LAST TIME I SAW YOU
Publisher: HarperCollins (May, 2019)
Kindle edition: $12.99
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Dr. Kate English has led a privileged life. Her wealthy parents, leaders in Baltimore society, have given her the best of everything, including love and security. She has a thriving medical practice, a successful husband, and an adorable daughter.
Blaire Barrington’s childhood was very different. Her mother deserted the family when Blaire was young. Her father married a woman who the troubled girl could not stand. Lily and Harrington English were her lifesavers. Blaire and Kate attended the same exclusive school and the girls quickly became best friends forever. Kate’s parents took her in for holidays, finally bringing her into their life as a member of the family. That closeness was shattered on Kate’s wedding day, when Blaire tried to convince her not to marry Simon.
Their estrangement has lasted for years. Each regretted it from time to time, but neither would make the first move. That all ended when Lily was brutally murdered. Kate reached out to Blaire, who rushed to her side to help her through the funeral and the days and weeks after. Simon has still not forgiven her for trying to break up the wedding, but she brushes him aside and takes over. Harrington, her father in all but blood, welcomes her with open arms, relieved to let her help with all the details of the funeral and wake.
The police begin their investigation immediately, with one of the top detectives in charge. The working theory is a robbery gone wrong. A window had been broken to allow entry, and a diamond bracelet is missing from Lily’s wrist. That night, Kate receives a threatening text from an anonymous source, and she sees that the nightmare has only begun.
Investigating Lily’s murder, the detectives look first, of course, at her husband, but Dr. English was at the hospital performing surgery. Whenever a great deal of money is involved, those who stand to benefit come under close scrutiny. Son-in-law Simon has a solid alibi; Kate was nowhere near her parents’ home.
Increasingly violent threats continue to arrive, but the police are unable to trace the sender. Things escalate when terrifying messages are found inside the house. Detective Anderson and his team widen the search, but progress is slow. Blaire steps in and goes beyond what is legally acceptable, bullying and stalking possible killers and victims, generally making a nuisance of herself, all in the name of protecting her best friend.
Odd things start to happen. Blaire finds untended lit candles by Kate’s bathtub and convinces her that she had forgotten to put them out. Small items go missing, or show up in unexpected places. When medicine is left where her daughter could reach them, Kate accuses Annabelle’s beloved nanny of endangering the girl’s life. Her marriage was already strained, and she accuses Simon of infidelity. She stops eating, stops sleeping, shuts herself away in her room. She begins to wonder who she can trust, who in her inner circle could wish her harm.
Years ago, Kate’s high school sweetheart was killed in an accident she felt partly responsible for, and she had totally broken down. She spent some time in a mental health facility, and was in therapy for quite a while. Now her loved ones can see her following that same downward path.
Liv Constantine, the pen name for sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine, has produced another blockbuster novel of psychological suspense, following the international bestseller THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. Kate is a strong, resilient woman, but her tormentor knows all her weak points and how to exploit them. Each character has some secret, some hidden motive. All are linked in some way, whether by blood, business, or social connections. The intricate, tight plot leads the reader on a merry path in trying to identify the guilty party. Prepare to devour this thriller in one page-turning sitting. Highly recommended.
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