I don’t read a lot of crime fiction, so when I do it’s because it sounds too good not to read, and Lest We Forgive (Detective Liz Moorland #1) by Phillipa Nefri Clark was exactly that.
It had me hooked from the get-go and I stayed up until god knows what time reading it because I couldn’t put it down (didn’t want to, who needs sleep).
The cast of characters was vast but well done. I felt like I already knew Vince, the bitter, reclusive retired cop who is the driving force behind wanting to find out what really happened to cause the crash that took his daughter Suzie and her husband David, leaving him fighting for custody of his granddaughter Mel against her godparents, Carla and Bradley, the latter being business partners with David.
There was a lot of emotional baggage to unpack with Vince, he’s a complicated character and I think if he hadn’t been forced to deal with it after taking on the care of Mel, then maybe he would never have got there and started to heal.
Vince is a force to be reckoned with and he will go to any lengths to uncover the truth, drawing his ex-police partner and friend, Detective Liz Moorland, who was called to the scene of the accident, into his investigation. Liz is already investigating the disappearance of an escaped and dangerous prisoner but is drawn into the investigation of the crash when evidence is uncovered that proves it wasn’t an accident. I really liked Liz, she was a strong female character who wasn’t afraid to go after the truth or put her partner Pete in his place when he acted out of line. The friendship between Vince and Liz blurred some of the lines in her investigation, but also helped Vince on his path to healing.
Mel was a fabulous character, for a little girl who’s lost her parents and had her life completely turned upside down, she brings a lot to this story and plays an important part in uncovering some of the clues that lead Vince and Liz to dig further into David and Bradley’s business, but also put her in danger. There are also some lovely scenes between Mel and her kitten Robbie and a horse called Apple and also Vince’s neighbour.
There are many twists in this story, unexpected connections that arise, danger from different sources, schemes and blackmail and dodgy business dealings and more murders. The bad guys are not nice people at all and I was stunned at the lengths some were willing to go to for money.
There is also a deeply emotional element running through as Vince, Mel and Carla deal with their losses Vince also has to deal with his past in order to be what Mel needs in the present and Carla deals with her desperate need to have a child and wants custody of Mel.
This book had me rapidly turning pages as I was drawn into uncovering the truth behind all that was going on, the tension ramping up to a really great ending.
Though the series is Detective Liz Moorland’s, I feel we only uncovered the tip of the iceberg with who she is so I’m looking forward to more Detective Liz Moorland books in the future and finding out just how far she will go to uncover the crimes and catch the bad guys.
Paperback available now
Ebook available March 28th 2023 – available for preorder