The Last Child is a striking work of fiction. It is a mystery, and a very good one. It is full of false clues, red herrings, and coincidences. There is also some important history lessons as well as comments on contemporary society thrown in.
A year after the kidnapping of Alyssa Merrimon, her twin brother Johnny continues to search for her. The now thirteen yer old Johnny believes she was taken by one of the numerous sexual predators in their small North Carolina town. Johnny’s father has left the family months earlier, since Johnny’s mother blames him for Alyssa’s disappearance. With his family shattered, all Johnny has to cling to is the hope finding his twin.
Johnny plays hooky from school most days to focus on his quest. His mother is lost in a haze of alcohol and drugs. She and Johnny are subject to the whims of Ken Holloway, a violent man who is their landlord and now his mother’s boyfriend (and supplier).
And then a classmate of Johnny’s disappears taken, like Alyssa, is broad daylight after school. Is the same predator responsible? Is it one of the men on Johnny’s list? What about the recently escaped convict whose wife and her lover were found murdered?
Johnny’s search puts him and his mother in further danger, and yet he continues. He is smart, resourceful, and persistent. The Last Child is an excellent book. The characters are real and memorable, and there are so many twists and turns in the plot that no one in my book club figured it all out before the end.
I highly recommend this for the avid mystery fan and even if you are not, there is plenty of action and interest for most anyone else. John Hart has won the Edagr Award twice (once for this book), and he deserved it! So where is the movie version?
Published in hardcover-Minotaur Books-2009
Softcover edition-Minotaur Books-2010