‘Welcome to Koppe, Finland
A picturesque village
A wondrous escape‘
– The Last to Disappear
[ About the Book ]
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.
[ My Review ]
The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain published May 12th with Quercus. Described as a ‘chilling new thriller set in the frozen heart of Finland’ it is a book that I (and himself) thoroughly enjoyed!
‘At first, white-hot agony.
She can’t think. Can’t react.
The ice-cold water paralyses every muscle.
Her entire body becomes one desperate plea: let it end.
Nobody can bear this and live.’
How about that for a shocking and traumatic opening to a book? Might I suggest you immediately get your hands on a copy of The Last to Disappear. Immediately a chill creeps up the spine as the horror unfolds and the reality of what you are reading hits you with a bang.
Finland is the setting for this disturbing thriller revealing an unfamiliar side to Lapland. It’s December and as the tourists flock to enjoy the Santa experience, a young woman’s body is discovered in a nearby icy lake. Identified as Vicky Evans, she was British and worked as a tour-guide at a local winter resort. Her brother Alex is given the news by his father and, at his Dad’s request, he travels to Finland with the plan to repatriate her body before Christmas. Alex is a lobbyist with a challenging and exhausting job that he is struggling with. He has successfully climbed the corporate ladder but at a cost. He had minimal communication with Vicki in recent times as she was flighty, always on the move, always heading off on her next adventure. Alex felt that Vicky lived her life irresponsibly and his immediate reaction was that this was typical Vicky, sustaining such a fatal and tragic death while assumedly having fun. He makes the journey, unprepared for the freezing temperatures and the landscape that awaits him, and is met by the detective in charge of his sister’s case, Agatha Koskinen. Agatha is initially slow to reveal the details but she does let Alex know that Vicki’s death was no accident. A blow to the head was evident on the body meaning that the case was now no longer accidental but being treated as a murder investigation.
Alex is outraged at the limited number of police in Koppe involved in his sister’s murder and is also, initially, very unimpressed with the ability of Agatha Koskinen to catch the killer. Agatha seems distracted to Alex, with three young children to look after, and, in his eyes, is incapable of doing her job properly. He starts to raise questions and is appalled when he discovers that there are three open cases of missing women from the Koppe area. Are these missing women in some way connected to his sister’s death? Is this the work of a possible serial killer? What secrets lie buried in this arctic paradise?
Koppe is a tight-knit community, one that protects its reputation closely as folk are highly dependent on the tourist industry for financial survival. The holidaymakers come to Koppe with an expectation and a desire to be immersed in this winter wonderland. Any scandal could be very damaging to the economy. As Alex and Agatha form a shaky alliance they slowly begin to recognise that all is not what it seems in this snowy playground.
The Last to Disappear moves between the present day and the late 1990s with a number of stories running in parallel. All these elements are expertly intertwined as the story unfolds with the flair that one expects from the pen of Jo Spain. A truly solid police procedural set against a stunning and dramatic landscape, The Last to Disappear is a complex and intense read. A taut tale with wonderfully unpredictable revelations, Jo Spain has written an extremely atmospheric, dramatic and 100% cinematic novel, one that grabs you from the get-go until that final page is turned. A real smashing thriller this one, The Last to Disappear is a book that has all the ingredients for a very satisfying and engaging read.
[ Bio ]
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 and she’s now working on multiple European television projects. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.
Twitter ~ @SpainJoanne