Image of an island , water, a rowboat, and a lighthouse. Text says "USA Today Bestselling Author Stuart Turton The Last Murder At The End of the World"

The Last Murder at the End of the World


Turton, tighten.

My reading circle will be shocked at this rating. I might have given THE LAST MURDER AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Stuart Turton (Sourcebooks, May 21, 2024) four stars, if not for the horror western I read next, which had everything that this novel lacked (more about that book in a few).

Turton is clearly a genius and a very good writer, but IMO he is just too much. I thought Evelyn H. of THE 7 1/2 DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE (Sourcebooks, February 8, 2018) required, at most, four and a half deaths, which may be why Netflix canned it. I DNFed THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WATER (Sourcebooks, October 6, 2020) because I wanted to walk the plank in the middle; it just went on and on. And finally, THE LAST MURDER AT THE END OF THE WORLD, although unique, memorable, and endlessly creative with the layer upon layer of mystery and revelation, needed to be trimmed by 50 pages and had pacing issues. All Turton novels so far have pacing issues.

I was convinced the denouement of LAST MURDER was imminent when I looked down at my Kindle and was only at 50%. I had the same sinking feeling I did during his last novel, which was, “I’m not gonna make it. I’m exhausted.” I expected the author to wrap it up and instead, he dragged it out.

I switched to nonfiction on social justice,1BOOTSTRAPPED by Alissa Quart (HarperCollins, March 14, 2023). and thought I would come back to the Turton DRC. I finished it, the ending was great, and I was mollified. Then I picked up RED RABBIT (Tor/Macmillan, September 19, 2023)2I know. Does Tor just have the best editors or do they tailor their books to suit me personally? by Alex Grecian (464 pages to Turton’s 368) and rocked and rolled through the whole thing. The pacing was impeccable. The plot was tight. There were female characters to adore, and the ending had me grinning from ear to ear.

Will THE LAST MURDER AT THE END OF THE WORLD be a hot summer dystopian-fantasy-crime-mystery? You bet. Is it brilliant? Pretty much. Did I like it? Except for the pacing, yes. Turton is a young lad of 44 and has plenty of time to make his plots and pacing as good as his concepts and settings.

Reading in context:

I have no reading context for this novel. It is that unique. It could have been a masterpiece! It’s different from any dystopia, mystery, or fantasy I’ve ever read and the setting is one of a kind.

What I’m reading right now:

TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Penguin Random House, 2023).

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