08 June 2023

The Last Line


By Stephen Ronson


First World War veteran John Cook has been tasked with establishing the resistance effort where he farms in the Sussex countryside. The Nazis have been advancing through Europe and an invasion along the southern English coast seems imminent. 

When 12-year-old Elizabeth, a  London evacuee, goes missing, John discovers she isn't the only one — there are other children who also haven't made it to their host families. Feeling compelled to investigate, he unearths a criminal gang operating on his home turf. Using skills learnt during his military career and a fair amount of sheer brute force, John wades in to put a stop to their activities once and for all.

The Last Line is a cracking novel from author Stephen Ronson. With excellent characterisation I immediately felt immersed and captivated. The writing is superb and the story flowed with ease. Descriptions of the Sussex countryside, towns and villages were idyllic and created an authentic sense of time and place. Just be warned though — the story contains child abuse and a fair amount of violence which some readers may find triggering. Putting that aside, it was a thrilling read and I really hope there will be more books to follow. A great debut novel which I highly recommend.


  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Author: Stephen Ronson
  • Genre: Thriller, War & Military


May 1940.

With Nazi forces sweeping across France, invasion seems imminent. The English Channel has never felt so narrow.

In rural Sussex, war veteran John Cook has been tasked with preparing the resistance effort, should the worst happen.

But even as the foreign threat looms, it's rumours of a missing child that are troubling Cook. A twelve-year-old girl was evacuated from London and never seen again, and she's just the tip of the iceberg - countless evacuees haven't made it to their host families.

As Cook investigates, he uncovers a dark conspiracy that reaches to the highest ranks of society. He will do whatever it takes to make the culprits pay. There are some lines you just don't cross.

1 comment:

Stephen Ronson said...

Thanks Lynne! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Look out for John Cook #2 next year!