Her Last Holiday by C.L.Taylor

addictive | pacy | twisty

what it says on the cover …

You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

PUBLISHED: 29th April 2021
SHELF: Thriller | Mystery
AUTHOR: C.L. Taylor
FORMATS: Paperback | Hardback | Kindle

Thank you to fellow #bookblogger and #bookshoplover, Kel Mason @kelmason for this hardback copy of #HerLastHoliday by @callytaylor (published by @AvonBooksUK, an imprint of @HarperCollins)

my review

Her Last Holiday is the first book I’ve read by C.L. Taylor.  Her psychological thriller novels are very well known and highly regarded, and so when I won a copy in a #BookTwitter competition I was rather chuffed.  It wasn’t just the promising cover design that caught my eye … this is one of those books where the publishers have been rather creative with the hardcover secreted away behind the dust jacket, and this one came with a warning: may cause addiction.

Its short, punchy chapters flash back and forth between two timelines; the present day, and the mysterious events of two years previously. I do love a dual timeline … the crafty slow reveal, the second-guessing, the game of cat-and-mouse the author plays with her readers.  

Three characters narrate these chapters; Fran and Kate whose stories are set in the present day, and Jenna – Fran’s younger sister – who narrates the events that took place in Gozo, two years previously.  This carefully manipulated format contrives to prolong the suspense, with Jenna’s chapters retrospectively recounting the events that led up to her dramatic, clifftop disappearance.  Fran’s present day narrative leads the novel; she’s a no nonsense woman placed utterly out of her comfort zone at SoulShrink Retreat in North Wales; the first retreat hosted by Kate and Tom since Tom’s recent release from prison.  It’s through Fran’s watchfully jaded eyes that almost every other character becomes someone unreliable and untrustworthy … but she is there to discover what really happened to her little sister after all.  Top of her list of suspects is Tom, but Kate’s shape-shifting nature casts doubt over her own culpability, as do the behaviours of several other guests at the retreat.

Her Last Holiday is most definitely a compelling page-turner that’s generous with its secrets and twists. But perhaps a little too generous.  A preposterous statement maybe, but I do rather like to happen upon a sly little detail in the plot that my armchair-detective-self can grasp on to.  I really didn’t see the ‘who’ of the whodunnit coming … not by a long shot.  The reveal itself was bloodied and dramatic, and was one of an increasing number of scenes in the second half of the book that ask for quite a significant suspension of disbelief by the reader.  For me, this is a marmite book that I had a love/not-so-love relationship with … on the whole I enjoyed it and found it very difficult to put down, but the implausibilities became a distraction. 


bookshop.org | waterstones.com | amazon.co.uk

author bio

photo from hannahbegbie.com

C.L. Taylor is an award winning Sunday Times bestselling author of eight gripping psychological thrillers including Sleep, a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for autumn 2019.

She has also written two Young Adult thrillers, The Treatment and The Island, which was be published in January 2021.

C.L. Taylor’s books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play and have been translated into over 25 languages and optioned for TV.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She lives in Bristol with her partner and son.

5 thoughts on “Her Last Holiday by C.L.Taylor

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