I’ve had my eye on The Last ever since I first heard about it back in June 2018, it was advertised as an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set at the end of the world. It sounded amazing, and it did not disappoint!
BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.
Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn’t ignored his wife Nadia’s last message. Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive.
Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer… As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate.
But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn’t want to be found?
The Last is a cross between a modern-day Agatha Christie novel and The Walking Dead (minus the zombies), with a splash of Bird Box (in one part where they journey to find food, it had me nervous as hell!), and it was all kinds of brilliant. The cold climate of Switzerland, the isolation of the hotel, twenty people remaining and a murderer amongst them – now, there’s a winning formula for a book! And, Jameson totally delivered on this one, a must read for fans of murder mysteries and dystopian fiction.
Narrated by Jon, in journal-like fashion, he does his best to be objective in his writing, because someone has to document the end of the world, the end of civilization. The reader is privy to his murder investigation, and the survival of those left at the hotel. In order to be as detailed as he can, Jon gathers information on as many of the remaining hotel guests as he can. What was great was the varied mix of the remaining guests; at various points throughout the book, most of the main characters are called into question – what are they hiding?
It was interesting to see how this group of people chose to govern themselves, who they looked to for a leader, and how they tried to keep the peace, and keep themselves safe. The Last is cleverly plotted, it has this constant sense of unease to it, you’re never entirely sure if Jon, or the characters who become your favourite, are safe – and you’re never entirely sure if the threat is from outside or in.
While the murder mystery may be at the heart of this novel, the end of the world makes a bloody great backdrop! This novel will have you invested and engaged, it reads fluidly, with dark undertones; but, there’s also this harshness to it, this acceptance that times are different now, and certain behaviours are acceptable, and necessary.
Do you ever read a book, and one line, more than any other, jumps out at you and you have to make a note of it? In this novel, it was something Jon mentioned in relation to his family:
“If you don’t make the decision to love, every day, it’s an easy thing to forget.”
With today’s governments, you can’t 100% rule out a nuclear war; you never think the end of the world is coming, but if it does, will you be ready for it?
*My thanks to Penguin Books UK (Viking) for providing me with a copy of this book*