Title: Last Seen
Author: Lucy Clarke
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
In a small seaside community, there’s always somebody watching…
Twisty, pacy, and superbly plotted, Last Seen is the perfect psychological page-turner for fans of Clare Mackintosh and Sabine Durrant.
Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.
Last Seen is a clever, gripping novel which kept me guessing throughout.
The characters are, at times, quite annoying – both Sarah, whose perspective we read most of the novel as, and her best friend Isla, have their irritating habits. As the novel continues we learn neither are perfect, which I quite liked – I am a fan of reading about flawed characters and often find these are far more realistic and convincing than those character who are clearly just ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to ruin it or alert readers to any potential surprises but I will say that I didn’t guess the ending at all, which is always fun, and loved the twisty nature of the characters, as Sarah wonders who is being truthful and who may be hiding something. Some parts are a little slower, and focus on the relationship between Sarah, Isla and Nick and their sons too, and I felt this made up more of the book rather than ‘thriller’-style action or suspense. However there was a definite underlying sense of danger and of the unknown, as we the readers have no idea where Jacob’s actually gone, and if he’s even still alive.
Last Seen is definitely not a ‘thriller’ as such; it’s more of an exploration into family dynamics and the way one mistake – like not paying enough attention to kids at the beach – can change everything.