The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner

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The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A whodunnit that's been going on for 20 years. We join the story just as something big is about to happen in the case of Dani Lancing. Easy to read crime fiction? Yup, it exists.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Ebury Press
ISBN: 978-0091953294

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There’s no good way to deal with the death of a child. When Dani Lancing is killed her parents react in different ways, but neither way is particularly helpful or healthy. And of course neither way will bring their daughter back. It’s now 20 years later and the mystery of whodunnit is still looming over Jim and Patty’s heads, though they’re no longer together. The murder of a child will do that to a marriage.

Jim dreams (and daydreams) of Dani. He just wants her to tell him who did this, who hurt her so brutally. Patty dreams of revenge. She’s on the cusp of working out who was responsible, and she’s going to make them pay. And then there’s Tom, a childhood friend (maybe more) of Dani’s, who has devoted his life and his career as a copper to making things right. He can’t bring Dani back, but he can fight the corners of other girls like her, and ensure their attackers are brought to justice.

This is Dani’s story, but it’s also Jim’s, and Patty’s, and Tom’s. Telling their bits in turn, the story flits from the ‘present’ (it’s 2010, apparently) back to various points in the 80s to follow Dani back then, before it all went so horribly wrong for this university student. Set in and around London but also featuring Durham where she studied, this is a fast-paced book that repeatedly yanks you from one train of thought to another, leaving cliffhangers along the way in a deliciously infuriating way.

You might think that losing a child would be the most sensational thing to happen to a family, but that’s not the case here, and as the story unfolds it’s clear that Patty in particular has her mind on things far more dramatic than simply sitting at home, pining for a daughter who will never walk through the door again. This takes a subject that could be depressing and turns it into an action thriller instead.

I don’t read much crime fiction because I find it quite dry and heavy going, but this is far from typical of the genre. It is a book that is easy to read and hard to put down, and while there are a good many details surrounding the crimes that have and will occur, there is also a good smattering of family life, love and emotion included too to round out the story. I found the beginning confusing, and I think you’re supposed to. However I told my mother the important plot spoiler before she read it, and she was able to get straight into it as a result. I would like to read it again, now I know what I know.

Recommended even if crime is not your usual genre of choice. Give it a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman is similarly well done - crime writing with a heart that has wider appeal than the genre might normally.

Buy The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P D Viner at Amazon.com.


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