Sue Lawrence’s The Last Train weaves historical fiction with a modern-day mystery, with both perspectives occurring in Scotland. In December 1879, a storm causes a train to tragically derail, killing all those onboard the ill-fated train. Initially, Ann Craig believes that her husband is one of the deceased, however, as she investigates his disappearance, new discoveries come to light. In 2015, Fiona Craig’s partner has suddenly disappeared, clearing their joint savings account in the process. Through the use of rotating perspectives, the author shows the connection between the two women.
The author’s writing style in The Last Train will capture you from the beginning. Though each chapter is short, they leave the reader in a cloud of doubt, desperately trying to put the pieces together. One of my favourite things about the novel was that it was difficult to predict what was going to happen next. Throughout its duration, there are an array of twists and turns, and it was an enjoyable process trying to uncover the mystery of both Ann and Fiona.
Ann’s character throughout the novel was utterly intriguing. At first, you sympathise with her. She has been left a widow and now has to raise her family alone. As the mystery of her husband’s disappearance comes to light, I found my opinion of her changing. Some might argue that she’s manipulative and is caught up in maintaining her once perfect life. Others (like myself) might see Ann as a survivalist. Though she has to break a series of laws to maintain stability, I feel as if everything is justified by the motive of wanting to survive and protect her children.
When comparing the two perspectives, I found Ann’s more thrilling than Fiona’s. I wanted to uncover what happened to Robert (Ann’s husband). Pete’s disappearance initially intrigued me, but I started to care less about his story-line the more I became absorbed in Ann’s story. Part of me felt disappointed when I reached the end of Ann’s sections as I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Though I enjoyed Fiona’s perspective less, reading The Last Train was a thrilling experience. I absolutely loved that it was difficult to make predictions, and the surprises constantly kept me on my toes. I highly recommend The Last Train to anyone who is looking for a gripping mystery to read within one sitting.
Release date: February 1st 2018 by Allen & Unwin
(I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)