Lucy and her team are asked to look into the case of Michael Manning, who along with his brother Dicky, were sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Lily Martin and her family. Although both admitted to the murders, questions have been raised about the validity of the confessions. Did they really commit those murders 29 years ago? If not why did they admit that they did, and who is the real killer?
Last Light is the first book in the Beacon Falls series but is the seventh book to feature Lucy Guardino. The books can be read in any order and Last Light was my introduction to Lucy.
It had a lovely (in my opinion) closed town, claustrophobic feel to the novel, in part because of the setting (a small town in Texas), and also because the pool of characters involved in the story was small. There was little narrative that included extras (locals or people to fill up the locations but who had no involvement in the story for example), that gave the setting an almost ghost town like feel. The fact that the story centred on a cold case, which of themselves lend to secrets being guarded and the past being protected, also added to the sense of isolation that Lucy, TK and David encounter.
The characters all of the potential to have an interesting backstory and to contribute different aspects to the series. In this book the story focuses mainly on Lucy, TK and David, each of which bring a different skills set and perspective to the case. TJ is prickly, trusts no one and automatically thinks that the worst will happen, perhaps because of experience, which is hinted at throughout the novel. David too has his own troubles to bear. Involved in a terrible accident whilst overseas, he suffered a brain injury that leaves him unable to express emotion verbally but leaves him more attuned to the emotions and non verbal communication of others. This case also has a personal connection for him which could colour his judgement. Lucy is also suffering the after effects of a vicious mauling that has left her with severe damage to her leg, and led to her having to leave her beloved role in the FBI and accept a civilian job with the Beacon Group. This shift from law enforcement to civilian is the aspect that Lucy most struggles with, and the case in Last Light sees her take the first steps in adjusting to this new role.
I did reach one stage of the book where I felt it was perhaps becoming a bit too predictable and because I was getting the urge to speed read I contemplated stopping reading. There were also some aspects that seemed to be skimmed over and would have possibly benefitted from going into in more depth. However, I didn’t and continued to read at normal pace and what I read was an entertaining crime novel. The mystery aspect of the story itself was engaging. Some strands I anticipated before the reveal, the others adding layers to the story to cement suspicions raised throughout.
Last Light is an entertaining and enjoyable thriller and is an good opening to a new crime series with an interesting premise. I am looking forward to reading more in the Beacon Falls series.
My thanks to the publishers for my review copy.