I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Joy Kluver on my blog today, Last Seen. With thanks to Noelle Holten from Bookouture for inviting me to take part.
‘A 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.
Last Seen is the debut novel by Joy Kluver, and it’s a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while now. It is the start of what I hope will be a long-running series featuring Detective Bernadette Noel.
Detective Bernadette Noel has recently been appointed to a town in Wiltshire under something of a cloud. She was previously working with the Metropolitan Police, so what was the reason behind her move to Wiltshire? Not long after she is reassigned, she is thrown into a high profile investigation when five-year-old Molly disappears. But why do none of the locals want to help in the search?
Joy Kluver has created such an intriguing premise in her debut novel. Usually, and especially in the case of a missing child, the public wants to help. There are searches organised, and people are ringing the police hotline constantly with sightings to report. But in this case, the police aren’t getting anything. When they carry out house to house enquiries, they are met with hostility, with the door practically being slammed in their faces. People are also very reluctant to put up missing posters. What is going on here? It made me really dislike the residents of their town. Couldn’t they see that this was about bringing Molly, an innocent girl home?
The investigation is a complex one, and Joy Kluver cleverly weaves everything together. The investigation does start off quite slow, particularly when people are unwilling to help, but it gradually gathers pace. There are some shocking reveals as the police look into the past of the victim’s family. It’s then that they begin to understand why the locals don’t want to know. I really wanted to find out the reason behind this.
I liked the friendships between Bernie and her team, and I think Joy Kluver builds on this really well as the novel progresses. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops as the series moves on from here.
This is a fantastic start to a new series, which I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more.
Publication date: 26th March 2021
Print length: 358 pages
Last Seen is available to buy:
FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR