Last words by Michael Koryta

cover image

Mark Novak book 1. Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN: 9781444742619.
(Age: 16+) Recommended for fans of thrillers. This was the first book I have read by Koryta, a New York Times bestselling author, and I couldn't put it down. Not only was it exciting, I was uncertain until the end just how the plot would resolve itself. Private investigator Mark Novak looks at a cold case involving the death of a young girl in a dangerous cave system, names Trapdoor. Ridley Barnes the man who brought her body to the surface and who many thought was her killer, had contacted him in an effort to find out who was the murderer.
It is the setting that makes this an engrossing read. The dark cave, its underground passages, perilous waterways and the almost supernatural nature that Ridley Barnes believes the cave has, all evoke a compelling atmosphere of danger that will keep the reader gripped to the pages. Mark Novak is a man on another mission, that of solving the murder of his wife and only takes the case in an attempt to hold onto his job.
There are many plot threads that will bamboozle the reader. These include not only the mysterious cave system, but the appearance of a hypnotist, the dead girl's boyfriend, a curt sheriff and a small town mentality that is not helpful for Novak's investigation.
The conclusion was gripping and complex and leaves the reader ready to tackle the next book featuring Mark Novak, Rise the dark, as he tries to find his wife's killer.
Pat Pledger