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The Last Child: A Novel Paperback – March 9, 2010
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Johnny Merrimon was once a happy child. He and his twin sister, Alyssa, lived with their beautiful, vibrant mother and strong, caring father. Then Alyssa goes missing. She's seen being pulled into a mysterious van, and a year later, Johnny's life is completely different. His mother is bullied into passivity by a rich, abusive man who keeps her strung out on drugs and treats her like a possession. Johnny knows in his heart that he can find his sister, bring his father home, and save his mother, and for months he plays a dangerous game of spying on local child predators, convinced that at least one of them knows what happened to his sister. Detective Hunt is the haunted cop who cannot break out of his obsession with Alyssa's case - and the beautiful mother - to save his own family from falling apart. Jack is the wounded best friend who idolizes Johnny and tries to mask his own pain with the alcohol he steals from his cop father.
Hart could have taken the easy way out and turned this into a suspenseful but heartwarming story of mystery and redemption. Instead, he creates complex, rich characters and places them in terrifying, soul searching situations. Johnny is a child living with nightmares, and he reaches into ancient mysticism, searching for strength and clues to help him heal his family. He's seen too much of the harsh reality of life for someone his age, and this dark desperation colors all the events in this book.Read more ›
Johnny has lost everything he grew up with. But he wouldn't give up looking for his sister. Hoping against hope, Johnny relentlessly pores over the county's terrain, keeping tabs on sex offenders and acting on any lead he finds in order to solve the mystery of his sister's disappearance.
But he is not alone. The detective assigned to the case has spent the entire year trying to figure out what happened, too. Detective Clyde Hunt couldn't let this case go and when another abduction takes place, he is determined not to let it go unsolved. Tiffany Shore was another local girl and a classmate of Johnny.
Johnny and Detective Hunt run parallel tracks as they try to uncover who the town's possible serial kidnapper is. A strange series of events will keep the reader guessing on who the real perpetrator is and when the truth finally unfolds, the ugly side of Raven County surfaces.
I'm very impressed at the crisp writing and the constant movement. It's poignant, thoughtful, and Mr. Hart has a talent for getting into the mind of his characters and taking his readers with him. It is quite amazing how everything falls into place.
In the end, "The Last Child" is a story of how much a parent loves a child, of how much friendship means, and of how everything seems to happen for a reason.
A year ago, Johnny's sister was abducted changing his life completely. His mother has a total breakdown and her constant accusations drive Johnny's father away. He just left one day and didn't come back. His mother turns to drinking and drugs by way of her affluent boyfriend who 'lets' them stay in one of his run down rental houses, however he resents Johnny and is abusive, both mentally and physically to both of them.
Johnny tries to take care of him mother and somehow manages to attend school and get good grades despite staying up and out all night scouring neighborhoods for clues to where his sister may be.
He is sometimes joined by his best, and only friend Jack, son of a gruff policeman.
In the meantime, Detective Hunt has never given up on the case. He's become obsessive to the point of loosing his wife and alienating his son. Knowing Johnny's living situation, Detective Hunt tries to keep an eye out for Johnny. He knows what Johnny is up to and tries his best to keep him safe even though Johnny would prefer he stay out of it.
One day after ditching school, Johnny and Jack are hanging out at the river when they witness a murder. That's when things start to get interesting.
I have to admit I was clueless until the end of the book. I sort of figured it out toward the end, but still, it was a good ending.
I wouldn't recommend this book for a hard-core detective story, but for those just looking for a good story and a book that will keep you interested until the end, I would tell you to read this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is a page turner. Lots of twists and turns. I can usually predict what is going to happen next when I am reading. This one was never what I thought it would be. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Iris7
Well written and a page turner. Good character development. I enjoyed the book.Published 24 days ago by Judith M. Ellington
John Hart has again written a suspenseful mystery that is hard to put down. His characters, flawed but sympathetic, drive the story with a force and pace that ropes the reader in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Annie
Just recently, a friend was telling me of a book he just finished by John Hart. He couldn’t extol anything but praises. That got me to thinking; I have a book by John Hart. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Larry
This story pulled me through with my heart aching for a young man and his mother who were forced to deal with everyone's worst nightmare: a missing child. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ripon Princess