Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh is a multi-award-winning and bestselling author whose books have been published in more than 40 countries. She is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity that supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

The Last Party

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.

His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.

The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Chapter 1

New Year’s Day

No one in Cwm Coed can remember what year the swim began, but they know they wouldn’t welcome the new year in any other way. They don’t remember which year it was that Dafydd Jones went in wearing nothing but a Santa hat, or when the rugby lads bombed off the jetty and drenched poor Mrs Williams. Or what year it was when mulled wine became part of the tradition, instead of hot chocolate.

But everyone will remember today’s swim.

There’s been snow on the peaks since before Christmas, and even with the protection from the mountains, the temperature in the town hasn’t climbed above seven degrees. The lake itself is even colder. Four degrees! people gasp, at once gleeful and incredulous. We must be mad!

As if rebelling against the clear skies, wisps of mist curl above the surface of the water, their reflection giving the disorientating impression that the sky’s been tipped upside down. Above the mist, the air is vivid blue, an echo of last night’s moon suspended above the forest.

From the very top of Pen y Ddraig mountain, Llyn Drych seems more river than lake. It’s long and serpent-shaped, each bend a flick of the dragon’s tail it’s said to represent. Drych means Mirror, and when the wind drops and the water lies still, the surface shimmers like silver. The reflection of the mountain stretches into the centre of the lake, so solid you feel you could step onto it, no hint of the black and fathomless depths beneath.

Along the path which winds its way up the south side of the mountain – from the dragon’s back to its head – ramblers stoop to pick a pebble from the path. They straighten, feel the weight of it in their hands, then look around sheepishly, before hurling the stone towards the water. Legend has it Llyn Drych’s dragon rises up if its tail is hit – few ramblers can resist the myth.

Around the edge of the lake, pine trees stand sentry, their shoulders so close that if one were felled, you could imagine them all toppling, one after another. The trees steal the view from the village of Cwm Coed, but they take the worst of the weather too, which feels like a fair exchange to the people who live there.

On the far side of the water – less than a kilometre from where the crowd is now gathering – a line of buildings squats in the foothills. The trees directly in front of them have been ripped from the ground; the wood used to clad the lodges and make the vast carved sign which stands at the end of the long, private drive – each letter as tall as a man.

The Shore.

There are five of them, so far. Two-storey rectangular boxes, with timber clad roofs and decks thrusting forwards, extending out above the lake on stilts rising from the mist. Metal ladders glint in the winter sun, the pontoons empty of the boats which tug at their ropes in summer.

Luxury lakeside lodges, the glossy brochure calls them.

Carafanau ffansi, Ffion’s mam says. Fancy caravans. Airs and graces.

A bloody eyesore, most of the village agree. And at that price! For a place you can’t even live in all year round. Owners are not permitted to make The Shore their primary residence, the website says. As if North Wales needs any more weekenders.

Soon, there’ll be another row behind this first. Another, behind that. A spa, a gym, shops, an outdoor swimming pool.

‘God knows why they can’t swim in the lake.’ Ceri Jones pulls off her tracksuit bottoms, perched in the boot of the car; goose-fleshed thighs white against the dirty bumper.

‘Because it’s bloody freezing, that’s why.’

The laughter comes fast and high; fuelled by last night’s New Year’s Eve party, by too much wine and too little sleep, by cold which forces its way through towelling robes and lodges itself into bones.

‘Good night, though.’

There are murmurs of agreement.

‘Chwarae teg.’ Fair play. That lot at The Shore know how to throw a party. More importantly, they know to invite the locals. Curiosity wins over grudges, every time.

Splinters of ice cluster in the shallow puddles on the lakeshore, cracked by toes freed from fur-lined boots.

‘There are still ten minutes to go. You’ll get frostbite.’

‘Can’t even feel it. I think I’m still pissed.’

‘This better sort out my hangover – I’ve got the in-laws coming for lunch, and they give me a headache as it is.’

‘Kill or cure.’

‘I’ll take either.’

The first of two klaxons rings through the crisp air, and a cheer goes up.


‘As I’ll ever be!’

Coats and robes are cast aside, towels draped over waiting arms and hot water bottles readied for the return. There’s a rush for the shore – a tangle of white limbs and bathing suits; brave bikinis and judicious woolly hats – and excited chatter so loud they wonder if they might miss the second klaxon. But when it sounds, there’s no mistaking it, and they let out a whoop and a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! as they run towards the lake, screaming as they reach the icy water.

