The Last Girl to Die by Helen Fields, Review: Heart-pounding

The Last Girl to Die is a heart-pounding new standalone crime thriller from Helen Fields, author of the bestselling DI Callanach series. Read my full review.

The Last Girl to Die Synopsis

The Last Girl to Die by Helen Fields, Book Review

In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.

Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.

The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?

Beautifully haunting with twists and turns you’ll never see coming, The Last Girl to Die is your next obsession waiting to happen. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and L.J. Ross.

(Avon Books, September 2022)

Genre: Crime-Detective, Thriller, Mystery

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Book Review

I was blown away by Helen Fields’ novel One for Sorrow (DI Callanach Series) and so was excited to read her new standalone crime thriller The Last Girl to Die.

What I am is a private investigator – a title I’m not keen on – but it comes with a licence, and sometimes a piece of paper is useful when you’re asking people to share information. I specialise in missing teenagers. Not the subset of work I’d had in mind when I started out, but I’m female and short – thus apparently unthreatening – and I have what’s been referred to more than once as a ‘ cheerful, positive manner’. Also, dimples. Sadly, none of those things were ever going to bring Adriana back, or render her parents’ grief less dreadful.

Feisty protagonist Canadian PI Sadie Levesque is about as gutsy as they come, but she is also a deeply empathetic soul.

… when I first met Adriana’s family, I saw the horror of the endless nights they’d endured waiting for the phone to ring and the seconds to pass. Nighttime is not merely a lack of light; it is the darkness within each of us when we lose hope.

Sadie’s strong emotional drive makes her a passionate advocate for clients (and anyone else she sees at risk) and a likeable and engaging character lead. It’s this passion that quickly draws into her orbit some beautifully characterised second-tier characters that I adored – and dare I say it, could feasibly spawn other series. But on several occasions, Sadie is just a little too reckless with her own safety, which certainly makes The Last Girl to Die a high suspense rollercoaster read.

Setting and themes

Fields’ confident evocation of the windswept island’s picturesque yet wild and rugged terrain is a pleasure to read – the weight of history both shroud and warm blanket. The sense of isolation and tension between locals and tourists engendered a pressure-cooker atmosphere reminiscent of Christian White’s The Wife and the Widow.

… women don’t always have to be what we’re told to be. Becoming a mother does not make us maternal. Having a child doesn’t mean we must comply with the standards men unilaterally impose on us. 

Layer upon that the longstanding battle between Church and pagan beliefs and the conflation of witchery and a woman’s right to independence, and what you get is a page-turner right to the very end.

The Last Girl to Die is another very strong novel from Helen Fields. Be warned though – it does contain multiple graphic depictions of physical trauma and packs a real emotional punch.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 – Overall 4.25

Get your copy of The Last Girl to Die from:

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More The Last Girl to Die reviews

‘I really enjoyed the setting and how Helen Fields created a whole cast of characters that made the story so gripping. A story of secrets and but also of the past. It will keep you guessing until the very end.’ – The Last Word Book Review

The Last Girl to Die is a well-paced, breath-taking read that will leave any reader gobsmacked and the worse for wear.’ – Swirl and Thread

‘Oh my goodness, I absolutely and totally loved this book. Outstanding and compelling, it gave me whiplash from all the twists and turns.’ – million-copy bestseller Angela Marsons

About the Author, Helen Fields

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs. Check out her website or connect with her on Facebook / Twitter.

* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.