Monday, August 5, 2013

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

The Last Winter of 
Dani Lancing
Phil Viner

First Sentence
Saturday 18 December 2010
"There's no such thing as monsters," he tells her.
Publisher's Description:

A riveting psychological thriller in the tradition of Before I Go to Sleep and Memento that introduces P. D. Viner as a master of suspense.
P.D. Viner bursts on to the scene with a gritty and powerful crime thriller that explores the dark, dangerous line that separates grief, violence, loss, and revenge.Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found; the case has long-gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. Patty threw away her successful journalism career and developed a violent obsession with the unsolved crime.  She is utterly consumed with every lead and possible suspect no matter how far-fetched.  Jim, however, is now a shell of his former self, broken down and haunted—sometimes literally—by the loss of his daughter.  Tom Bevans, Dani’s childhood sweetheart, has become a detective intent on solving murders of other young women.  He was so scarred by Dani’s death that his colleagues have nicknamed him “The Sad Man.” After twenty years of grief, all of three of them are burnt-out and hopeless.But when Tom finds an opening on the case, everything changes.  Patty’s obsessions are lit up once again and she will do anything for revenge—even if it means dragging her whole family back into the nightmare, as lies and secrets are unearthed and the truth finally revealed.Told in fractured time, with a breathless pace and masterful plotting, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a superb thriller: swift, edgy, gripping, and unforgettable.

Dear Reader,

This particular psychological thriller caught my eye from the "Before I Go to Sleep" reference in the blurb, a book which I really enjoyed. I find this genre can be very redundant and predictable which is why you don't find me running out to grab the "latest". I do however, LOVE a really good thriller and sometimes will take chances on them. This one was a bit of a letdown, the story itself was original but the ending left much to be desired. The main characters (Dani, Jim Lancing, Patty Lancing & Detective Tom Bevans) all had serious faults, which really elevated this book for me. The characters alone have saved this book from a lower rating.

The story follows these characters backward and forward through time. This is slightly hard to follow but the Author helps us by giving dates with every chapter. I noticed that some chapters moved through time as well, and this was where things started getting harder to follow. Once you got into the feel of things though, it was smooth sailing. I could see someone giving up on this book much too early because of that. Luckily, I'm used to time jumping stories and this didn't bother me enough to put the book down. As the story unravels, we see the characters start to fall apart, giving us multiple layers of personality. This made it hard to predict what was going to happen and even predict what had happened.

The ending, without giving it away... all I'll say is that it had the twists you'd expect a psychological thriller to have but it seemed rushed. I'm not a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers that give this HUGE reveal at the end (this always seems so rushed to me). I like when you get clues along the way and when the reveal happens, it'll bring up all those points along the way. This gives you the right as a reader to predict the ending, one of the most satisfying or shocking feelings to an excellent thriller. However, this was one story that wasn't predictable... and not in the good way. The ending was enough to keep you satiated but the Author went in a direction that took the fun out of reading this genre. I'll look forward to read something else by this Author in the future to see if this has changed. Phil Viner can write, and he can develop superb characters but the story falls a little short here.

So, reader... are you looking for a unique mystery/thriller? This is certainly unique.

Happy Reading,

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