When they’re deep enough, they plunge. Mind over matter, through the low-lying mist. Cold clamps a vice around their chests, mouths opening in shock as their breath is wrenched away. Keep moving, keep moving! cry the veterans, dopamine pumping smiles to their faces. Ripples become waves, the movement of people this way and that, as the wind picks up and sends shivers across shoulders.

As the mist begins to clear, a woman cries out.

It stands out among the screams of excitement, sending tremors of a different kind down the backs of those waiting on the shore. Those still in their depth stand on tiptoes, straining to see what’s happening, who’s hurt. The rescue boat dips its oars into the water. In and out, in and out; making its way towards the commotion.

Out of the mist floats a man.

Face down, and quite unmistakably dead.


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196 Reviews for Clare Mackintosh

    Thanks for the giveaway chance. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

      Thanks so much for entering, Joanne!

    This book will be a great book to read !!!

      I’ve been thrilled by the response from readers so far 🙂

    Can’t edit to read it Thanks for doing a giveaway on this book.

    This looks like a fantastic read!

    I’m so excited for this one!!!

    Intriguing. I looked forward to reading more about cwm coed and the towns people/traditions

      Thank you! Readers so far have enjoyed learning more about Wales 🙂

    This sounds great! So intriguing!

      Thanks so much Twila!

    I can’t wait to read this.

    Can’t wait to read it Thanks for doing a giveaway on this book.

    She always writes a great book so I’m sure this is an awesome read

      I agree! I love Clare’s books! Have you read I Let You Go? One of the best books I’ve ever read!

    So excited to read this book! Thanks for the chance.

    Sounds good would love to read.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of this gripping thriller. I want to know what secret Llyn Drych holds! Does the night before party play a role in this man’s death? Drych means mirror…the water knows the truth. The writing style also has me hooked! This chapter has me frozen to know more just like the splinters of ice in the shallow puddles on the shore line. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book! Debra Hicks

      I love this reply! Llyn Drych holds lots of secrets, that’s for sure…

    I LOVE Clare Mackintosh’s novels! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of her newest!

      So wonderful to know you’re a fan – thank you!

    Christina, I’m a big fan of your writing, and I hope to win a copy of “Last Party”!

    Great giveaway! Love Clare Mackintosh.

      Thanks so much Julie!

    Definitely quite enticing!

    Omgosh, this sounds like a fascinating read! You are a new to me author.

      I hope you take a chance on my books 😉

    Sounds interesting. I’ll have to add this to my list of books to read.

    This sounds fantastic! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    Can’t wait to read the rest of it. Sounds awesome. Keep up the great writing!

    This looks very interesting. Will be adding to my want to read pile. Thanks for the chance.

    Sounds intriguing!!! Added to my ever growing TBR list

      So many books, so little time, right?

    LOVE Clare’s writing and this is so intriguing! Thanks for the chance to win, Christina!! ❤️

      My pleasure! 🙂

    Sounds really good and added to my TBR. Thanks for the chance.

    Sorry to say it wasn’t a favorite, but if I win, I’ll share the print with friends. I usually LOVE her books. I read the e-book and reviewed it on November 10. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

    Absolutely love Claire’s books 📚

      That’s so great to know, thank you

    Ooh this sounds like a good one!

    I can’t wait to read the rest of it! You won’t be able to put it down ! Love your books

    Can’t wait to finish the book!!! Just love your books!❤️

    Thanks for the chance. This sounds so good. I added to my TBR

    I would love to read this!!

    The Last Party looks like a great read so far!!

    The biggest thing I’ve always appreciated about Clare’s books is how descriptive she is, so much so that I swear I can feel the bone chilling cold of the water and the horror of the woman discovering the body.

    Thank you for offering up this giveaway

      What a lovely thing to say – thank you Terry!

    I can’t wait to read the entire book. Sounds like it will be a great read.

    Sounds great, ca’t wait to read!

    Fantastic giveaway…thank you..

    This sounds exactly like the kind of book I love to read!

    I love a good mystery and this obr seems full of suspense and the descriptions are wonderful. I definitely want to read more. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

    Interesting, she first thinks her one night stand has the name of the dead guy. I want to see how this unfolds!

