Tag Archives: .summer reading

Last Seen – Lucy Clarke

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Two boys missing. A seaside community with a dark secret at its heart…

Two little boys go missing out at sea – and only one is brought to shore.

For the boys’ mothers, best friends Sarah and Isla, the tragedy splinters a friendship. And The Sandbank – once an idyllic seaside haven – becomes a place of ghosts.

On the anniversary of the drowning, the other boy is missing. Parents Nick and Sarah try to quell their panic, but the Sandbank hums with tension as decade-old memories rise to the surface.

The truth lies in the past, like broken glass buried in the sand. Someone is hiding something – the question is, what did they see?

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It didn’t take long for me to get engrossed in this book. Last Seen is a rather good psychological mystery.

Sarah and Isla met when they were teenagers and quickly became friends. They dreamed of buying neighbouring beach huts on Longstone Sandbank, and spending long summers there. And they did. They also fell pregnant around the same time and gave birth to sons within days of each other. As adults they got to spend summers in their neighbouring beach huts and their sons were best friends. It all sounds very idyllic but tragedy strikes on Jacob’s 10th birthday. The boys went swimming in the sea and only one returned. Sarah’s son Jacob was saved and survived, Isla’s son drowned.

Then Jacob disappears on the night of his 17th birthday which is also the anniversary of Marley’s death. Sarah is distraught when he doesn’t come home especially since they had had an argument before he left the house to join his friends. His phone appears to be switched off too. Sarah’s husband Nick has gone away on business and Sarah is alone when she realises Jacob hasn’t been home.

As time passes you get a sense of her panic while trying to reassure herself that he’ll be a friend’s house, or there will be a simple explanation. But she still can’t reach him on his phone either.

The tension builds fairly slowly at first but increases by the day. When the police are called and start asking questions there’s a sense of information being withheld – not so much lies being told but more a sense of not being told the whole story.

It’s a small community and suspicions abound. Some characters are not particularly likeable. There are hints of jealousies and secrets and lies. Does someone in the community know something but isn’t telling?

The book is good. The story is told by Sarah and Isla in alternating chapters and day by day following on from Jacob’s disappearance. You get different viewpoints of past events and glimpses of the women’s characters. You learn more about their teenage friendship and their relationships leading to the present day.

Could it be things aren’t quite as idyllic as they may have appeared. Were they even ever perfect?

This is a perfect read for the holidays. You can just picture warm summer days on the sandbank – playing on the beach, swimming in the sea, messing about in boats or even just watching them but be prepared for a few surprises. Just immerse yourself in it and enjoy.

[My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an advance copy]

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