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The Last Cuckoo

When Ghosts Live on in Stepfamilies
Narrated by: Chris Nuttall
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

When a blended family is the darkest place to be...do you listen to your mother? Even after she's dead?

Anna Hardaker is following you....

This seemingly innocent tweet fills Jamie Hardaker with confusion and fear. After all, his mother Anna has been dead for nearly three weeks.

What follows is an orchestrated Twitter campaign to lead those Anna loved and didn’t love so much to the truth behind her “accidental” death.

Includes questions for book discussion groups.

Review of The Last Cuckoo: 

"The alleyways of Maria Frankland’s fictional universe are uncompromising; they bear the lines and shadows of experience and return an authenticating nuance to the rapt reader’s investigative instinct.

Set in a Yorkshire of the imagination, and executed in dialogue which is both persuasive and explosive, The Last Cuckoo is profoundly sensitive to the collective emotional trauma of a bereaved family in a freefall of grief and recrimination.

In her superb first novel, Maria Frankland unlocks a compelling crime drama by gradual accretion and revelation. We sincerely hope she revisits the terrain again soon." (Steve Whitaker, Yorkshire Times)

©2020 Maria Frankland (P)2020 Maria Frankland

What listeners say about The Last Cuckoo

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another homerun by Maria Franklin

This story is so twisted I can’t even gather my thoughts to write a summary. Also, I just finished it in as the end is mine blowing as is all of Murray’s books I’m overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. This book is so good I have never encountered an author who every book she writes blows me away. If you love books that he has twist on top of twist until the very last sentence and the best thing of all is they’re all plausible and they all makes sense then get this book. If you love a good thriller get this book I highly recommend it it’s so so so freaking awesome!

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The last cukoo

When you start this book you will probably think you have worked out the ending .what a surprise.

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A great audio book.

A really enjoyable thriller. The writer's use of language for the main character, Jamie, is brilliant. I loved how the narration of the book really brings Jamie to life. This will keep you guessing and in my case, wrong!

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A well executed mystery/thriller

It’s been three weeks since Jaime lost his mother, Anna, after she fell to her death while redecorating the house she shared with her son. Struggling to contain his anger, grief and loss, Jaime finds himself isolated from the rest of the family as each member with their own agenda await the outcome of Anna’s Will. Several days following the funeral, Jaime is appalled when he receives a Twitter notification alerting him to a tweet from Anna’s account which suggests that her death was no accident. The question is, who is behind the tweets and is there really more to Anna’s death? The Last Cuckoo is a dark story which focuses on family dynamics and the consequences of toxic relationships. Narrated in the first person by Jaime (as though he’s talking to his mother) we are given insight into Jamie’s innermost thoughts and feelings as he reminisces about his troubled past and struggles to move on with a life without his mother. While having Jaime’s point of view offers valuable insight into his psyche, it does make him a somewhat unreliable protagonist. I felt at times that his behaviour was immature for a 24-going-on-25 year old although some of his actions were understandable considering the behaviour and characteristics of his so called family and friends. The secondary characters were well developed. We have Jamie’s narcissistic, opportunistic father Phil, who was barely around for his son following his divorce from Anna but who begins to sniff around now that Jamie has been left a substantial amount of money in Anna’s Will. Phil’s relationship with his current wife Katherine is equally volatile and she in turn has always resented Anna and Jaime. Then we have Anna’s fiancé Iain, his antagonistic ex wife Stacey, along with his toxic self centred daughter Claudia who resents Anna’s presence in her father’s life and despises Jaime. In the background to all these deeply unpleasant characters, is a relentless Twitter campaign orchestrated to lead those that Anna loved - and didn’t love - to the truth behind her death. I confess I had my own ideas about the culprit from the get go so I was completely unprepared for the twist at the end. This book was my first introduction to the author and she didn’t disappoint. This was a well executed, razor taut thriller/mystery. The author did a wonderful job of creating characters that seemingly come alive. The plot maintained my interest from the offset and kept me guessing. The author has skilfully highlighted the challenges that stepfamilies face when trying to meld two families with children into one. I couldn’t help sympathising with Anna throughout. Her life had been full of disappointments and it seems that just as she had found some semblance of happiness, her life was tragically cut short. I’ll definitely be looking out for future works of this author. I received an advanced free audible copy of The Last Cuckoo and I am voluntarily reviewing it. Chris Nutall (with his Irish accent) did a wonderful job of bringing the story and characters to life with his clear and concise narration.

