Thursday, 6 April 2017

Book Review: LAST BREATH (Detective Erika Foster #4) by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Author: Robert Bryndza
April 2016
Expected publication: 12 April 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads):

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page. 

My thoughts:

I am glad that Robert Bryndza is a fast writer, so the wait for the fourth instalment in his totally addictive Erika Foster series was not too agonisingly long – and now hoping the fifth one will be out soon (hint, hint!). Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for an early review copy and did my little happy dance when I received the approval from Netgalley, even if it meant getting in trouble with my family for barricading myself in my room in anticipation of an all-night read-a-thon, leaving the dishes unwashed and the dog unfed (she hasn’t forgiven me yet).

In Last Breath, Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster is still serving her time in exile in Bromley shuffling paperwork and feeling perpetually bored, her latest application to get back on the murder squad once more declined by her archenemy Superintendent Andy Sparks. When the mutilated corpse of a young woman is found in a dumpster, it is exactly the kind of case Erika feels passionate about, even more so when she discovers a link to the cold case of a missing runaway.

She cared deeply about the victims, and like so many of the cases she had worked on over the years, it was not only the terrible circumstances of the victims’ deaths which haunted her, it was the lives that had been snuffed out prematurely. Young women with so much life left to live: careers, babies, holidays, and all those joys now denied them.

Determined to be involved in the investigation at all cost and convinced that she can bring the murderer to justice, Erika is prepared to eat humble pie to change Spark’s mind, even if it means begging on her knees to get her old job back. The meeting takes an unexpected turn – you will need to read it yourself to find out how! This is my clue to stop here and let the book do the talking, because it wouldn’t do at all to give away any spoilers.

Be assured that Last Breath is a cracker of a thriller, and just as fast-paced and addictive as the previous books in the series. I love Bryndza’s direct writing style, offering short action-packed chapters that move the story along at a pace that sets your pulse racing. Since the killer features very early on as one of the central characters, Last Breath develops into a cat-and-mouse game where the murder team always seem just one little step behind the murderer, racing against the clock to prevent more young women from dying. I found the details regarding CCTV technology and other types of modern surveillance fascinating – living in a small country town I feel very naive and sheltered from these types of urban realities. Bryndza’s central theme of the dark side of social media offered some clever plot twists and served as a reminder to be more mindful of how this modern tool can be exploited by a twisted mind.

Erika is a wonderful protagonist, and I was happy to see   all the other much-loved members of the squad back in this one, with its usual dynamics and vivid dialogue. Erika is perhaps a little bit mellower in this book as her friendship with Peterson develops into something a little bit more, although her passion for her job has not diminished. If I were ever in trouble, I would definitely want her on my case!

“It would be really good if you could catch this one’” said Doug, his face set in grim sadness. Erika nodded. “I will. I always do.”

Last Breath is the type of book where you need to set aside plenty of reading time, knowing that nothing will get done until the last page has been turned. So order a take-away, lock all the doors, put the phone on silent and settle in for a cracking good read. Very highly recommended!

Image result for 4.5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

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If you haven't discovered the Erika Foster series yet, I recommend starting with Book 1 and reading your way through all the books in order - you can thank me later ;) Whilst every one of them offers a cracking good murder-mystery in its own right, it's great to see the inter-personal relationships develop and watching the characters grow in depth in every book. Click on each cover for a link to the Goodreads page.

The Girl In The Ice (Detect... The Night Stalker (Detectiv... Dark Water (Detective Erika... Last Breath (Detective Erik...


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I've become a big fan of this series and like you I can't wait for book five. Great review!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I am definitely and addict to the series now ;)