Hello book lovers, welcome back! As usual, today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy!
Last Day by Luanne Rice is a gripping psychological suspense story. It starts out with an intensity from page one that never lets up. The story delves into survivors of trauma, sisterhood, best friends, and small communities shaken by violence or death.
The plot begins with the brutal murder of Beth Lathrop who was six months pregnant. She is found by her sister Kate, strangled in her bed with her skull bashed. Kate also notices that a famous painting, “Moonlight,” is missing. This brings back another trauma suffered by Kate, Beth, and her mother. Twenty-three years earlier as teenagers, they and their mother spent 22 hours tied up in the basement of the family gallery. All three were gagged, and the mother suffocated as a result. Although the girls survived they suffered emotional trauma, especially Kate. Beth was able to move on, throwing herself fully into the art world, running the family gallery, and raising a beautiful daughter, now sixteen years old, with her husband Pete. Kate, instead, retreated into herself and took to the skies as a pilot, always on the run.
The police investigator assigned to the case, Conor Reid was the same one who worked the past case. He swore to protect the girls and is ridden with guilt that one of them was brutally murdered. Kate also decides to investigate and to find out what happened to her sister. While in the course of searching for answers she discovers secrets about Beth. It seems that the two sisters had the same best friends, Lulu and Scotty, throughout their life, and that Beth confided in them more than Kate.
The story will hold a reader’s interest from page one. They will take a journey with the characters as they learn about each other and try to find out why Beth was murdered.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Luanne Rice: One of the characters, Kate, came to me as I realized her sister would be murdered. I based it on a murder my family had to deal with in the 1980s. A woman was killed by her husband. My husband at the time was a witness as well as my stepdaughter who helped convict the man.
EC: Were there similarities between real life and the story?
LR: My family thought the husband could not do it since they were on a boat when the body was discovered. Before they left for the boat trip, they heard her husband call to her and ask her to telephone him if she did not feel well, since she was pregnant. However, my step daughter pointed out she had picked up the extension and that he was talking to a ringing phone. This story in the book has a lot of emotional truth and some details.
EC: Can you describe the characters? Let’s start with Scotty.
LR: Troubled, judgmental, jealous, and emotionally abusive with some rage.
EC: Can you describe Lulu?
LR: She had a bone deep comfort friendship with Beth and Kate. She kept incredible secrets from Kate that were told to her by Beth. She is protective and loving. I think she shows how a group can be close, but also there are different dynamics between individuals.
EC: How would you describe Kate?
LR: She idolized her sister and was very protective of her. Steady, stable, guarded, and feels free in the sky while flying. I think outwardly she is an adventurous person, while inwardly she is scared and has built defenses. Inwardly she is fragile. Her grandmother influenced her greatly. She was Kate’s savior with her strength and fortitude. She taught Kate to follow her heart and beliefs.
EC: How would you describe Beth?
LR: She took a lot of risks, a lot more than Kate. I think she is emotionally strong and brave. Elegant, refined, able to move on from the trauma.
EC: Are you more like Kate or Beth?
LR: In most ways I am more like Kate. But like Beth, I am willing to give someone more of a chance than is warranted. I guess I am a little bit of both. I think, like Beth I would have gone to visit my dad. I would have tried to understand him and would want to believe he did not do it.
EC: How would you describe Pete?
LR: He is a creep. Someone outwardly charming and superficially handsome. To some he is likeable and lovely, but behind closed doors he is a master manipulator and an emotionally abusive liar. He does exactly what he wants to do without regard for other’s feelings. Basically, a con man who played on Beth’s emotions. He sometimes had complete rage.
EC: Why make Kate a pilot?
LR: As she was coming into my mind I saw her behind the controls of a plane. At the same time, when I began writing this novel, I was in a small plane, flying to Block Island with my sister. It was a crystal clear cold winter day. Somethings about that day inspired some of the book. We took a hike just like Kate did with Lulu where they found the injured rabbit.
EC: Was the painting “Moonlight” real?
LR: No, but it was based on some painting I had of moonlight. I have a love of art from my mom who was an artist. I go to the art gallery twice a month.
EC: What did the rabbit represent in the story?
LR: Kate saved it because she could not save Beth. It symbolized Beth to Kate.
EC: A shout out about your next book?
LR: It is called Shadow Box. It is a follow-up book to this one. Conor and his brother will be in it. There is a murder and a disappearance. It will probably come out a year from now.
If you liked this article
From celebrated New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a riveting story of a seaside community shaken by a violent crime and a tragic loss.
Years ago, Beth Lathrop and her sister Kate suffered what they thought would be the worst tragedy of their lives the night both the famous painting Moonlight and their mother were taken. The detective assigned to the case, Conor Reid, swore to protect the sisters from then on.
Beth moved on, throwing herself fully into the art world, running the family gallery, and raising a beautiful daughter with her husband Pete. Kate, instead, retreated into herself and took to the skies as a pilot, always on the run. When Beth is found strangled in her home, and Moonlight goes missing again, Detective Reid can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.
Reid immediately suspects Beth’s husband, whose affair is a poorly kept secret. He has an airtight alibi—but he also has a motive, and the evidence seems to point to him. Kate and Reid, along with the sisters’ closest childhood friends, struggle to make sense of Beth’s death, but they only find more questions: Who else would have wanted Beth dead? What’s the significance of Moonlight?
Twenty years ago, Reid vowed to protect Beth and Kate—and he’s failed. Now solving the case is turning into an obsession . . .
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x