The Last Winter of Dani Lancing-.D. Viner

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing
P.D. Viner
Crown, Oct 8 2013, $26.00
ISBN: 9780804136822

Two decades ago in Durham, someone raped and murdered British college student Dani Lancing. The case remains unsolved but impacted the twentyish victim’s parents as neither of the separated pair moved on with their grief. Unable to cope with her death, Dani’s father Jim lives with his child’s ghost who does not remember the deadly assault on her; while her avenging seeking mother Patricia vigilantly searches for her daughter’s killer in a compulsion that will end with either the psychopath dead or her death. Also affected by Dani’s death is her childhood friend Tom “The Sad Man” Bevans; who after all this time still suffers from unrequited love and a sad obsession that rivals that of Patricia. He knows her death motivated him to become a cop in order to help victims and their loved one with closure.

Now a Detective Superintendent, Tom Bevans applies modern forensic technology to evidence gathered at the homicide scene twenty years ago. He informs Dani’s parents he plans to open the cold case, which triggers responses from Jim who refuses to lose his daughter for a second time; Patricia who renews her vendetta to kill the killer; Tom who hopes to move on; and those who prefer the murder remain unsolved.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a fascinating character driven police procedural that focuses on what happens to the victim’s loved ones after her brutal murder. The flashbacks enhance understanding Dani without the rose colored glasses of her friend and parents as well as what drives the grieving trio, but also detract from the present day suspense. Still readers will enjoy this complex tale as Dani sums up: “It’s lonely being dead.”

Harriet Klausner

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