Last One to Die
Cynthia Murphy


One of Us is Lying meets This Lie Will Kill You but with a chilling supernatural twist that will keep you guessing until the very end . . . Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London. 16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her. Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he's kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! Nonetheless, there's something eerie about the museum. As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next? Packed with voice-driven whodunit storytelling, and a retro slasher-movie feel reminiscent of cult classics Scream and Urban Legend, this dark, pacey, and irresistibly-creepy debut really has something for everybody!

Your reviews

Beverley Somerset,
16-year- old Niamh Hughes has come to London from Ireland to attend a drama course. She is looking forward to a fun filled summer of freedom, but things take a terrifying turn when she discovers the murdered body of another student in her hall of residence. Niamh soon realises that other girls have also been attacked - and that they all bear a striking resemblance to her. As the attacks continue, Niamh realises that she has become unwittingly caught up in a series of frightening and spooky events, and soon begins to wonder who she can trust. Niamh has a work placement at the Victorian Street Museum, and the author blends modern day action with Victorian history. Niamh also has a budding romance with Tommy, her attractive co-worker at the museum.

This is a well-planned and, at times, truly scary thriller with a supernatural twist. The novel opens with a transcript of a police interview, which gives the reader an early insight into the attacker and the nature of his crimes. We learn that he has metal fingernails, and are told how he uses them! The author then skilfully moves the reader from one chilling scenario to another as Niamh's nightmare unfolds.

As the story progresses, there are some frightening incidents which are beautifully described. The author uses many devices to increase the tension; a seance at a party, shadowy figures hiding in the dark. The scene in which Niamh is in a deserted underground station and hears the sound of metal scraping on metal behind her is extremely atmospheric. In another incident, Niamh is trapped in the basement of a library, and the author brilliantly describes Niamh's panic and desperation as she tries to escape.

Niamh is a great character, brave and feisty and determined to solve the horrific mystery she has become embroiled in. The other characters in the book are all well written and the author makes the reader distrust each of them so that we do not know until the end of the book who is truly on Niamh's side. I especially liked Jess, who becomes a real ally to Niamh. The ending of the book is a tour-de force of horror, with open coffins, bundles of bones and Niamh in deadly danger from a vengeful ghost.

This is an excellent debut novel from an extremely talented writer. The book is fast paced, with short, exciting chapters, each ending on a cliff hanger so as to keep the reader turning the pages and I am sure that it will be extremely popular with young adult readers. It also contains the first two chapters of Ms Murphy's next novel, which sounds to be as exciting as Last One to Die!

I feel that this is an author who is taking the first steps on what promises to be a very successful career.

400 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

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