Publication: 12th May 2022 – Quercus Books
A luxury resort. Three missing women. One body.
When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye.
As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.
On the surface, Koppe, Lapland is a winter wonderland. But in this remote, frozen place, death seems only ever a heartbeat away.
Today is publication day for The Last to Disappear and I am delighted to share my review of this gripping new novel by one of my favourite authors, Jo Spain.
One of the places I absolutely must visit once in my life is Lapland, possibly at Christmas. Me and my family have been talking for years about spending a Christmas holiday there and visit the Christmas village, see the Northern Lights, and go on a sled ride. Hopefully, one day we will do it. In the meantime, Jo Spain’s new novel took me right there in Lapland, in the fictional village of Koppe, where the economy is driven by the tourists that every year fill the hotels. However, London lobbyist Alex Evans is not there on holiday, but he has arrived to take home the body of his younger sister Vicky who was working as a travel guide in one of the hotels of the village and who was found in the frozen lake. Alex assumed that Vicky’s death was an accident, but Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge of the investigation, reveals that Vicky was killed, so Alex decides to remain and team up with Agatha in solving the case.
I loved everything about this novel: the plot, the characters, the setting. The story is very well-written and full of twists and surprises. Before Vicky, three women had disappeared and they were never found and the entire village suspects of the lonely grumpy man whose wife was the first to disappear. Are the disappearances of the three women connected to Vicky’s death? Or was Vicky involved in something else? The list of suspects is long and, of course, I didn’t figure out the right one.
I loved the two protagonists of the story, Alex and Agatha. When we first meet Alex is leaving a party with a woman. Next thing he knows, his father calls him to inform him that his sister is dead and he is on his way to Finland. Gripped by guilt and grief and not trusting that Agatha can do her job, Alex starts investigating Vicky’s death. As the story progresses, we learn more about his complex relationship with Vicky and he becomes less arrogant and more agreeable. Agatha is an excellent detective. She is smart and determined and she doesn’t let Alex undermine her. However, she has her own complicated personal life to deal with and a past that haunts her.
The setting is incredible. I was engrossed in the atmospheric and beautiful descriptions of the village of Koppe that plays a big part in the story. The descriptions are so well-written that I could imagine them as I was reading and the freezing cold, the frozen lake, the darkness helped to increase the suspense of the story.
If you are looking for a chilling and addictive read, then pick up The Last to Disappear… you won’t regret it!
A huge thank you to Milly and Quercus for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.
Jo Spain is a full-time writer and screenwriter. Her first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and her first psychological thriller, The Confession, was a number one bestseller in Ireland. Jo co-wrote the ground-breaking television series Taken Down, which first broadcast in Ireland in 2018. She’s now working on multiple European television projects. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.