Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing; P.D. Viner

 The Last Winter of Dani Lancing; P.D. Viner (Crown Publishing - 2013)

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing was a challenging read for me.  I almost tossed it aside at the 40+ page mark. The writing was all over the place. However, based on a few rave reviews I had read, I decided to continue, anxious to find out more about Dani Lancing.

In a nutshell, twenty years earlier, Dani Lancing was a college student who had been kidnapped, raped and murdered. It was a crime that had never been solved. Everyone who loved Dani were deeply affected. Her parents, Patty and Jim, watched their marriage dissolve afterward. Even Dani's boyfriend Tom was deeply affected. He has made a career of investigating crimes and violence against women. With a promising lead in the 20 year old case and new advances in DNA testing, there is still a slim chance that someone might be brought to justice.

The story of Dani's life through the time of her death, is told in bits and bobs and follows no particular sequence. Probably the only character that I liked in this story was Jim, Dani's father. Her death had such a profound effect on him. He clung to the memory of his daughter. He spoke to her daily and her ghostly presence helps him to get from one day to the next. All this was touching, but then again some seemed a bit too strange as well. As for Dani's mom Patty, she was so full of anger and to me seemed only interested in getting revenge.

For me the novel was one that took focus, commitment and concentration for too little reward. Along the way there were a lot of leads that look promising, but they didn't pan out. While that generally works well in a mystery for me, it just didn't work with this story. In addition, being pulled from the present, back to the 1980s and then back to the present again, coupled with too many points of view only served to weaken my overall enthusiasm for finding out how this one might end.

Sorry, folks, even though I generally enjoy psychological mysteries, this one did not work for me.
2/5 stars
(review copy - Amazon; Crown Publishing and Edelweiss)


  1. Hm, I have the audio of this and now I don't think it will be worth listening to.

  2. The story line sounds like it could be promising, it's too bad it didn't come together for you. I sometimes want to put a book down, but continue because of good reviews. But then, I usually get to the end and regret that I stuck with it. Thanks for this review, I'll probably take a pass.

  3. Ok, one I can skip!

  4. It does sound like a good premise... sorry to hear it didn't deliver.

  5. I appreciate your honest review, Diane. I'm sorry this book didn't work for you but we can't like them all! I find it so frustrating when I put the time and effort into reading a book and I don't get much out of it. I've only read one or two other reviews of this book. I don't think it's one I'll rush to read. I hope you enjoy the next book you read much more :o)

  6. I completely agree: the writing was all over the place. Normally I love psychological thrillers, too, but this was just too piecey (contrived?).


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