The Last by Hanna Jameson
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Hello and welcome to another edition of me writing stuff online.
Today’s book is “The Last” by Hanna Jameson, that’s because it is released in paperback in the UK today and it is Waterstones thriller of the month for august.
For me it was one of the first books I read this year and also one of the best reads so far, got it as an arc copy read the blurb and thought ooooh interesting, the synopsis read as follows:
Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm
Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn't ignored Nadia's last message.
Twenty people remain in Jon's hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.
Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It's clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.
As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?
Exiting right? Well, yes that is the whole point of a synopsis, and it worked on me, this book ticks a few boxes for me, Post-apocalyptic and crime and I do love both.
But this is not your usual post-apocalyptic story, not your pandemic virus, nor your usual zombie outbreak, not your demon infested hell on earth or massive monster story. No, this is a nuclear apocalypse story, yes it has been done before, but not in the same way (as far as I have read), this is a realistic event, brought on by a political situation a bit too close to real life current affairs.
The story centres on Jon Keller, an historian away on a work trip in Switzerland when the world changes, trapped in an hotel in the Alps with an ever-dwindling number of occupants (usually by suicide) and resources. In an attempt to stay sane in this new world Jon decides to record the happenings at the hotel for posterity. After finding the body of a young girl in a water tank on the roof of the building, with the help of fellow survivor Tomi (right leaning, wonder who she resembles) he is set to find out who the killer is or was.
Nothing is better than a well-crafted post apocalyptical tale (realistic or not), and Hanna Jameson has done exactly that, crafted a fine tale. It is fast paced and unrelenting (read it in almost one go, had pesky things like sleep and work come in the way). The characters are believable, Jon is quite unlikable at times, but this humanises him. Usually in this kind of fiction you have characters that acts in ways that people would never act, but here they act with quiet resignation of their possible fate, Jon clings to recording the events as they unfold and to the investigation of the murdered girl as a way to stay sane. Is there a point to find the killer when most(possibly) of the world is gone? When another body is just a statistic.
The atmosphere in the book is palpable, dark and moody. The confinement of the hotel grows ever tighter and makes the story a bit more claustrophobic. For the story you never know how it will turn out, there was quite a few times I said to myself “I did not see that coming!”
All in all, one of my favourite books this year, a strong Post-apocalyptic tale that is all to possible. To anyone who has not read it, go buy it, lend it from your local library, befriend someone who owns it, gain their trust and then borrow it, or get a sugar daddy(or mommy) for the sole purpose of him/her buying you this book!(the last one is a bit extreme, but people done more for less)
If you liked this book then check out another of my top post-apocalyptic tales “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
Notes on book:
Page number: 400
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd