Last Seen by Joy Kluver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.  

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost? 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Last Seen is an interesting debut novel which introduces the reader to Bernie and her team. Soon after attending the funeral of her beloved ’Pops’ Bernie has to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Molly, from a play area. You would expect the local community to help with finding her but there is reluctance from the locals. The reasons why are revealed further into the novel but this is a close knit community and like many they don’t like questions, they are loyal and there are a lot of memories. I could understand how frustrating this was for Bernie and her team.

Bernie is new to the area, she relocated from the MET Police for reasons unspecified but the disappearance of Molly is putting her in the spotlight. Something which she is trying to avoid. The loss of Pops, not really knowing the local area and receiving  what could be a threatening card adds to her worry. Not to mention having to work with a new colleague who she can’t make her mind up about. 

One of the strengths of this novel is how long it seemed to take for the team to get their answers. It showed that not every case is fast moving and even though only a few days had gone they all felt the exhaustion and frustration and were fully aware that they needed to get a breakthrough. 

Little is revealed about most of them, including Bernie. Even though I liked her a lot, I felt I only knew her as a police officer. I wanted to know more about her life outside of the job. I expect that more will be revealed further into the series as she settles into her new life. I know that many series are similar and this isn’t a criticism but she seemed to be somebody I would like to know in real life. I am looking forward to learning more about all of them in book two.

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