Killing Spree – Liz Barnsley reviews Last Rites by Neil White

In the final instalment in the Killing Spree theme week Liz from LizLovesBooks talks about her love of Neil White books and why she recommends Last Rites to everyone looking for a cracking crime novel. My thanks to Liz and to everyone who has contributed this week.

Last Rites – Neil White.

So my favourite author (ok second favourite yes yes) and one of my favourite books. Despite the trauma. Because Last Rites is traumatic. And also for me, one of the best books Neil has written (even in amongst the plethora of other top crime he’s done) Because of the trauma. Sob.

It sits within the Garrett/Mcganity series of novels which rank amongst my top favourite series ever, top 5 for sure– but there are two things about Last Rites that gave it that added extra, the first of which is the victim. Because we follow the victim (one of them at least) through her ordeal and this is not the kind of crime writing that is at all predictable or promises a happy ending. There were times I really couldn’t bear it – and I’ve read the damn thing a few times now, I guess I just never learn. Or maybe it really is just that good that it demands to be read over. 

The other thing is the absolutely nail biting, beautifully written, descriptively horrifying finale. Remember up there I said there was no promise of a happy ending? Well that relates to the main cast of the series as much as to any victim we may meet in each separate novel – when I first read it years ago I’m fairly sure there were actual nails bitten off. Yes I get over involved sometimes. But when the writing is this immersive it’s hard not to. You are just there.

Every time I read it, it has the same impact. Even though I know every nuance by now it doesn’t stop me going to all those dark places again – it doesn’t stop me sitting on the edge of my seat (or to be fair and much more likely hiding further under my axe proof duvet) and some of it is scary stuff for sure. Don’t head in alone if you can help it.

Great crime fiction. REAL crime fiction. That’s what this author gives us every time. So far (and hey we are not at the end of the road yet) Last Rites stands out in my head – it’s the one I point everyone towards when they ask me which to read, not only if they are asking for a recommendation for this specific author but if they are asking for a Crime Fiction book to blow them away. 

This one will blow you away. It’s ok. You can borrow my axe proof duvet.


“The Lancashire town of Blackley has been rocked by the violent death of Luke Howarth. The fingers of suspicion point towards his girlfriend, Sarah Goode – missing since his murder. Just another crime of passion with a tragic end.

Or is it? Reporter Jack Garrett isn’t so sure – especially when he’s asked by Sarah’s distraught parents to find their daughter. Their description of caring schoolteacher Sarah doesn’t tally with the media’s portrayal of a cold-blooded killer.

But as he hunts for Sarah, Jack finds himself immersed in the town’s troubled history and discovers that dangerous rituals from the past are impacting on the present.

Jack’s girlfriend, DC Laura McGanity, in the midst of a tough custody battle, must be content to sit on the sidelines. But she soon finds herself caught up in the investigation, as the mystery surrounding Sarah’s disappearance dramatically unravels.

Jack and Laura find themselves in mortal danger as they come face to face with an unhinged killer who is determined that they will pay with their lives… “

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.