Book Review: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P. D. Viner

Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the case has long gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. While Jim fell apart, Patty was consumed by the unsolved case. She abandoned her journalism career and her marriage to spend every waking hour searching and plotting. She keeps contact with Tom, Dani’s childhood sweetheart, who has become a detective intent on solving murders like Dani’s. When he finds a lead that seems ironclad, he brings Patty in on it. After years of dead ends, her obsession is rekindled, and she will do anything for revenge, even become a killer herself-dragging her whole family into the nightmare once again, as lies and secrets are uncovered.

What I Thought:

17262454 They say never judge a book by its cover – but does this also apply to the title? I read The Last Winter of Dani Lancing purely because its title intrigued me and I was not disappointed with the contents.

I LOVE crime fiction and this books rates among the best that I have read, in terms of unfolding elements of the story at a reasonable pace, keeping you guessing and not revealing its secrets too early, and then just when you think you know what’s going on, a twist comes along and knocks you back to right where the author wants you.

I think a major hook for me was the ‘there but for the grace of God’ style of the characters. Dani’s parents and her best friend, Tom, are they way they are now, twenty years after Dani’s death, BECAUSE of Dani’s death. Their blurring fof the line between good and bad, their obsessions and depressions might all have been so different if Dani were still alive and Dani’s dad, Jim, particularly struck a chord with me, being so desperate to still have Dani with him, that her presence appears physical to him.

When the reveal of what actually happened to Dani comes, it is a complete surprise – but I don’t want to ‘pre-blow your socks’ – I’d definitely recommend you read the book yourself.

There is an associated short story, The Sad Man, that focuses on Tom Bevans and is on my TBR pile.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley, but the review reflects my honest opinions.

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2 Responses to Book Review: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P. D. Viner

  1. P.D. Viner says:

    Thank you for the lovely and thoughtful review. I hope you like The Sad Man, it fills in some of Tom Bevans’s back story. On August 1st a second novella is released (also free) called The Ugly Man. It is set in 1976 and is the story of the first big case Patty investigated as a crime reporter. Then (in the UK) on August 14 the sequel to The Last Winter of Dani Lancing comes out. Summer of Ghosts begins 6 months later and follows the aftermath of the events in Durham cathedral.

    Really glad you liked the book and promote reading and writers. It is much appreciated.
    All the very best. Phil

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