Happy February everyone! It’s Thursday, so that means another edition of Sharon’s Thriller Thursday. This week I am happy to share my thoughts on For the Last Time by Heidi Perks and The Engagement Party by Darby Kane. I really enjoyed both of these books.
For the Last Time Goodreads
Author: Heidi Perks
Publication Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Erin and Will Harding had a perfect marriage, that is until one Valentine’s Day when something triggered Erin and now she no longer trusts Will. They decide to go to marriage counseling, but walking into the office of Maggie Day could be the worst mistake they made. During one of their sessions Erin mentions something that is connected to Maggie’s past and Maggie is determined to figure out what Erin knows, even if that means crossing ethical lines and putting Erin’s life in jeopardy. That is the premise of Heidi Park’s latest book, For the Last Time, and what a read it was.
The story opens with the prologue in which Erin has been rushed to the hospital after being struck by a car and left on the side of the road in a hit and run. She has severe internal injuries and is in a coma. What was Erin doing out so late at night on such a deserted road? Detective Lynsey Clayton is assigned to the case and after her preliminary interviews with Will and Erin’s best friend, Zoe, it looks like this may not have been an accident and someone deliberately ran Erin down. The book then jumps back six months, to Valentines Day and is told from the POV of Erin and Maggie and at the end of some of the chapters the story jumps to the present and the investigation.
I really liked getting the build up to the accident and learning more about what is going on in Erin and Will’s lives. I really liked Erin, but at times I did find that she was an unreliable character and I think that added to the mystery of the story. Erin accuses Will of doing all sorts of things and he denies them all, which had me thinking that he was gaslighting her. I had a lot of sympathy for Erin, as something was definitely going on, but no one believed her. Not even her best friend Zoe. Whenever Erin voiced her concerns about Will to Zoe, Zoe would defend him. Which shot up red flags to me.
I started out liking Maggie. Her sister was killed twenty years ago, and she has been carrying around that grief, since Maggie is the one that was supposed to be keeping an eye on her. The murderer was caught and convicted, but now that he is about to go before the parole board, Maggie is starting to have doubts that he is guilty. When Erin mentions something that connects to her sister’s murder she becomes obsessed with finding out what Erin knows. And it is here that I started to not like Maggie so much. LOL! I understand she wants the truth for her sister, but she did not have Erin’s best interest at heart.
For the Last Time was full of twists and turns and I didn’t know what to believe or who to trust at times. By the end of the book the tension ramped up and I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. 4 stars
The Engagement Party Goodreads
Author: Darby Kane
Publication Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: William Morrow
I have loved all the books I have read by Darby Kane, so I was excited for her newest book, The Engagement Party. This was described as, And Then There Were None meets I Know What You Did Last Summer and I think that was a perfect description.
Twelve years ago, Emily Hunt was found dead floating in a river near her college campus. Her death was ruled a murder and the police focused their suspicions on a quiet, shy student Brendan Clarke. A week later Brendan committed suicide and even though he was never convicted, that convinced everyone he was guilty. Twelve years later Emily’s closest friends; Mitch, Will, Alex, and Cassandra, are getting together on a secluded island in Maine to celebrate Will’s engagement to Ruthie. However, someone has other intensions and this someone wants to find out the truth about what happened to Emily. When a storm comes in and strands the group on the island and then a body is found in the trunk of a car with a note, time to tell the truth, it becomes clear that this group of friends know more than they are saying, and they are all hiding secrets. To survive the night and stop a killer, this group will have to come face to face with their past.
This story is told from the POV of Ruthie, Alex, and Sierra. Sierra is Mitch’s guest, they work with each other and though they won’t admit it, they have feelings for each other as well. Sierra and Mitch were the only two characters I really liked, and I hoped they would survive and finally get together.
Right off the bat we know that Ruthie has a hidden agenda, but things do not go as she planned. She planned somethings for this weekend, but not the murders. So, who else is on this island and is taking Ruthie’s plan and expanding it?
As with all slasher books I have read, I found myself yelling at the characters and asking how they can be so stupid. LOL! Stay together people, do not break up into groups and do not go out by yourself. And if you happen to escape from would be killer, arm yourself so when you face them again, which you know you will, you will be able to defend yourself. Hahahaha!
We also get excerpts from a book someone is writing that gives a backstory on what happened twelve years ago. Between these excerpts, the secrets that are revealed and the body count that starts to rise, I was on the edge of my seat and my adrenaline was pumping the whole time I was reading.
The Engagement Party was a fast-paced read, full of twists and turns. There was a twist at the end that I need to give Darby Kane two thumbs up for. I so did not see that coming. 4 stars