Book Extract: The Last Thing You’ll Hear by Jan Dunning

I’m pleased to be welcoming Jan Dunning to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, The Last Thing You’ll Hear. 

Have you ever been so obsessed with someone that you start to lose yourself?

Wren and Lark are rivals first and sisters second, so when mysterious music producer, Adam, and his DJ prodigy, Spinner, come to their small town, the game is on to impress.

Lark is soon taken under Adam’s wing, but as she’s pulled deeper into his web, distancing herself from friends and family, Wren starts to suspect that there’s a more sinister side to Adam. And when the sisters get a chance to perform at Enrapture the most talked-about festival of the summer, suddenly there is a lot to lose…

Can Wren put her own ambitions aside to save her sisters life?

One thing’s for sure: after this summer, nothing will ever be the same again.


Jan has shared an extract from The Last Thing You’ll Hear. We hope you’ll enjoy. 



*****beginning of extract*****


Context: In chapter 1, protagonist Wren is at a party when her sister Lark, who has an incredible voice, performs karaoke, inspiring feelings of bitter jealousy in Wren. Themes: sisters, music, sibling rivalry.


A microphone screeches with feedback. Danny winces. I jump.

“OK, people! Who’s ready for karaoke?”

There’s a groan from the crowd, but Charlie calls birthday privileges and in seconds Jem’s set has been binned. As the dance floor thins out, Charlie and her gang crowd round her phone, queuing up songs on an app. As the jerky string intro to “Toxic” kicks in, I brace myself for Charlie’s Britney imitation. She throws everything into it, oblivious to the sniggers of the crowd, blowing kisses and curtseying at the end.

“Tempted?” Danny nods towards the stage.

“You must be joking,” I mouth back.

“Who’s next?” Charlie calls, holding out the mic.

I close my eyes. I know what’s coming.

“Lark, you go!”

“Yeah, go on, Lark!”

“Lark! Lark!”

And there it is. Because if it wasn’t enough that Lark is supermodel stunning, Little Miss Popular and the golden child of the Mackenzie family all in one…

My sister can also sing.

Really sing.

The X Factor. The Voice. Whatever you want to call it, she’s got it. And the most annoying thing of all?

She doesn’t care.

Lark’s friends push her up on to the stage. Taking the mic from Charlie, the first thing she does is kick off her platform shoes. It looks cool and effortless, like everything she does.

“What shall I sing?”

“Whatever you want!” Aisha shouts, waving Charlie’s phone.

Lark shrugs. “I don’t mind. You pick.”

A moment later, a sensuous beat kicks in and a slow guitar riff plays languidly over the top. “Dangerous Woman”. Wow. That’s quite a song choice. But can Lark pull off an Ariana cover?

I sigh.

Of course she can.

The second the first lyric drops, the crowd stills. Conversations hush. Everybody stares. Not because Lark sounds like Ariana – she doesn’t. This is not an impression. Her voice is unique, entirely her own. Pure, clear, almost otherworldly…

And she doesn’t even have to try.

Danny nudges me. “You okay?”

I nod, and plaster on a smile, shoving down the ugly thoughts that always seem to surface whenever I hear Lark sing.

Why her? Why not me?

Lark doesn’t take music A level. She’s never had a singing lesson in her life. I’m the one who lives and breathes music, who plays piano and guitar – and even the bloody violin for god’s sake. I’m the one with the lyric notebook and the phone full of voice note recordings, the one who hears songs in her sleep. I’m the one who dreams of playing sold-out stadiums filled with rapturous crowds singing my own words back to me.

I’m a good musician, I know that.

But Lark was born to be a star.

As she reaches the chorus, her voice soars, hitting the high notes with ease. My sister has a range to die for, seriously.

“She’s killing it,” Danny whispers, gaping at the awestruck faces all around. “Look at them, under her spell.”


*****end of extract*****



About Jan Dunning – 

Jan Dunning’s debut Mirror Me, a YA thriller that reimagined the tale of Snow White, set in the high-fashion world was crowned winner of the Oxfordshire Children’s Book Award 2024.

A former fashion model, Jan lives in Bath with her family, and in addition to her writing and photography, works as an art teacher.

Say hello to Jan via Instagram and X

The Last Thing You’ll Hear was released by Scholastic  on 20th June 2024. Buy at Amazon UK and Waterstones.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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