The Last Witness

Sourcebooks/Fire. Jan. 2020. 272p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728200248.
Gr 9 Up–Heather joins her friends Emma, Dougie, and Martin on a camping trip to Black Cairn Point in remote coastal Scotland. Unfortunately for Heather, Emma’s boyfriend Darren is their driver, and the lovebirds spend all their time kissing and drinking. Left on her own, Heather deals with a crush on Dougie while trying not to hurt Martin, who has feelings for her. While exploring the area, the teens discover an ancient Druid burial mound and unearth a mysterious brooch. Back at the camp, tension between the boys rises. In the middle of a sudden storm, the teens realize that Martin has disappeared. The group separates to search for the missing boy, but the situation grows darker still. Heather finds Emma crying alone on the beach, having witnessed something pull Darren into the sea. Heather suspects the ancient brooch has something to do with their misfortunes, but before she can return the artifact, she, too, has an encounter with the evil among them. The story alternates between Heather being interviewed by a psychiatrist about the events that led her to a psychiatric ward, being accused of murder. The pacing is mostly adequate, but does lag a bit with Heather’s romantic interactions, which are a bit out of place amid the more terrifying moments. Overall, however, it’s a worthwhile read.
VERDICT A page-turning tale with just the right amount of creepiness for readers who enjoy suspense and dark evildoing. Give to fans of horror and psychological thrillers.

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