    Can’t go wrong with Clare! Ty

      She always write an amazing thriller!

    That was a great first chapter read. Can’t wait to read all the chapters. It’s going to make a great read@!

    I’m so excited to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity 😀

    Sounds like a great one to read & review!

    Would love to win this!

    this book is a must have for anyone

    What an intriguing beginning! Looking forward to reading the book. Thank you for the giveaway.

      So glad you enjoyed this extract Vickie

    Sounds like it’s right up my alley.

    this book is so inviting a must have for any collection

    Can’t wait to read this! I already have this planned as a TBR

    I need to read more!

      I’m the opposite. I should probably get out more and read less. lol

    Thank you kindly for this opportunity.

    Thanks for the chance to win this book

    Very intriguing! Thanks for the chance!

    Chapter one of The Last Party already has me interested, especially the last line. It really pulled me in and made me want to read on!
    As interested as I am in the book, I’m also interested in Ms. Mackintosh’ support of the Silver Star Society, having had two high risk pregnancies myself, many years ago. (Thankfully, all went well and my children are now grown). What a worthy cause to support!

      Thanks so much for entering, Patricia. It’s lovely to hear that your high risk pregnancies resulted in healthy adults!

    Sounds like a great book! I’d love to read it! Adding it to my list!

    Looking forward to reading it! It’s definitely peeked my interest!
    Thanks for a chance in the giveaway.

    This looks so good. Would love to read it.

    Very intriguing love her books she always has so many twists and turns

    Ohhh! This sounds good! I love Clares books!

    I can’t wait to read this one!

    This sounds super intriguing! Definitely adding it to my tbr!

    The devil you know or the devil you don’t? That immediately came to mind reading the synopsis. I would love to find out by winning! Thank you!

    Sounds great, cant wait to read.

    Can’t wait to read it all!

    I can’t wait to read this!!! I love your books!!

    Sounds very intriguing. Always look forward to reading new books

    Intriguing!!! This book is perfect timing for the coming holidays! Happy New Year? 😳🫣

      Hopefully your New Year’s Day will be free from bodies in lakes!

    Thank you for the chance! Excited to read this one!

    Great start! Thanks for the chance to win her book.

    A very intriguing first chapter. Adding to my TBR pile.

    Sounds so intriguing. The first chapter draws you in and keeps you wanting more. Thanks for the chance to win

    I would love to read this!

    I’m so excited for this series with a denial main character, DC Ffion Morgan. Clare Mac is one of my favorite authors. I’m sure she enjoyed writing about the water in the first chapter since swimming near her home is one of her passions.

      Spellcheck changed FEMALE main character to DENIAL main character (eye roll)!

        Ha! I’m so glad you added an explanation – I never would have figured that one out!

    Would love to read this.

    Ohh – Sounds very intriguing!

    Now I’m intriqued and want to read more! Thanks for a chance at winning a copy.

    This book looks so good. Has been on my goodreads want to read for awhile now. Can’t wait to read it!

    Definitely on my want-to-read list.

    Sounds like a great story.
    Thank you for the opportunity.

    Chapter 1 sounds so good. Cannot wait to read entire book. Thank you for the chance!

    Wow! From the description in chapter 1, I had a beautiful picture of the area in my mind. Then the last sentence came!! Can’t wait to read the rest!

    thank you for the chance would love to finish reading it

    I LOVE Clare Mackintosh’s books! ♥

    Would love to win. Sounds like a great plot and story.

    Wow! This sounds so intriguing. I love it.

    Loved hostage and have read a few others. Can’t wait to read this 1 as well!

    I am really excited for this book (and your upcoming book, too, Christina!!)
    I would love to win!

    I can’t wait to read the rest of the book! The first chapter already has me hooked.

    This sounds like a great read. The first chapter really grabbed my attention. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Looking forward to reading this.

    I would love to read it

    What a great first chapter !!

    The Last Party sounds like a page-turner! Thank you for the opportunity.

    Ok, now I am wanting to read the rest of it. I’m intrigued.

    This sounds like a great read! WhT a cliffhanger!!

    This sounds like it’s gonna be a good read! I need to read more!

    sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to read!

    Cannot wait to read!!

    OY VEY! Who did it? This looks like a novel where I get to help unravel the culprit

    Sounds intriguing! I’d love a chance to win. Thank you!

