I don’t always succumb to WH Smith’s book offers when I wander past in the morning, but on Wednesday I did. Why? Because I knew I’d finish The Glass Bead Game on the train, and I wanted something to read afterwards: preferably something pretty unchallenging.
The Last Child by John Hart didn’t disappoint on any level. I didn’t want an amazingly beautiful work of literature – Hesse had just bowled me over with one of those – but I did want a good, interesting, fairly gripping crime novel. And Hart gave me that.
A young boy tormented by his sister’s disappearance. A mother who spends her life so out of it she can barely stand. A stepfather who beats them both. A best friend with a shrivelled arm and a confused home life. A friendly policeman. Who would you trust? Themes of friendship, loyalty, betrayal and desperation are woven through this book to create a thrilling read.
There were twists. Many twists, none of them ridiculous, some of them not entirely surprising. There were bits where I wanted to be at the end now, and bits when I wanted to keep reading for a long time. Altogether, a very good work of crime fiction. Definitely recommended.