HER LAST BREATH By Alison Belsham


The body count is rising…. and the clock is ticking.

When a young woman is attacked and left fighting to survive in hospital, the police are pulled into a race against time to save her life. But just 24 hours later, she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body.

And when another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.

His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of Francis’s lover, Marnie. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before its too late?


This is a sequel to Alison Belsham’s previous book The Tattoo Thief which I haven’t yet read but because of some of the backstory I think it would have helped to have read this one first.

If you like your Crime books a little more gritty and gruesome then you will enjoy this, it’s not what I would call a cosy mystery thriller. It’s more of a police procedural book. There are quite a few characters involved, it’s also told through a few points of view which I am not always keen on but it worked to an extent with this one.

Set in Brighton with DI Francis Sullivan and tattoo artist Marni Mullins. Trash Bradley phones her boyfriend after being attacked, she is rushed to hospital, but unfortunately doesn’t survive the attack and dies the following day.

After she has died an odd tattoo is found on her back this brings suspicion on her boyfriend Alex Mullins. Then another girl, again linked with Alex disappears, he becomes prime suspect number one. Marni being Alex’s mum will do anything to prove her son isn’t guilty of these crimes. Even Francis isn’t convinced that Alex is guilty despite the rest of his team believing he is.

Whilst this is a really good read it didn’t have me totally engrossed all of the time, constant switching between points of view, and characters that seemed to be just put in for the sake of it as they didn’t seem to add anything extra to the story they could have been left out. The plot itself was good if you could just take some bits out.

Although this is a stand-alone novel there were things from the first book, such as the trial which means if you haven’t read the first book it seems pointless to do it once reading this one. I would advise if you like to read books in order, as I do, then get the first book and read that one before picking this one up. As you will get more background on some of the characters and some back story to this book.

The characters are well rounded which helps you to get to know them and like or dislike them. Detective Francis, who has plenty of faults, but the job comes first. The rest of the team, and Marni Mullins I’m not sure whether I like her not yet. Maybe will know more if I get to know her a bit more if there’s another book.

Overall this is a really good read and I give it four stars out of four


Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter- and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.

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