Dr Kate Phillips is a psychologist who works with the Irish Police force assisting by providing profiles of suspects. If you like Criminal Minds, this series is so much better!
The introduction grabs you by the throat as it details a teenage girl giving birth to her baby in the wood. What happens within the first three pages is haunting and sets the chilling scene for the rest of the book.
In the present day an art dealer is found dead, brutally stabbed to death in a hotel room, his body arranged to mirror the Hangman from the tarot cards. Detective Mark Lynch is revelling in his position in charge when he calls Kate in to help out and she begins reading the crime scene examining it for insights into the killer’s mind.
I love Louise Phillips writing which switches between characters; we hear from a married woman devastated to find evidence on her husband’s computer which indicates that he is having an affair. She seeks the assistance of her close friends but becomes more afraid when items in her house are moved about. Kate Pearson gives us updates on the progression of the investigation while the killer is also allowed a voice which gives the reader clues about their identity but also the opportunity to see how good Kate is at her job.
In this book we have the contrast in life between rural Ireland, the more cosmopolitan Dublin and then the continent where Kate and DI O’Connor fly off to Paris to examine the death of a man involved in S&M. The distinction between the opulence of the dead man’s hotel room vying with that first scene as well as the artistic devices used by the killer to capture the right image both of herself and her victim are powerful in bringing the visual aspect to the written word.
I loved both the previous books in this series Red Ribbons and The Doll’s House and this book easily matches these two, and maybe even surpasses them in terms of the depth and complexity of the plot. This is a dark book with the inclusion of the S&M and Tarot cards so that when the killer and their motives are unmasked, it left me with a feeling of profound sadness, as if this were all somehow more than just fiction.
A big thank you to Louise Phillips for my copy of this book which was delivered to me via her publisher, Hachette, in return for my honest review. If this sounds like something you would enjoy it is released on 7 August 2014 – yes today!
Louise Phillips On Her Inspiration for Last Kiss
‘On a cold January day in 1984, Ann Lovett, aged fifteen, having started labour, took a detour to the local graveyard instead of returning to school. She laboured for hours in the rain. Ann and her baby died that day. Last Kiss is not the story of Ann Lovett or her son. Nonetheless the story stayed with me. A question arose in my mind. What would happen if a baby survived the death of their mother and in the context of this fictional story was reared by someone evil?
In writing Last Kiss, the theme of nature versus nurture, good versus evil, fascinated me. The fictional killer I created pushed my boundaries as a writer, and I hope you agree it was a story worth telling.’
Although I don’t think reading the series in order is necessary, this book would work perfectly well as a stand-alone, there is a story arc in relation to Kate Pearson and her private life as well as insight into the key Police Officers in charge that would enhance your enjoyment of this book.
Read my reviews of her debut novel, Red Ribbons and second in the series The Dolls House by clicking on the covers below.