Wednesday 20 December 2023

Review - the Last Line by Stephen Ronson

The Last Line by Stephen Ronson
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 16 November 2023
Back cover blurb: May 1940. With Nazi forces sweeping across France, invasion seems imminent. The English Channel has never felt so narrow. In rural Sussex, war veteran John Cook has been tasked with preparing the resistance effort, should the worst happen. But even as the foreign threat looms, it's rumours of a missing child that are troubling Cook. A twelve-year-old girl was evacuated from London and never seen again, and she's just the tip of the iceberg - countless evacuees haven't made it to their host families. As Cook investigates, he uncovers a dark conspiracy that reaches to the highest ranks of society. He will do whatever it takes to make the culprits pay. There are some lines you just don't cross. THE LAST LINE is a blistering action thriller combined with a smart noir mystery, played out expertly against the taut backdrop of the British home front.

The Last Line explores a side of WW2 that no one wants to think about, let alone write about. The imminent threat of a Nazi invasion. Yet the fact remains, there was a point in history when that threat was very real.

WW1 Veteran John Cook is deflated when he is turned down for voluntary military service. He feels that he has something to contribute, and is hardly unfit or old. In his early forties, and fit as a farmer tending his land on a daily basis.

When he meets with an old friend for a pint, he is further disappointed when they don't show. In their place however is a man and an offer that John hadn't even considered. An offer to join the resistance, to defend and protect the country should the worst happen and the Nazi's invade.

Whilst John in pondering just how real the Nazi threat is, and if he should take the offer seriously, his life is turned upside down when a body appears in one of his fields. Due to it's location, John is the immediate prime suspect.

He is determined to prove his innocence, so when he is released due to lack of evidence, he takes  matters in to his own hands. He realises quickly that the murder was committed by some particularly unsavoury characters, who are also involved in criminal activity.

Once he's investigated further he realises how heinous these crimes are, and just how dangerous the people involved are. Perhaps even deadlier than the threat of a foreign invasion. Will he manage to ensure that justice is served or is his own life in danger?

The Last Line is a brilliant thriller, set in a period of time that makes everything seem heightened. This is the first novel that I've read from this author, and I look forward to reading another! 

The Last Line is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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