#BlogTour | #BookReview: Last Seen by Joy Kluver @bookouture #BooksonTour #LastSeen #damppebbles

Last-Seen-KindleA little girl is missing from under her mother’s nose. She’ll be scared and vulnerable – if she’s still alive. But no one is helping us search. No one wants to give us information. No one even seems surprised. What’s going on?

Detective Bernadette Noel came to this quiet rural corner of south-west England from London to lie low after a high-profile prosecution led to death threats against her family. But she has barely settled in when the call comes. A woman’s voice, shrill with terror and thick with tears: ‘Help – it’s my daughter, Molly – I only had my back turned for a minute… She’s gone!’

A child abduction is about as far from lying low as it gets, and her boss wants to assign a different detective. But there’s no way Bernie’s not taking the case – she can’t miss this chance to prove herself.

Five-year-old Molly Reynolds has been snatched from the playground in the village where she lives. Normally in cases like this the community is an asset – eager to help search and full of local knowledge. But although Molly’s mother Jessica is in anguish, the other villagers don’t seem to want to know.

As details emerge, Bernie discovers a possible link to a shocking crime that has never been solved, and which the locals have never forgotten. But what exactly is the connection to Molly’s abduction? Cracking a cold case is the only way to find out – and meanwhile time is running out for Molly.

A dark and compelling crime thriller that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of one of my most eagerly anticipated releases of the year with you – Last Seen by Joy Kluver. Last Seen was published on 26th March 2021 by Bookouture and is available in paperback, digital and audio formats. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Last Seen but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Bookouture for an early copy and asking me to be part of the blog tour.

Last Seen is Kluver’s debut novel and what a cracking start it is! It was a joy to meet DI Bernadette (Bernie) Noel – new to the area and newly promoted – as she took on her first case with Wiltshire Police, the desperate search for a missing five-year-old child. This is a very assured debut from an author to watch!

Shy and sensitive Molly Reynolds has been warned about stranger danger by the adults in her life. But that doesn’t stop her from being snatched from the local park, mere feet from her mother’s turned back. New to Wiltshire Police, DI Bernie Noel, is tasked with finding the girl and reuniting her with her family. But Bernie’s search is hampered at every turn by the folk of Ottersfield who seem uncaring, uninterested and reluctant to take time out of their busy schedules to help find the child. Why would a village react like that? Bernie and the team are at a loss. Every lead turns out to be a dead end. Until Bernie discovers the disappearance of another child twenty-five years earlier. Are the two cases connected and will Bernie find Molly in time…?

I really liked DI Noel who came across as a very relatable, very real character. Not only has Bernie got a challenging case on her hands but the author hints throughout the book of a troubled past which intrigued me. There are references to Bernie’s life in London and a case which still visibly haunts her. And all of this on top of the search for little Molly! The reader also gets to discover more about Bernie’s family which isn’t all sunshine and rainbows (pretty normal then!). These well-plotted layers add up to a very likeable new detective who I’m looking forward to spending more time with in the future.

The characters who form Bernie’s team are also well-written and I felt they all contributed to the story. DS Kerry Allen has a heart of gold but won’t take cr@p from anyone. Matt Taylor is a young, ambitious detective constable who personally, I liked the most. I hope he features in future books. Although he’s not officially part of the team (he should be!), Sergeant Alan Turner was just wonderful! And lastly, we have DS Dougie Anderson who I couldn’t work out (I don’t think I was the only one!). He seemed totally obnoxious one minute, only to turn sweetness and light the next! I think DI Noel and DS Anderson have a very interesting future ahead of them, although fingers crossed it’s not a romantic one! 

