostly lost in between all the other points of view and the resulting tons of red herrings. I had a hard time following the investigation amidst all the other elements.

Since pretty much none of those people are very interesting and things move along so slowly, there’s only one point in the novel at which things actually get dramatic and interesting and that’s a certain scene at night, during a storm on the lake – that (and what ensued) was the one moment in the novel that things actually became a bit suspenseful at least. That we don’t even get to know in the end what becomes of the culprit doesn’t even really matter anymore at that point…

All in all, this was seriously average but at least I now know another series I won’t pursue any further.

Three stars out of five.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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