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The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

(Dani Lancing #1)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,015 ratings  ·  251 reviews
A riveting psychological thriller in the tradition of Before I Go to Sleep and Memento that introduces P. D. Viner as a master of suspense

Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the case has long gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. While Jim fel
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Crown
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  1,015 ratings  ·  251 reviews

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this is one of those books that is told out of sequence for showmanship.

and it works just fine, but books like these always make me wonder if they would lose some of their appeal if they were told chronologically - i wonder about the content-to-gimmick ratio. does the story hold up, or is it the dance where you are brought to the brink of discovery only to be swept back twenty years in time that gives it its strength?

it is a perfectly good psychological thriller, with all the seeecrets that i l
Edward Lorn
Jan 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I fucked up and tried to listen to this again, not realizing I had already tried once (that's what I get for not checking Goodreads) and holy shit was my original assessment spot on. This is still the most annoying audiobook I've ever read.

Decline to rate. DNF @ 15%

Throwing in the towel at two hours. The audiobook is a total clusterfuck of noise: breathing sounds, ghostly moans, high-pitched piano notes, the most annoying male crying I've heard, and a little girl (or an adult actress doing a lit
 Li'l Owl
This started out with a really interesting beginning that began pulling me in early on, and it just got better, and better, and WOW! What an ending!

I was immediately intrigued by what I call a 'unique twist' that the author intertwined within the mystery, crime, suspense theme of this book.
I was expecting 'it' to be just a teaser to engage and pull the reader in, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the uniqueness continued throughout the entire book. And, of course, the uniquely twiste
I’d like for publishers to make a concerted effort to stop the lazy marketing. This novel has been compared to BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, MEMENTO, and THE SILENT WIFE, and for good measure, we’ll even toss in Tana French, Gillian Flynn, and A.S.A. Harrison. While this type of marketing may work in some instances, it probably fails more often than it succeeds. Sure, the neon lights flash, people’s expectations reach infinite proportions, and it makes for a great sound bite, but then what happens? If y ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carolyn by: Marianne
Shelves: crime, mystery
University student Dani Lancing was raped and murdered over 20 years ago and her mother, Patty has never got over the trauma and is as determined as ever to find out who did it. However, there is much she doesn't know about Dani and the last winter she spent alive. While she follows her own leads, Dani's childhood friend Tom who has always loved her is now a detective who hunts down serial rapists and murderers is hoping that Dani's case will be solved using modern DNA technology.

What starts of
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
By P.D. Viner
Crown Publishers (Random House), 393 pgs
Submitted by Random House
Rating: 2.5

WARNING: Spoiler alert. Proceed at your own risk.

I am flummoxed. The Last Winter of Dani Lancing. Great title. Promising story. Excellent pacing. Good enough dialogue. Unique characters who stay in character. Evocative sense of place. Firmly rooted in genre (this is a first novel for the author and we can quibble over whether or not falling squarely into genre is a good thing, but let's not.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marianne by: Mish
“In her own wallet she has two photographs of herself……..It’s the woman in the second photograph, the after image, taken maybe three years ago and thirty years after the first, who she recognises in the mirror today. Sat alongside the first photo, it reminds her of some champion slimmer standing next to the cardboard cut-out of their former self. The contrast between the two Pattys, especially in the face, scares her a little – showing how the acid of loss strips away the flesh, etches the lines ...more
This is an absorbing and creative psychological thriller for a debut novel. Instantly, the book pulls you in with a rather peculiar beginning. A distressed father talking to his daughter’s ghost, Dani Lancing, who is there to keep eye out for him, a deranged Mother carelessly cutting up her kidnapped victim, and a cop, Tom, outside Dani house reminiscing what could have been.

The brutal killing of Dani Lancing 20 years ago has traumatized, altered and consumed the lives of the three people in a
Patrice Hoffman
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
*Won through a goodreads giveaway*

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is P.D. Viner's enthralling debut effort featuring a cast of people I don't think I'd want to be alone in a room with. Not one. I don't think there's one hero for me in this novel.

