Last Request by Liz Mistry #BookReview #BlogTour

You only have one shot at this. Your message to someone you love. What is your last request?’

When human remains are discovered under Bradford’s derelict Odeon car park, DS Nikita Parekh and her team are immediately called to the scene.

Distracted by keeping her young nephew out of trouble, Nikki is relieved when the investigation is transferred to the Cold Case Unit, and she can finally focus on her family.

But after the identity of the victim is revealed, she’s soon drawn back into the case. The dead man is a direct link to her painful past.

As the body count begins to rise, Nikki must do everything she can to stop the killer in their tracks before anyone else gets hurt – even if it means digging up secrets she had long kept hidden…

For readers of Angela Marsons and Helen H. Durrant comes a gritty new crime series featuring bold, brave and ferocious D.S. Nikki Parekh.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Last Request today. Many thanks to Liz Mistry and to HQ Digital for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

Having come late to Liz Mistry's DI Gus McGuire series, I jumped at the chance to read her new series from the very beginning. The lead character this time is DS Nikita (Nikki) Parekh and I could tell from within a few pages of her appearance that she is somebody I am really looking forward to following as the series progresses.
The prologue is set back in 1983, as an unnamed character nurses their dying mother and we discover that her husband infected her with HIV, along with at least fifteen other victims who he raped - both male and female. As their mother passes away, she has one last request, asking her devastated child to live their dream and to do everything they had always planned to do before.
The story then moves to the present day and it's Nikki's family rather than her job who are causing her problems - although as the book progresses, there are more and more times where her personal and professional life converge. It's not uncommon for the protagonist in police procedurals to have their own problems to deal with and Nikki is no exception. It's not surprising that as a single mother to three children she finds it almost impossible to get the work-life balance right and when she puts the job first, she is wracked with guilt. That said, she is a complicated woman who fluctuates between avoiding confrontation and rushing headlong into it and so there are times when her decisions are open to criticism. As we learn more about her past, it becomes obvious why she is this complex mix of belligerence and vulnerability. She is strong because she has to be but underneath she is a deeply damaged woman and as much as I don't want to see her suffer, I am really excited to see how her character evolves in the future.
The discovery of a skeleton under the Odeon's car park is initially considered an investigation for the Cold Case Unit but the identity of the victim means Nikki has to become involved. While some of her colleagues are only too happy to think the worst of her, she is supported throughout by her boss, Archie (and his 'proverbials') and especially her partner, Sajid. I adored Saj who always has Nikki's back but isn't averse to doling out some tough love when he thinks it's necessary. His own storyline looks as if it's going to be fascinating too; as a gay man living with his boyfriend, Langley, he should be blissfully happy but he is forced to live a double life and when he is with his family in Dewsbury, must be the traditional Muslim man. 
Some of the chapters are written from the killer's perspective and it's a chilling voice of a true sadist. This is somebody who takes great pleasure in torturing and killing their victims. They also revel in watching their heinous acts back and there's a really malevolent feeling to these parts of the book. They are not the only criminal in the novel, however, as Nikki also has to protect her family from the attentions of a twisted and vicious local gangster and his cronies.
There is a lot going on in Last Request but it never becomes overly complicated. This is a tightly plotted, fast paced and tense thriller which is also an intriguing exploration of life in a multicultural city and how the various characters are affected by their backgrounds - it's particularly noticeable that Nikki comes from a similar place as many of the unsavoury individuals she comes up against. Last Request is a really cracking introduction to the DS Nikita Parekh series and I'm eagerly looking forward to what comes next.

Last Request will be published by HQ Digital on 16th October, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry's life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city ... and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as 'Warm, Rich and Fearless' whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it's all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers' feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on 'the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction' and 'why expansive narratives matter', Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary - her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.
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  1. Sooo glad you liked it Karen. This review moved me to tears. Thanks for taking part in the #LastRequest blog tour


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