I absolutely love the title of this book: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing. It’s just perfect. In fact, I can imagine it as a movie. (Although I initially wondered about the spoonerism effect!?)
As for the book itself, by PD Viner… it’s also pretty damned good. I’ve been reading a lot lately and most novels I’ve gotten through in a night or two, and the story of Dani Lancing was no different.
I’d forgotten what the book blurb said the book was about, so when I first started I was a bit confused – if (when!) you read it you’ll see why!
Sadly Dani Lancing – the only daughter of Patty and Jim – was kidnapped and killed when she was 21. Those who loved her – her parents and long-time friend and wannabe-boyfriend Tom Bevan (now a police detective) – have not fared well in the 20 years since her murder.
Dani’s estranged parents coped as best they could. Jim’s held onto memories of his precious daughter as she once was, while Patty’s dedicated her disintegrating life to tracking down Dani’s killer.
Now, 20 years on and with the advent of technology there’s a new lead and all three who loved Dani struggle to find a way to deal with the unravelling mystery of her last days.
The book features plot twists and turns and deeply buried secrets I really didn’t see coming. Viner has a way of allowing us to become attached to each of the three mourners AND to Dani herself – whose life and actions continue to impact on her loved ones long after her death.
There are some interesting lessons in Dani’s story and in the repercussions of her death. Lessons about love and honesty and about whether we should protect our loved ones from knowledge which will save them suffering.
And then there’s the age-old dilemma of whether it’s worth digging up the past for answers which may be better left buried.
Was Dani really the perfect daughter, student and athlete everyone thought her to be?
This is PD Viner’s first novel, although he’s an accomplished filmmaker and has written for theatre. The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is most-definitely worth reading and is yet another book that you continue to ponder long after you’ve closed the cover (or turned off your eReader!) and continued with life.
The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by PD Viner was published in Australia by Random House, Crown Publishing New York and Random House UK and available from 8 October 2013.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.