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Her Last Breath


Her Last Breath

Fans of psychological suspense, rejoice! Hilary Davidson delivers again.

Life has been a little sketchy for Deirdre Crawley, but it has just taken a turn for the worse. Her sister, Caroline, died suddenly, leaving Deirdre more devastated than she thought possible. Compounding her grief is a strange email from Caroline, sent days after her death, that says, “No matter what it looks like, my death won’t be an accident.” And she claims that her husband, Theo, will be the one responsible. In the message, she implores Deirdre to see to it that Theo is brought to justice. While they could not have been less alike, the sisters were close, so honoring Caroline’s wishes becomes Deirdre’s new mission.

"Nobody is who they appear to be, and nothing is as it seems. HER LAST BREATH is devilishly devious, delightfully scary and edge-of-your-seat thrilling."

Unlike Deirdre, Caroline lived in a world of privilege, despite her humble beginnings. The family she married into is wealthy almost beyond imagination. She joined and embraced the family business, but Theo got out, wanting to put as much distance between himself and the family empire as possible. Theo and his sister, Juliet, don’t get along, to put it mildly, and Juliet plays a major role in running the company. Plus, Theo’s relationship with his father is lukewarm at best. The uniting factor between Caroline and Theo was Teddy, their well-loved little boy. Nonetheless, there seems to have been trouble in paradise. Rumor has it that Caroline was seeking a divorce and enjoying the company of another man. If true, the other man might deserve a bit of scrutiny, too.

Meanwhile, Deirdre lives in a spartan basement space, employed by a shady delivery service. She’s an outspoken loner with a bit of a chip on her shoulder and light on friends, although true to the ones she does have. She was close to her sister but estranged from their father. The funeral draws them together now, along with Theo’s side of the family. Emotions are already running high, and Deirdre has little patience for making nice with people she despises. However, she discovers that Caroline sent their father an email on the same day that she received hers. So putting aside her desire to maintain a healthy distance from him, she breaks her silence in order to find out the content of that message.

The cryptic clues disclosed in the email lead her to surprising breakthroughs. The police think that Caroline died because of heart problems, severe enough to cause a collapse during her morning jog. That means Deirdre is pretty much on her own when it comes to solving a murder that is not officially a murder. It’s tough believing who to trust. While she was once a fan of her brother-in-law, now she sees him as a killer. Questions swirl around Theo’s alibi, and she wants answers. But confronting Theo might not be the wisest course of action, considering Caroline fingered him as her murderer. Who then? Deirdre could never rely on her father, but she may need his help now. None of her choices feel like good ones. But then none of what she thought she knew feels like the truth.

Early on, we get to know Deirdre as a fierce character who never gives up, like a dog with a scent. Her loyalty to her sister keeps her on the killer’s trail, which twists and curves and switches back time and again. Through both Theo’s and Deirdre’s narratives, we build a portrait of Carolyn that morphs as the past comes into better focus. Nobody is who they appear to be, and nothing is as it seems. HER LAST BREATH is devilishly devious, delightfully scary and edge-of-your-seat thrilling.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 23, 2021

Her Last Breath
by Hilary Davidson