The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeThriller

It’s the party to end all parties….but not everyone is here to celebrate.

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors.

But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh is the first book in the DC Morgan series and tells of a missing person case turned murder that becomes very personal for the main character Ffion Morgan.

My Reading Experience:

The story whisked me away to Wales, starting with page 1. I loved how immersive the story is, which is definitely helped by the attention to detail of the beautiful setting. I found myself wholly engaged as suspect after suspect emerged. Really, everyone wanted this man dead for a good reason, and I was left guessing until the very end.

On the surface, The Last Party sounds like a police procedural. Yet, the way the mystery unfolds is as complex and as puzzling as can be found in the best cozy mysteries. I particularly enjoyed this aspect as sometimes I find procedurals a bit dry for my tastes

I also enjoyed the main character Ffion Morgan. I have no idea how to pronounce her first name, but I loved how positively messy she is. And I don’t mean that in a quirky way but in a life-full-of-a-broad-mix-of-experiences manner. She is the product of bad experiences, questionable choices, and a loving family that gives her many layers and makes her intriguingly complex and unpredictable.


The narration is third person focused and switches between Ffion Morgan – the main character, DC Leo Brady – Ffion’s English co-detective for the case, and Rhys Lloyd – the murder victim, primarily with a few other support characters focused on from time to time. These changes are well-marked and only become confusing when you reach a chapter focusing on one of the minor characters. There are so many characters that it becomes easy to forget who each is.


The pacing of the murder mystery stays relatively fast, with loads of twists and turns thrown in the mix and plenty of backstories provided through chapters set in the past. The reading is slowed by the side stories that deliver character development and the sheer number of pages. At 422 pages, it’s a bit lengthier than most novels in the genre.


The setting is the village of Cwm Coed (pronounced coom coyd) in Wales. It sounds like an absolutely idyllic little village bordered by a lake and beautiful mountains, one of which is shaped like a dragon. The village itself reminds me of small towns and villages in many areas of the world with its close-knit community but wholly different in its dispute with the neighboring English.

Read if you like:

  • Surprising twists and turns
  • A complex female detective
  • A small town/village setting

Overall Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

17 Replies to “The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeThriller”

    1. This one I can recommend. There’s a bit of room to grow but I was okay with that since it’s the beginning of a series.

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  1. I googled the pronunciation of Ffion and it’s just like Dionne with an “F.” Thanks for reminding me to do that! I like your description of the complexity of the story and the character and am even more excited about starting. My library did come through but I’m in a short queue. Excellent review, Tessa💜

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    1. That’s how I was pronouncing it! I hope you enjoy it! It has some growing room but I thought it was a compelling start to a series with a great main character.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a good start to a new series, Tessa. I have not read a lot of books set in Wales so that appeals to me. Your wonderful review has me wanting to read this one and get in at the beginning of a series. I am adding this to my queue for December reading between my Christmas books. Thanks for the great review.

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