Twenty years have passed since that last hard winter of Dani Lancing’s life. The life that had been cut short by her brutal murder. The case is long cold, but the mourners are still haunted by not knowing what had happened to her, trying to piece together the few clues to discover the answers.
The parents, Jim and Patty, are each obsessed: Jim, haunted by fleeting images of Dani at various ages in her life, and seemingly, now, after her death; Patty is on a quest to find the murderer(s), even going to such extremes that now, twenty years later, when the police are reopening the case, she is determined to find her own answers. She doesn’t quite trust the police to find them. Patty and Jim have long since lost their connection to one another, their marriage destroyed.
DS Tom Bevan is the police detective assigned to the cold case. He was also Dani’s friend for years…and suffered from unrequited love.
Set in London and Durham, from the 1980s to 2010, the story jags back and forth through time, in a fractured fashion, revealing the The Last Winter of Dani Lancing: A Novel through the various voices of the characters, past and present. The answers do not come all at once, but in bits and pieces, and the stunning surprises at the end reveal a quagmire of corruption, vengeance, cover-ups, and flawed humanity. This is not a story for the faint of heart, as the human condition is exposed in its greatest darkness and frailty. It is definitely a twisted tale with much to ponder about the lengths to which people will go for those they love. It is also difficult to follow at times, with the peripatetic narrative, and some of the conclusions seem a bit incredible. But the reader will want answers, so the book is impossible to put down. 4.0 stars.