The Four Last Things

The Four Last Things

Book - 2009
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A woman minister of the Anglican Church in England and her husband, who is a policeman, search for their daughter who was abducted from the baby sitter's. Sally and Michael Appleyard learn that the snatch was the work of professional kidnapers and one of them is a killer.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2009
Edition: 1st Hyperion ed
Description: 384 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9781401322618
Branch Call Number: Tayl


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Nov 28, 2014

Reading this was slightly weird for me because I knew the big surprise that was sprung on us at the ending. I made the unfortunate mistake of half reading the second book in this series, thinking it was this one (don't ask me how that happened), and so I knew who Angel would turn out to be as soon as she started talking about her father and his new wife. I will be interested to get back to The Judgement of Strangers, book two, as Angel hadn't really made an appearance yet, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she got from the mostly normal person she started out as to the 'Angel, massacrer of innocents' that we see in this book. I also want to understand the psychopathy behind her motives, as Angel doesn't do any self-analysis and Eddie isn't capable.

At some points I found the language a little too flowery for my tastes, especially considering the type of book that it is, and some of the details of the plot too hazy, too vague. I felt like Eddie was an unreliable narrator because a number of the scenes that he describes come to us muddled due to unspecified illness creating fever, alcohol, or blackouts due to mental trauma. The reader is supposed to guess, or assume, what happened through the descriptions Eddie gives us, but those descriptions might be (or might not be) corrupted by hallucinations and nightmares, and so as the reader you can't really trust what he's telling you. He might be telling us what he saw, or he might have hallucinated the whole thing and actually spent the whole night in bed asleep.

Religion played a very important part in this story. Sally, mother of the kidnapped child, is a priest who isn't particularly welcomed to the parish she presides over. David's, her husband's, godfather, is a retired priest with no love for the idea of female priests (it's never made clear when this was set, except that there are mobile phones and that it's after the 80s). After the abduction of Lucy Sally frequently questions her faith, the likelihood of there actually being a god who takes any notice of the troubles of man, and whether her female priestliness is the reason for the abduction of her child - is she going against God by being an ordained woman and is she therefore being punished for her audacity.

The Last Four Things had an interesting premise, but it got a bit bogged down and slow moving whenever we switched to Sally's POV. All she seemed to do was pray, or attempt to pray, sleep (due to sleeping pills handed out by whichever police officer had drawn the short straw and was tasked with babysitting her) and move listlessly around the apartment, or whatever other building, she was in at that time. I think, if I didn't own the final book in the trilogy I would probably stop reading the series right now, as it is I do so I feel obliged to go on, but I'm not expecting the reading of the rest of The Judgement of Strangers to be filled with twists and turns or fireworks.

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