Book Review: The Last Child by John Hart

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The Last Child, John Hart’s second novel, is the story of Johnny Merrimon, and his relentless search for his twin sister Alyssa, who disappeared a year earlier on her way home from the library.  Johnny braves bad neighborhoods, sex offenders, and his drug-addled mother’s abusive boyfriend to get to the truth.

Clyde Hunt, the lead detective on Alyssa’s case, has a soft spot for Johnny and his mother, tempered by immense guilt over not having kept his promise to find Alyssa.  His determination to find her cost him his wife, and very nearly his job.

When a second girl is kidnapped, everyone is convinced that she was taken by Alyssa’s abductor.  What is finally revealed is a truth that is much worse than anyone could have imagined, touching several families, and tearing at the very fabric of the town.

Filled with beautiful prose, rich, southern dialogue, and complex characters, The Last Child brings to mind the writing of James Lee Burke.  The plot’s twists and turns will keep readers guessing until the very end, making it a hard book to put down.

Bottom line: The Last Child is a great book with compelling characters, blurry lines between right and wrong, and a surprise ending that will leave readers speechless.

*****

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