The tag line to Carol Wyer’s “Last Lullaby” reads “Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?” I’ll give you a hint, she’s not. She’s dead. Beaten to death with a baseball bat. Wyer’s book takes place in the suburbs of Manchester, England–as best as I could tell–so my question is this, why does someone have a baseball bat in England? This isn’t the first time I’ve encounter baseball bats in an UK mystery. Turns out baseball bats ARE a thing in the UK. Weird.
So Charlotte is dead and Detective Natalie Ward is on the scene. Not only does Ward have to deal with multiple suspects which gives this police procedural a sort-of-old English mystery feel, her spouse is not happy with her hours. I gave this tired trope of the disgruntled spouse a pass and read on because Wyer is damn good at telling a story. Everything is tightly organized and the suspects come at Ward and her squad at rapid fire pace. The book usually follows Ward during the investigation and sometimes jumps to other squad members. Somewhere in Chapter Nine, Wyer plugs in a paragraph of 53 words of a suspect’s point of view and then back the police’s point of view. Took me right out of the damn story. But I got back in, because again Wyer’s a good story teller.*
And then half-way through the book, Wyer jumps to the point of view of an unnamed killer. “Last Lullaby” alternates chapter by chapter between the police and the killer.
I went into this police procedural expecting be bored at a typically unrealistic police detective book and that was not the case. Oh, it wasn’t realistic, but Wyer has a good mystery at the heart of HER police procedural and then morphs into something a bit different. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the killer’s point of view, Wyer kept my interest till the end.
*The book’s first chapter was during Charlotte and her husband’s angry drive home.