HarperCollins | 2018 (27 December) | 357p | Review copy and bought copy | Buy the book
Claire Daniels could hardly be happier. She’s wealthy, living in a beautiful home and she’s married to a man she fell in love with at first sight and Alfie is still the man of her dreams. And she is the centre of his world. Claire needs only one thing more for her life to be complete – a child. Despite lots of fun trying, the results have all been negative and so it’s time now to seek medical advice. Alfie couldn’t be more supportive if he tried and Claire knows they’ll succeed.
If only Alfie didn’t hate Claire with every fibre of his being… Of course, Alfie has to hide this. He doesn’t want to lose access to her cash, after all. But he’s determined there will be no child. There can be no child. And so Alfie decides at last that he’s got to do something about it. Alfie is making plans for Claire.
I’m such a big fan of Alex Lake’s novels and, even though I’m not generally a lover of psychological novels, I am drawn to these books. He writes so well and knows how to fill his thrillers with page turning twists but, most of all, he creates people that I’m fascinated by – sometimes in a good way (as with Claire) but often in a deliciously bad way (as with Alfie). These people have such interesting and tortured lives, facing almost unbelievable situations, and we’re drawn into the uncertain tension of it all, longing to know how it will work out as secret upon secret, lie upon lie emerges.
Alex Lake’s books are page turners and The Last Lie is perhaps the biggest page turner of them all. In fact I read it in one sitting, staying with it until late into the night. The narrative moves between the perspectives of Claire and Alfie, their stories both complementing and conflicting with the other. It’s so well done and you can’t help getting all fired up as Claire fails to see what’s in front of her face. And Alfie is so arrogant and confident in his cruelty. His audacity is incredible to watch while we worry for Claire. Alfie digs us deeper and deeper into his dark mind. It’s a horrifying place to spend time but it’s also irresistible.
I loved the story at the heart of The Last Lie. There are elements that remind me of certain other best-known psychological thrillers (I’m not saying which on purpose) and, as a result, I did have a good idea how it was all going to develop. This didn’t mar my enjoyment one little bit as I really liked the ways in which it all comes together, not to mention its brilliant premise. It’s such a fun read.
The Last Lie is one of those rare books that compels you to finish it in one greedy gulp. I could not put it down. So, yet again, Alex Lake has shown me that I shouldn’t give up entirely on psychological thrillers. Now and again really excellent ones come along and, for me, The Last Lie is most definitely one of those.