One of the interesting consequences of writing this blog is my reading style has changed in that I am less likely to read something which belongs to a series (to spare you reviews of the same thing), and I’m branching out with my genres, trying to give you a little more variety. When it comes down to it, this is probably a good thing for me, because it expands my horizons as well, and keeps me out of a book rut.
It used to be that to find the next book I wanted to read, I just had to find the next in the series, or (always difficult) find a new series altogether. I’ve never been a best sellers list kinda person, because of this. So, in another break from past habits, I found this book by looking through the best sellers list on the Kobo website. Even more out of character, I chose this one over the newest Phillipa Gregory novel, which I was aching to read since I’d just finished The Wise Woman.
I’m glad I chose this novel, because it plunked me back into reality. The Last Child is the story of Johnny, a 13 year old boy who’s twin sister went missing a year ago, and of Hunt, the lead detective who, over the year, has become obsessed with the unsolved case.
Since his sister went missing, Johnny’s family has been torn apart, his father gone, his mother sunken in drugs, alchohol and depression, her boyfriend abusive. He spends his time skipping school and searching for his missing sister, one house at a time, finding strength and power wherever he can. Similarily, Hunt, unable to let the case go, has lost his wife and driven away his teenage son and is close to losing his job. Johnny’s search for his sister unravels mysteries that delve deep into the underbelly of the community, exposing predators and secrets and finding goodness, salvation and answered prayers in unexpected places.
This story brought me out of the fictional universe usually expected in novels, because it seemed so close to real life. It was very easy to imagine a family destroyed by loss, and a cop eaten away with guilt, allowing a case to become too personal. This book is the story of small town life, and child disappearance that could happen anywhere. At no point in the story is it sensationalist or unbelievable; the characters and their relationships are dynamic and heartbreaking and the reader can emphasize with their motivations.
Best of all, at no point in the story did I know what was going to happen next. I kept guessing all the way through, and the ending was completely unexpected, leaving me feeling both sad and satisfied. This is not a feel good, happy novel, yet even in the sad resolution the reader is left with a ray of sunshine of hope that life will be better despite everything that was lost.
This was an excellent novel, and I highly recommend it. You can find it here: The Last Child