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Last Seen is a compelling read featuring an intriguing new detective. I loved the secrets, the deceit and the small town apathy Bernie finds in Otterfield. Normally, when a child goes missing it’s all hands to the pumps, but not in this case and the reasons behind the residents complete lack of interest kept me turning the pages. It’s a great start to a new series and I’m excited to see what is in store next for DI Noel and the team. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Last Seen. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Last Seen by Joy Kluver was published on 26th March 2021 and is available in paperback, digital and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comApple BooksKoboGoogle BooksGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Last Seen - BT Poster

about-the-author3

joy kluverJoy Kluver has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. More recently she’s been escaping the madness of motherhood by turning her hand to crime novels. A book blogger, she’s also part of the First Monday Crime team and if you’ve been to any of their events it’s likely you’ve eaten one of her cookies. She also organises author talks for her local library. Joy lives in SW London with her husband and three children. ‘Last Seen’ is her debut novel and the first book in the DI Bernadette Noel series.

Joy is represented by Anne Williams at the Kate Horden Literary Agency.

#R3COMM3ND3D2020 with #Author Joy Kluver (@JoyKluver) #JoyKluver #DIBernadetteNoel #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2020

Hello. How the heck are you? It’s been a few days since we last spoke. If you celebrated, how was your Christmas? I hope, despite it not being quite what many of us initially planned, it was a good one and you received bookish delights galore. Today marks day 53 of #R3COMM3ND3D2020 and the FINAL post of the 2020 season. It’s been a tough old year for many of us but the books have been outstanding and helped many of us escape what’s been going on around us. I have loved sharing your #R3COMM3ND3D2020 picks since 1st November more than ever. Thank you to everyone who has liked, shared, retweeted and commented on the posts. You make #R3COMM3ND3D something very special. But the show’s not over just yet…

Today I am thrilled to welcome a brilliant blogger and soon-to-be debut author to share three of their favourite books published this year. It’s the fabulous Joy Kluver who shares her love of (mostly) crime fiction over at Joy Kluver. It’s Joy’s birthday today so I would like to take this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday 🥳. I hope you have a lovely day. Joy is also on the brink of publishing her debut novel with Bookouture in February next year so keep an eye out for the first book in the DI Bernadette Noel series. Personally, I can’t wait to read it and it’s high on my most eagerly anticipated books of 2021 list.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2020? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2020. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2020 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes. 😉

Here are the three books Joy chose…

The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
The Lost Lights of St Kilda is a sweeping love story that will cross oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island, and the extraordinary power of hope in the face of darkness.
Joy’s Review of The Lost Lights of St Kilda

Body Language by A. K. Turner
Novels set in mortuaries have been around for quite a while but there’s a new girl in town and her name is Cassie Raven. With dyed black hair, piercings and tattoos, she’s not your average mortuary technician. And thank goodness for that. A.K. Turner has breathed fresh life into a setting that has to remain within the rules of science.
Joy’s Review of Body Language

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
This is my book of the year. Chris Whitaker immerses us in the lives of Duchess Day Radley and her younger brother, Robin. Aged 13 and 5 respectively at the beginning of the story, their lot in life is pretty bad. It’s an epic tale of revenge and redemption. The writing is utterly sublime and quite honestly, it’s not just my book of the year but one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Joy’s Review of We Begin at the End

Brilliant choices, thanks so much Joy. I am absolutely over the moon to see We Begin at the End on your list as that makes it the clear winner of #R3COMM3ND3D2020 with FIVE votes. Huge congratulations to Chris Whitaker and the team at Zaffre Books. A very worthy winner as, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, it’s my book of the year without a shadow of a doubt (😉).

If Joy has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books recommended above, please see the following links:

The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
Body Language by A.K. Turner
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

About Joy Kluver:
I’m a blogger and soon to be published author! My debut novel featuring DI Bernadette Noel will be published by Bookouture in February 2021. But I’ll still be sharing the book love on my blog.

Joy’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Joy Kluver | Twitter @JoyKluver | Facebook |

That’s all folks! Well, for #R3COMM3ND3D2020 anyway. I’m off to write my ‘books of the year’ post now which I may or may not get whittled down in time to post before the end of 2020 😜. If I don’t, I hope you have a very happy New Year. Thank you for your support over the last twelve months. It means the world to me. You are AMAZING!

Don’t forget to start making a list of those 2021 releases as #R3COMM3ND3D will return towards the end of next year. It might not be exactly the same as the last few years – not sure in what way yet – but it will return in one form or another. Stay safe, stay bookish and keep reading. Love ya!