From the beginning it's obvious there are some strange things going to happen in the The Last Winter of Dani Lancing because of her still seeming to be an alive and breathing character and the chapter heading saying it was December 2010. If I had not rea
Dani Lancing was a sweet child, full of questions and curiosity as children are. She was exceptionally close to her father, Jim, and as she grew older, that closeness was such that her mother, Patty, felt shut out on occasion, often feeling a twinge of jealously. Dani felt the tension which was developing between her Mum and herself, and was powerless to cross the void. But she could tell her Dad anything, even sometimes things he didn’t want to know.

When Dani left home to start college, she lov
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that when I started reading The Last Winter of Dani Lancing, my initial reaction was one of “Oh no, not another ‘I see ghosts’ type of book”, but thankfully this impression was quickly dispelled and this proved itself to be a really quite clever and compelling read…

What I loved particularly about this book was the way that the story gradually unfolded with more than one or two surprises along the way. This could so easily have devolved into a very linear tale of the lives of those i
Cleopatra  Pullen
How do you get over the rape and murder of your only daughter? If you are Jim you look for your dead daughter everywhere, she is with you as an apparition. If you are Patty you will spend twenty years searching for her killer vowing to avenge for her death.

I am not really a big fan of ghosts, so when I started reading The Last Winter of Dani Lancing I was irritated that Dani is talking to her father so many years after her death. That feeling didn't last long as I got sucked in by the story and
Sandy Hall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Honestly, I've no idea what I read and why I read it. It's a mess of a novel, and this is coming from someone who loves non-chronological structure. It's practically the reason I requested the ARC from NetGalley. Needless to say, it's a disappointment from start to finish.

So, there's Dani Lancing, the murdered girl. There's her sad-sack father, estranged from her vengeance-is-mine mother. Dani haunts her father (yes, there's a ghost to complicate matters, but conveniently she has forgotten just
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was just not very good. With shifting points of view in the third person and no clear understanding of what was going on until the middle of it I found myself growing increasingly bored and just grossed out at times.

We have four characters to keep track of in this book. Dani Lancing, her mother and father Patty and Jim, and Tom, Dani's boyfriend from when they were kids.

I have to say that sometimes you will come across books out there that have no sympathetic characters at all. Those
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
When I first picked up this novel I have to admit that I did take a look at the cover and contemplated whether or not I was going to read it. I’m not a huge fan of the art work for the hardcover issue; the paperback edition – to be released in 2014 – is so much more inviting and I love that cover! Needless to say I did give it a go an here are my thoughts!

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing for me is an incredibly interesting book. I struggled early on to make any sense of the story. Multiple time s
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks-read
The Last Winter of Dani Lancing was a challenging read for me. I almost tossed it aside at the 40+ page mark. The writing was all over the place. However, based on a few rave reviews I had read, I decided to continue, anxious to find out more about Dani Lancing.

In a nutshell, twenty years earlier, Dani Lancing was a college student who had been kidnapped, raped and murdered. It was a crime that had never been solved. Everyone who loved Dani were deeply affected. Her parents, Patty and Jim, watc
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an assured and intelligent debut novel, which is literary in style, but also encompasses the best of great crime fiction. Danielle Lancing was the only child of only children; her mother Patty a driven journalist, her father Jim a kindly and sensitive man, who placed his daughter on a pedestal. Patty spent her career trying to track down those affected by crime, such as Sonya Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper – seeing murder as a challenge, a story – not something that could touch ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked up a copy of this book because the book cover caught my eye. Then I read the back cover and was like ok I am ready to read this book. It sounds like something right up my alley that I enjoy. Well I have to tell you that I not only enjoyed it but the first word that came to my mind after reading it was "brillant". I don't usually rave about a book unless it is really, extra special. Mr. Viner really knows how to tell a good story. As much as I felt that Dani's mother was cold in the begi ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Twenty years ago, Dani Lancing, a university student, was kidnapped and murdered. Her death has been devastating to three people in particular: her mother Patty is obsessed with finding her daughter’s killer; her father Jim is a shell of a man who believes his daughter’s ghost is living with him; and her unrequited lover Tom has become a detective solving cases like Dani’s. When it seems that Dani’s cold case will be reopened, a series of events is initiated that does lead to the unraveling of t ...more
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Last Winter Of Dani Lancing


