Title- The Last Thing He Told Me
Author- Laura Dave
Genre- contemporary suspense
POV- first person, present tense
Trope- step-mother/daughter bonding, family drama, family secrets
Cover– It felt more contemporary than suspense due to the font
Comps– The Maidens
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.
The prologue gives us a good insight to what kind of person she is and what matters to her.
Chapter 1- a secret note. Fabulous. I can tell this will be a quick read with high suspense and many mini cliffhangers.
Character Development- Bailey had some. Hannah, not as much
Best part- mini chapter cliffhangers
What I would change- more climatic big powerful moment near the end. It fell a little flat
“This is the thing about good and evil. They aren’t so far apart- and they often start from the same valiant place of wanting something to be different.”
Setting- San Francisco and Austin
Prose- It got better as the novel progressed.In the beginning, I noticed there’s a lot of repetition that confuses me such as, “It made him seem kind in a way I wasn’t used to running into on Greene Street in downtown Manhattan. It was expensive in a way I’d started to doubt I’d ever run into on Greene Street in downtown Manhattan.”
Or “… to say that I hadn’t meant it. I’d meant something else. I’d meant he should stay.”
Character goals/motivations- Keep Bailey safe
Theme- hhhmm … unsure … maybe … nope, I’m drawing a blank. That’s not good
Vivid sensory descriptions- average
Inclusivity- not sure there were any diversity for characters in regards to color of skin and ethnicity or LGBTQ characters
Conflict/tension/obstacles- learning the truth
Thoughts while reading-
Page 35- I wonder if I’d naturally ask “the right questions” to show innocence in a similar situation
Page 55- “Owen’s not who you think he is.” DUN DUN DUN
Page 69- I’d be doomed in her shoes. There’s no way I’d say the right things to the right people.
Page 85- what happened in Texas?!?!
Page 93- are they gonna be chased tho?!?! Aaah!!! Are they gonna find the dufflebag?!?! Aaah!
Page 114- awe this is going to be a step-mom & daughter bonding book
Page 131- oh man, getting intense. I wasn’t expecting that but maybe I should’ve been
Halfway mark- Hannah and Bailey’s relationship has just shifted and now they’re becoming a team to figure out the mystery.
Page 224- did someone take her or did she run? Is Grady on their side or not?
Page 259- what is her plan? What possible good could come from this choice?
Page 269- if this is the climatic moment it feels a little weak
Ending- page 304- overall kind-of satisfying ending but not really cuz the reader doesn’t fully get what they want but it’s as realistic as it can get.