July 2014

Danuta Reah - The Last Room

"...a richly plotted, multi-layered drama with raw emotions and boundless grief at its heart."

When Ania Milosz falls to her death in a Polish city, her father, Will Gillen, accepts the verdict of suicide. Ania, an expert witness, was about to be exposed as a perjurer and a liar. Will knows his daughter was neither, but he also knows the terrible burden she carried from her past when her sister was abducted and murdered.

Will realises there is one thing that may have made her fabricate evidence in a harrowing murder case: after all these years, has she found her sister's killer, and has the prospect of his release driven her to the point of suicide?

Ania's lover, Dariusz, won't accept this. He knows Ania did not kill herself. Does Will really know his daughter, or is there an even darker story behind Ania's death? Will is haunted by images of his dead daughter. Is she trying to tell him something? Is she trying to warn him, or is his grief driving him mad?

'The Last Room' is a richly plotted, multi-layered drama with raw emotions and boundless grief at its heart.

Danuta Reah has a solid understanding of the effects of grief as a father comes to terms with losing his last remaining relative. His breakdown is touching and dealt with sensitively while still retaining the high drama needed to drive an acute and intelligent story.

It is refreshing to have a crime fiction story not centred on the police and their investigation, but instead uses the victim's family and friends as the main players. This gives the story added realism and the emotions of grieving relatives are always at the forefront, waiting to bubble over.

The story is highly original and the reader learns a great deal about voice recognition and the role it has in crime solving. Reah is an intelligent writer and has thoroughly researched her plot and locations to lend added intensity to the drama.

If you're looking for a thought provoking character led story then this is the book for you. Keep the tissues to hand though; Will Gillen's story is an incredibly sad one.

Reviewed by: M.W.

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