My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mary Burton is an author who has never disappointed me, her books carry the perfect blend of suspense and romance that keeps the fan girl in me happy. Her Last Word has another advantage of having a cold case mystery which is one of favorite genres, however almost all her books have been not exactly 5* reads for me only for the fact that I had been able to guess the killer before the reveal, I am hoping that sooner rather later she will shock me into changing this guessed right scenario.
Its been 14 yrs. that Gina Mason has vanished, after a night of fun get together with friends. Erika, Jennifer and Gina are the trio of girls who are celebrating their journey to adulthood and joining them in their fun is the much troubled Kaitlin, Gina’s cousin, who has been sent off from her home in the hope of achieving sobriety. Kaitlin’s brother’s death has had an adverse effect on her and she finds solace in drugs and drinks in the hope of overcoming her grief. The night of the party, Erika and Jennifer leave in Jennifer’s sister, Ashley’s car wasted from a drink that has been spiked. Kaitlin and Gina then walk home but a masked clown attacks Gina and forces Kaitlin to run. Her memories have been affected by drinks and the police soon turns to her which destroys her emotionally. Recovering from the alcoholic wreck that she was, plagued by guilt of not being there for her cousin, Kaitlin finds purpose and returns to the place of crime to find out the truth of missing Gina, organizing a podcast and re-interviewing each and everyone connected to the crime and the search for Gina.
The story begins brilliantly with a murder and the author introduces Kaitlin’s short interviews in alternate chapters that gives a glimpse of the past from different POV’s. It soon becomes clear that the killer has also been waiting as Jennifer is found murdered at her home. Detectives John Adler and Monica Quinn become involved and Adler’s enquiries makes him suspect the crime to be linked to past and Gina’s disappearance. Adler also feels attracted to Kaitlin so it becomes even more important to find the truth of Gina and make sense of the new killing.
A fast-paced thriller that can be enjoyed in one sitting, it also leaves the reader with the thought that a single lie can lead to years of obscurity. There are quite a lot of characters behaving and lying suspiciously, but Hayward managed to give me the creeps with his nonchalant attitude.
Fourteen years ago, Kaitlin Roe was the lone witness to the abduction of her cousin Gina. She still remembers that lonely Virginia road. She can still see the masked stranger and hear Gina’s screams. And she still suffers the guilt of running away in fear and resents being interrogated as a suspect in the immediate aftermath. Now Kaitlin has only one way to assuage the pain and nightmares—by interviewing everyone associated with the unsolved crime for a podcast that could finally bring closure to a case gone cold.
But when a woman Kaitlin questions is later found stabbed to death, she fears that she’s drawn a killer out of hiding. It’s Detective John Adler’s fear that the murders have only just begun. Now his job is to keep Kaitlin safe.
As a bond between Kaitlin and Adler builds, the past closes in just as fast—and it’s darker than Kaitlin remembers. Soon, her wish will come true. She’s going to find out exactly what happened to Gina. Someone has been dying to tell her.