The Last Party - Clare Mackintosh

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley

Official Blurb:

On New Year's Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.
His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he's generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.
But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year's Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.
The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family - and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.
With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn't who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.
In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.

My Thoughts:

I have loved all of Mackintosh’s books in the past, and she doesn’t bring a new one out that often so I waited until I could really savour this.
I was a little disappointed when I first started reading, though, as it didn’t have her usual writing style, and it wasn’t gripping me. So I returned to Netgalley to read some of the others’ reviews. A few of them felt the same as I did that it was a slow start. However, once I realised that this was the start of a new crime series, so it wasn’t her usual psych thriller, I changed my expectations and settled into it.
Once we started to get to know Leo and Ffion a little better, I began to feel invested in the book, but it did take some time to get there, probably about 50% of the way in until I sat up and started to take an interest. I ended up really liking the characters, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the book since I finished it; I always take that as a good sign of a book I’ve enjoyed! I am definitely looking forward to the next in the series.
The Welsh side of things was a bit full-on. I’m from Chester and have never found North Wales to be that heavily Welsh, whereas I went to uni in the middle of Wales (Lampeter) and did find the prejudices quite hard to come to terms with there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Welsh names in one place as I did in this book. My auntie is Welsh, so I have a Nerys and Emlyn as cousins, but the names and places in this book were sometimes a bit of a tongue twister.
The book was very well interwoven with everyone’s points of view and the piecing together of the timeline. I loved the little overlaps from one perspective to another; it was all very cleverly executed. I had no idea how the murder of Rhys would pan out, and it was a shocker when we finally reached the conclusion.
The end of the book did drag a little; I’m all for wanting a little bit more after the story has concluded, but I felt like it was four chapters too much. It was like the author wasn’t quite ready to leave the characters behind and just wanted a little more time with them, but by then, I just wanted to finish the book. I had my answers I was ready to move on.
So, overall this wasn’t what I expected, and it was a slow burn. However, once I started to feel invested in the characters, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would at the beginning. It didn’t feel like a Clare Mackintosh book, though, so I will continue to look forward to her next psych thriller.

The Last Party
by Clare Mackintosh
Date Started
20th July 2022
Date Finished
24th July 2022