    Feels a little like Death on the Nile

    This has always been a fear of mine. I spend so much time in lakes and rivers I would totally freak out if I found a floating dead body!

    Love a great mystery. Very intriguing.
    Thank you for the giveaway.

    I could feel the cold water! Great atmosphere and descriptions. Would love to read more!

    this sounds a great read , and I am keen to read more Thanks for sharing and the chance to enter

    Looking forward to reading the rest!

    Thank you so much for the chance to enter to win a copy of this book!!!

    Thank you for the chance to win!!

    Thank you for the chance

    The first chapter is intriguing and suspenseful, and has drawn me in instantaneously! The last line keeps me in suspense, can’t wait to read it! Thank you for the giveaway, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thanks for the sneak peek! This books sounds REALLY good!! I’m adding it to my “Want to Read” shelf on!!

      Thank you so much Melissa – it’s always really helpful for authors when readers do that, so I really appreciate it

    Having read that, I can’t wait to read the rest.

    Thank you for the giveaway! I love a good thriller, and look forward to this one.

    After reading that first chapter, I definitely want to read this 😀

    This book sounds perfect for this time of the year! Adding it to my Christmas Wish list. Thank you!

    Sounds like a must read! Thanks for the chance

    sounds like a good read

    Absolutely loved reading . Cannot wait to read the whole book. Sounds really interesting and intriguing. A really great book to snuggle up with and read with my dogs and I good bottle of Red .
    Thank you so much fir the chance to win Christina x💜🦋📚

    Very interesting! Definitely something I want to read!

    This story is right up my Alley.

    Ooooh! This sounds excellent! Can’t wait to read it!

      Left wrong name above… I go by Linzie on Instagram. Thank you for the giveaway!

    I found myself reading this in an English accent…I will definitely read this one! Sounds like one that will hook me in cover-to-cover!

      That’s so funny! There are a mixture of English and Welsh accents in this one, so you can practice both!

    Adding this to my want to read list! Thanks Christina. ❤️📖

    I can’t wait to read this book during the holidays!

    Wow! Great first chapter. Really excited to read The Last Party. Thanks for the chance to enter!

    A great start to a great authors newest book. Love a book by Claire. Thank u for the chance to win this

    I reallly want to read this. Adding to my list now ☺️

    This novel reminds me of Agatha Christie novels. I would love to read this and try to figure out whodunnit!

    What a way to pull you in! I’m a fan of her books and would be thrilled to win! Thanks for the chance!!

    Wild swimming just got wilder! Can’t wait to read this. Thank you!

    I cannot wait to read the whole
    Book! love Clare Mackintosh’ books. I have read most of hers and they have all kept me gripped to the end! This sounds like it’s definitely one to add to my collection.

    Oh wow,I want to fi d out more 😃

    This sounds great, thank you for the chance! xx

    Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. Love your books!

      Thank you so much! xx

    Cannot wait to get my eyes in this book!!!

    I really enjoy Claire’s books, I’ve read three, and this one sounds great too.

    What a way to start a series! There is just something about her style of writing that gets me hooked like no other. I’ve read all her books so far, absolutely loved them and can’t wait to read this one.

      That’s the biggest compliment, thank you!

    It makes you want to read the rest NOW. Would love to win a copy so I can x

    I love mystery books. Always trying to solve it before the reveal is read. One my TBR.

    Oh, this has me eager to read this book. It sounds like an ideal read for me.

    What a beginning! It grabs you by the throat because you feel like you’re there!! Can’t wait to read it.

    I am so very excited to read a new Clare Mackintosh book! One of my favorite authors. She never fails!

    Thanks for the chance 😊

    This sounds amazing!
    Have heard great things about this book!

    Another great read from this great author

    I am so excited to get my hands on this book! Thank you for the chance to win a copy!

    Interested in reading more! Thanks for the chance & Happy Holidays to all! 😊

    It would be awesome to read a hardcopy of my favourite author’s book. We have to wait forever before we can get them in India.

    Another suspenseful and who done it book by a wonderful author!

    Can’t wait to read The Last Party, as I have the same last name as Rhys!!!
    We don’t get many chances to enter a giveaway in Japan, so thank you for making this open internationally!

      Hello Yukie! Thank you for entering 🙂

    Can’t wait to read the rest of it!!

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