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"Artist Anna 123, # cuckoo # before my time."

Told in the first person by Jamie, an only child and somewhat emotionally retarded soon-to-be 25 years old old man, The Last Cuckoo follows the emotional events occurring after the funeral of his mother, Anna. A painter artist of some renown, Anna has fallen to her death whilst redecorating the stairwell of the house in which she lived with her son. Divorced from Jamie's father, she had plans to remarry another divorcee, Ian, thus bringing his only daughter, Claudia, about 20, also into the fami!y. Trouble was, the two youngsters violently disliked each other. Without the unifying factor of Anna to maintain some sort of stability, emotions begin to spiral, extending to include Ian's still possessive former wife and Jamie's dad and new partner. Then the Twitter posts start appearing...include This is a very interesting and well written telling of a mystery as well as a portrait of some problems which can form in the extended, divided families so prominent today. The characters are well developed, especially, or course, that of Jamie himself, and the narration of Chris Nutall further enhances each one, his individual voicing s excellent, as is his reading throughout, well paced and spoken with emotion in a gentle northern English accent. Sadly, not one of the characters is likable (apart from a very elderly neighbour who makes an occasional walk on appearance). On the contrary, every one of the main protagonists is singularly selfish and unpleasant, rather posing the other great mystery - why on earth did Anna and Ian even want to see each other any more let alone get married? However, the plot develops slowly, but never drags, cryptic clues dropped as the story progresses. This is an involving, page turning (yes, I know my copy is an audiobook, but you get the idea) novel, intriguing and unusual in it's presentation. And, remarkably adept for a first novel. It can be irritating but also thought provoking and, if the ending is not quite the unexpected bombshell obviously intended, it does at least keep the reader guessing for much of the book. I was very fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy of The Last Cuckoo, at my request, by the rights holder via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much. It was unexpectedly riveting reading and recommended to all who enjoy psychological mysteries and family dynamics.

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A great story and very well narrated

The story kept me interested through out and made me want to listen to more. The narration was great and brought all the characters to life through all the twists and turns of the story. All in all a great audio book.

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Great Narrator!

Lovely voice to listen to! Very articulate, and at the same time brings the characters to life!

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  • Smith
  • 27-08-20

Great Listen

Interesting book.This book had a lot of suspense. The narrator did a fine job as well. I will probably listen to it again in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kayla Krantz
  • 22-08-20

Emotional and Suspenseful

When Jamie’s mother dies, he’s not entirely sure how he’ll go on. Wrapped in grief, he does what he can to try and move on with his life. Then he gets a notification from his mother’s Twitter. He brushes it off, thinking it to be an old notification. That is, until he starts to see his mother again. I liked Jamie’s character. He was well-rounded and easy to sympathize with. His reactions were real and easy to understand. For anyone who’s ever lost someone they’re close to, they’ll find the portrayal of grief to be very real. This story is full of emotions and suspenseful. Plenty of twists and turns to keep you listening. I’ve never heard a narrator with an Irish accent before so it was an interesting listen. The narrator really brought the characters and story to life. This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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  • Joan
  • 12-10-20

It was ok

It took a while to get into this book as it is narrated by Jamie, who just lost his mother. It turns out Jamie is 25, but he sounds more like a mentally challenged teenager and he is extremely whiney and unlikable. All the characters in this book are very unlikable, so much so that I could not even muster enough sympathy for the victim, assuming she must've been just as crap if these are the kinds of people in her life. In the beginning this was quite a guessing game trying to figure out what was going on but then you sort of guess the ending. This book was interesting if you like dysfunctional families though, so viewed from that perspective, it is worth a read.