Her Last Secret by P L Kane

January 21, 2020

Jordan Radcliffe is found stabbed to death.

Her boyfriend’s finger prints are on the knife and his clothes are covered in her blood.

Case closed… Or is it?

When Jordan’s estranged father Jake learns of his only daughter’s death, he is convinced that there is more to her murder than he is being told. But Jake hasn’t seen Jordan for over three years and, with secrets of her own, she was far from the child he abandoned all those years ago.

Jake’s ex-wife Jules, is reluctant to let him waltz back into her life. But with a question mark hanging over the case, Jake knows that he must piece together the fragments of evidence before it is too late.

Will he ever discover the truth?

This week’s review is the crime debut from author P L Kane, Her Last Secret.

The premise of the story is simple; a grieving father, Jake, is searching for answers. His daughter’s death is so inexplicable, so unexpected, he can barely accept that it has happened. Jake becomes consumed with uncovering the details behind the crime. He can’t move on until he understands the who, the what and the why of it all.

Kane’s taut narrative focuses on the human cost of a tragedy. The complex relationship between Jake and his ex-wife Jules also plays out in centre stage. There is acrimony, but also a sense of shared responsibility. Jordan will always be their daughter, and her death re-ignites all manner of feelings that have been long buried.

I think it is the characterisation where Kane’s writing excels. It certainly raises this above your standard crime thriller fare. Jake and Jules are so well fleshed out, they feel real. These are two ordinary people who have had to deal with an extraordinary situation. What’s the phrase? No parent should ever outlive their children.  Jordan’s murder has left Jake and Julie both traumatised. It’s fascinating to see how their already brittle relationship splinters even further. Their actions and reactions are pitched just right, blaming one another one moment and then reminiscing about their old life the next. The shared history that exists between them both keeps bubbling back up to the surface in a jumble of emotions.

This isn’t just a story about a man and a woman dealing with the death of a loved one.  This is also the story of a man and woman dealing with the end of a chapter in their lives. Jake and Jules are forced to confront the ghosts from their collective past. Jake walked away from his life because he thought it was the right thing to do, but there was that niggling itch of self-doubt. Jordan’s death ensures there will never be a resolution to the question “what if?” All Jake can do is search for answers as he will never have the opportunity to reconcile with his daughter. I don’t think I can imagine a situation much worse. Missing the chance to even say goodbye, heart-breaking doesn’t even come close to describing it.

As events build to the climactic reveal, each passing scene grows darker and darker in tone. Jake’s desperation becomes all encompassing. He needs to discover the truth surrounding his daughter’s death. Having failed Jordan to often in life he refuses to fail her once again. The final denouement is a satisfyingly twisted pay off.

Fans of television shows like Broadchurch and The Killing, and I count myself amongst them, should seek out this novel. Like its televisual cousins, Her Last Secret tracks how a single violent act sends ripples out into a community. The reader is thrown into the chaos of Jake’s life and we get to experience every detail of his journey. The author expertly details the bonds that exist within a family, even a broken one, and the nature of grief.

Part psychological drama, part character study, Her Last Secret is a captivating and intense experience. It’s not often I find crime novels quite so emotive.  I’ve read a lot of Kane’s other genre fiction, if you rummage around elsewhere on the site I’m sure you’ll find a few reviews of his work here and there*. His crime debut is just as self-assured and compelling as any of his other books. I look forward to more in the future.

My musical recommendation is the soundtrack to the television series Unforgotten by Michael Price. It perfectly captures that sense of tragedy and loss that Kane imbues his entire novel with.

Her Last Secret is published by HQ and is available now.

*For reference, P L Kane is a pseudonym for Paul Kane.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *