This is a spoiler-free review.
The Last to Know by Jo Furniss
Expected publication August 11th, 2020 by Lake Union Publishing.
American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.
When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.
As Ellie works to separate rumor from facts, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?
Content Warnings: mentions of child abuse and pedophilia
Thank you to the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.
“No truth in the rumors, but also no smoke without fire. Rumors are like that; hot air requires a source of heat.”
It has been a while since I read a good mystery/thriller, and I’m very pleased to say that Furniss’s newest novel fits that description perfectly.
The Last to Know is told from two perspectives: Rose Kynaston, the wife of Dylan Kynaston, a man known infamously in his hometown of Hurtwood as the son of an alleged child-abuser who pushed his victim to commit suicide; and Ellie Trevelyan, a local police sergeant of the soon-to-be-closed Hurtwood police department. Both are trying to solve the cold case of Kenny Bale, the boy who died while under the care of Rose’s father-in-law. But while Rose is trying to clear the name of the family she married into, Ellie believes the Kynaston’s are hiding more than they let on…
This was an overall enjoyable read. While it did start out a little slow, once the ball got rolling a few chapters in, the story itself became much more gripping and I couldn’t put the book down until I had figured out, once and for all, whodunnit.
The storyline itself is slightly complicated – which is not necessarily a bad thing at all when likely the worst insult a mystery/thriller can receive is to be called simple and/or predictable. Furniss manages to weave all these different plot lines together expertly. However, because there are so many different reveals happening all at once regarding multiple different storylines, the culmination of them all together can make the final twists feel slightly underwhelming. Nevertheless, the majority of said plot twists remain unpredictable until the very end of the novel, which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable book.
I read a lot of mystery/thrillers, and when doing so I find it’s always a race to see who can solve the mystery first: the reader or the protagonist. In this novel, with two protagonists working on the case from opposite ends, the reader is subject to more information than one protagonist is on their own, but nevertheless still a step behind the unravelling of the plot itself. This leads to an overall fulfilling tale where the reader is given just enough information to feel rewarded along the way; but without divulging all its secrets until the very end, The Last to Know creates a mainly satisfying, unexpected mystery.
What do you look for in a mystery/thriller?