Guardian Review

Guardian Review

The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale, reviewed by Philip Ardagh

At first, The Last Minute may seem reminiscent of a spate of adult horror novels spawned by James Herbert's The Rats in the 1970s, in which situations are set up and characters introduced purely to be struck down, with the reader wondering when and how; the big difference here is that the explosions don't occur until the final moment, so Updale has given herself a far more challenging task.

She has to carry the reader through the novel by engaging us with a large cast of believable characters, rather than revelling in the resulting carnage. And slowly but surely, little by little, she ratchets up the tension. The updates become shorter and more urgent until we're seconds away from disaster. PHILIP ARDAGH