Her Last Mistake – Book Review

Detective Gina Harte #6 by Carla Kovach
Published: May 7, 2020

Her Last Mistake opens to the wedding reception of Kerry and Ed Powell. Kerry is one of Holly’s closest friends, which also includes Lilly and Francesca. Together, the four girls have called themselves the “Awesome Foursome’ since school days. During the party, the man Holly has been secretly seeing tells her he wants to talk to her. She’s hoping he has finally come to terms with some news she has shared with him so she does as she’s asked and goes to the meeting place. The reader is never given the man’s name, so we have no idea who is approaching her when she is attacked and killed.

Detective Gina Harte’s daughter, Hannah, and granddaughter have recently come to visit for a little bit and have made plans for the week. But when DCI Chris Briggs calls Harte asking her to put her vacation on hold for the case the relationship that Gina was attempting to repair with Hannah becomes strained again.

During the course of the investigation, Holly’s three friends, their husbands, and families of Holly’s become a main focus to the police investigation. I found their dynamics to be very interesting and how envy and jealousy plays a part. As I read through the story, the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” continually entered my mind, which then reminded me of the politics of middle school. As I tossed over each of these characters in my mind, I began wondering if in the character’s complexities that there were parts of their emotional make-up that never matured past that age. But, there are additional players too – such as the party crashers that keep reappearing at odd places throughout the story and a girl named Cass who seems a bit uncertain about herself and obsessive too. In fact, a good amount of the story focuses on Cass as she tries to reconnect with a lost friend.

The story was a very pleasant read and a nice way to pass the time. What did bother me a little, however, is something surprised me and that I wanted to point out: The Description. The summary indicates that Holly was someone everyone hates. That they bad-talked her a lot behind her back and then completely stopped talking once the investigation began. As a result, I expected an over the top character that everyone hated for various reasons and was just someone they put up with due to connections or money or 100 other reasons. Upon reading the description, I thought to myself “Ohh… I can’t wait to find out what she’s done that makes everyone hate her so much.” But truthfully, I did not actually find this to be the case at all and I kind of felt a little deceived by the description. Holly dies too early in the story for you to ever get the sense that people hate her and gossip about her constantly. Then, when she dies I never had the overwhelming impression that individuals didn’t want to talk about the murder because they didn’t want to look guilty. I mean some, yes. But in my view, if they didn’t want to talk it was because they didn’t know who did it or weren’t really sure what they might be able to provide. They seemed to act like regular characters/individuals. If anything, they felt more unemotionally detached than I thought they should be, which again made me think about middle school politics and friendships at that age.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was one of those that went real fast once you started, which are definitely my preferred type of books. Nothing worse that struggling with a book and forcing yourself to read through it. I did have a general sense of who was responsible by the time the ending came around, but it didn’t stop my enjoyment of the story.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

Description:

Dressed in a sage green bridesmaid dress, and smiling for pictures, Holly is the happiest she’s ever been. Hours later, Holly is dead.

People love to hate Holly Long. Smart, beautiful and a woman who men find it hard to say no to, she’s the town’s most gossiped about resident.

Now Holly’s body lies in her hotel room, strangled at her best friend’s wedding party. And the gossip has stopped, because nobody wants to look like they did it.

When police search Holly’s immaculate apartment, amongst her stylish furnishings and expensive jewellery, they discover a different side to Holly. Orderly and precise, she wasn’t the chaotic party girl everyone thought her to be. In fact, Holly was a planner, and her next plan was to come out and tell her biggest secret – something she had been hiding for months, something that had the potential to ruin the lives of more than one wedding guest.

There are plenty of people who might have wanted to kill Holly, but only one who has finally made good on their promise.

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