Book Title: Last Breath
Author: Robert Bryndza
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: Erika Foster #4
Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Date Read: 04/11/17
Pub Date: 04/12/17
He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.
When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.
While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.
Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?
Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.
Once again, Rob has created a memorable story with timeless characters who are relatable and consistently taking me by surprise. How many authors have we read that begin to lose their mojo 3-4 books into their series? I’ll admit to holding my breath before picking up book #3 in the series, Dark Water, as I knew we were getting to that pivotal moment, the one that shows if a series will stand the true test of time or become a flop like so many before it. I was so pleased and grateful when it turned out to be a 5 star read for myself, and once again found myself doubly pleased at how amazing book #4 was as well! If you haven’t started the series yet, I would highly recommend going back and picking up the first book titled The Girl In The Ice and read them in order. While each book can be read as a stand alone, I would encourage you to put in the time to experience Erika and her crew from the beginning; there are so many little details and meaningful moments you’ll miss out on otherwise.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m demented for loving books as dark and twisted as this one is. What has enabled Bryndza to rapidly publish these books we are all clamoring for is the delicate balance he creates between graphic, thrilling content and personal, engaging moments with his characters in their private lives. I remember having an instant connection with a minor character named Isaac in the first installment and practically begged the author for more from him. Sure enough, the very next book brought him to the spotlight and gave us a deeper understanding of who he is and how he fits into the bigger picture. Rob has managed to do this in each book, bringing characters he could have very well left as background noise to the forefront of our thoughts; this is what has made him a 1-click author for me. You know, the ones you’ll purchase anything they write just as long as their name is slapped on it?
In fact, speaking of characterization, it’s the main focus of this particular novel. Last Breath is by no means a whodunnit; we actually find out quite early on the who, with the method following shortly behind, and finally are revealed as to the why in the end. My point is, the plot is fantastic, thrilling, and expertly written, but it’s not the show stopping feature that makes this an excellent read. In lieu of continuing to use a formula that could be considered a ritualistic pattern to the series, the author chose to go a different route and spice things up. Instead of making the focus on the cases and some big, unexpected twist, he chose to use this platform as a means to deepen our connections with the characters and forge a stronger bond to these fictional beings who are the reason our feelings are so emotionally connected to these stories. I can’t say much, but many of the “twists” I found were involving the direction of the characters’ lives; this was clearly a gamble well spent as it worked wholly in hooking any remaining part of my being that wasn’t yet fully invested in this series.
I’m sure you’ve seen my reviews for these books popping up on Goodreads over the past 18 months and thought Gee she loves these books WE GET IT! I implore you to give this series a chance if you enjoy this type of read and haven’t yet done so. These are books that are easy to fly through; once you pick them up you simply can’t put them down. The writing just continues to get stronger with each installment and I find myself having a serious book hangover upon completing each one. Highly, HIGHLY recommended to fans of crime fiction and police procedurals. Well done Rob and looking forward to #5!
*Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was a pleasure to take part in the blog tour!
About The Author:
Robert Bryndza grew up on the east coast of England, but now lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband. His debut romantic comedy The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard became an Amazon bestseller. He’s published further Coco Pinchard adventures and two more best selling stand-alone romantic comedies, but has always harboured a desire to write crime, and was a finalist in the BBC Writersroom Drama Academy.