Dani was murdered when she was twenty one. This book is the story of her parents destruction, her friend's destruction, and what actually happened to Dani Lancing.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book was totally engaging in a really sad horrific kind of way. The story meanders back and forth throughout the past twenty years until we are at the present time. The key characters are Dani's mom, Patty...her dad, Jim...her high school
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
A must read mystery/crime novel.

This book was by far one of the best mystery/crime novels I have read this year. There were many twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the last pages. The characters were well drawn, sad, empathetic, desperate and credible. P D Viner is a fantastic story teller, his settings are realistic and he writes with cinematic prowess – I could see the story play out in the big screen of my mind and do not doubt it will be very long before the feature films rig
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Twenty years have passed since that last hard winter of Dani Lancing's life. The life that had been cut short by her brutal murder. The case is long cold, but the mourners are still haunted by not knowing what had happened to her, trying to piece together the few clues to discover the answers.

The parents, Jim and Patty, are each obsessed: Jim, haunted by fleeting images of Dani at various ages in her life, and seemingly, now, after her death; Patty is on a quest to find the murderer(s), even goi
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one. It was simultaneously a murder mystery, a ghost story, a tale of revenge, and so much more. This book also wove through time quite a bit--from the present day to Dani's childhood and teen years, to various points in time after her death took place. The time shifts threw me a bit at first--even with the helpful date markers at the beginnings of chapters--but once you get a grip on who all the characters are and what motivates them, The Last ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I don't often finish a book that I actively dislike, but I did want to see the end of the mystery in this one. It was rather disappointing. I did actually enjoy the progression of the relationship between the parents (it was pretty unbelievable...but then again, we are talking about a book that included a ghost, so...). ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it
It is generally a good sign when a novel grabs your attention from the first page and The Last Winter of Dani Lancing achieves just that by introducing us to the key characters and setting up a murder mystery that piques curiosity and will keep you turning the pages. - See more at: ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
I love a good mystery but this one was, well it was not good. I found it to be slow and slightly repetitive yet as usual I wanted to find out whodunit. I also didn't like the jumping back and forth in time as I found that a little hard to follow.

Received from NetGalley
Cindy Conboy
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Siobhan Ward
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was one of those books where an author has a lot of ambition and great ideas, but isn't able to pare any of it down to create something that's easy to follow.

This book had a solid premise - parents torn apart by their daughter's murder, and now 20 years later things are still coming to light. Ok, cool, I can work with that. However, Viner wanted to include a lot of elements to this book, and with so many elements/time jumps/characters, this just became overwhelming and kind of silly.

Ok, so
Barbara Nutting
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The more I read the more my stars diminished! The ending was ridiculous and barely made sense. Ghosts, drugs, sex and violence, all of it was too over the top. It might have been better if it was written in chronological order rather than jumping all around. Every chapter I had to check the time frame and see who was talking - I hate that.
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Not a lot happened for quite some time. I have a degree in film production and an MA from VGIK in Russia (very long story). I left the UK in 1990 and planned to be away for a month but it turned into nine years. I spent that in the US, Russia and New Zealand. I wrote two novels and a few plays during this time. I have many rejection letters. In 1999 I returned to the UK and formed an audiobook pro ...more

Other books in the series

Dani Lancing (5 books)
  • The Ugly Man (Novella) : A Dani Lancing Story
  • Summer of Ghosts
  • The Sad Man (Novella): A Dani Lancing Story
  • The Time of Ghosts (Short Story): A Dani Lancing Story

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