Last Seen - Lucy Clarke
Released: 19th May 2017
Psychological Thriller Fans rating - 89% ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Psychological thriller / mystery
Premise: When Sarah wakes up in her beach hut one summer’s morning, she discovers her teenage son, Jacob is missing and hasn’t been seen since he left a party to celebrate his birthday and was spotted arguing with his girlfriend.
The good: A brilliant plot, evocative writing and a troubling mystery
The bad: There is little to fault in this page-turner
The ugly: At times I struggled to keep up with the reasonably large cast of characters, trying to remember who was who and what their motives might be for having a hand in Jacob’s disappearance.
In summary: A brilliant psychological thriller that twists, turns and keeps you on your toes throughout while beautifully capturing the setting of a beach hut community living virtually cut-off by the sea.
One of my favourite reads of the last 12 months was Lucy Clarke’s The Castaways, the epitome of a summer getaway page-turner.
And so I was delighted when I discovered one of Lucy’s earlier thrillers, Last Seen, was available as a free Amazon download.
I sometimes struggle to pick a book on Prime Reading that really grabs me, but the moment I saw Lucy’s name, I immediately hit the download button and wasn’t disappointed.
This story grabs you from page one and twists and turns all the way through, right up to the end when only finally does the author reveal the whole truth.
It’s a masterful work that’s both skillfully crafted and beautifully written.
Lucy writes from a beach hut on the south coast of England and in this book she uses her in-depth knowledge to wonderfully evocative effect, by setting the story in a beach hut community.
The premise is straightforward enough.
Sarah’s teenage son, Jacob has gone missing the night after his birthday. Instead of being in his bed the morning after, he’s simply vanished.
His disappearance coincides with the anniversary of the death of his friend, Marley, who drowned in the sea when they’d both been swimming.
And so the scene is set for an engrossing mystery as suspicion begins to fall on various members of the community who make their summer home on the sandbank by the sea.
As you’d expect from a decent psychological thriller, it’s full of lies, secrets, recriminations and dubious past lives, adeptly interwoven so you’re left not really sure where the truth lies and what really happened to Jacob.
This is a really good thriller with a strong mystery at its heart, brought to life by Lucy’s exceptional talent as a writer.
Her turn of phrase is always spot on, giving us a deep dive into her characters’ minds while placing you in the heart of the setting with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of living by the sea.
This book is an absolute triumph and deserves its full five-star ranking and its Psychological Thriller Fan 89% rating.
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.
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AJ Wills is the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.