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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (May 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060555521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060555528
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,303,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"As usual, the story begins with a woman crying." So says Atlanta lawyer Jack Hammond in this mesmerizing thriller about a good man caught in a web of bad love and murder. Beautiful client Violeta Ramirez is doing the crying on behalf of her dope-dealer boyfriend when Jack tumbles so hard for her his high-flying legal career is grounded and Violeta ends up dead. Two years later, Jack is working out of his one-man law office fishing for clients at the bottom of the criminal pool when he begins investigating the suspicious overdose death of his old college pal, Doug Townsend. With the help of a local hacker, Nightmare, Jack unlocks Doug's computer and stumbles into a quagmire involving the deaths of eight hepatitis C patients who were all enrolled in an experimental drug trial gone horribly wrong. Doug was also strangely obsessed with beautiful African-American opera singer Michele Sonnier, as is Jack after one look at her photos and a night at the opera. That her husband is the billionaire CEO of a local drug firm with its own hep C drug makes the liaison even more dangerous. After finding the disgraced researcher who headed the botched drug trial, Jack and his lowlife helpers begin to make real headway in solving the case. Even though melancholy, wisecracking Jack is a lawyer, this isn't a legal thriller so much as a knight-in-shining armor tale with the hero cast in the mold of the great Travis McGee. It's not Grisham that Arvin (The Will) should be compared to, but the incomparable John D. MacDonald. Those readers who value intelligence, fine writing and action will find it all in this outstanding novel.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Doug Townsend is just another overdose as far as the Atlanta cops are concerned. His friend and lawyer, Jack Hammond, doesn't share the cavalier attitude. His suspicions multiply when he learns that Doug's fatal dosage was delivered intravenously despite a lifelong needle phobia. Jack also learns Doug had an obsessive interest in Michele Sonnier, the hottest star in American opera and the trophy wife of Charles Ralston, founder of Horizn Pharmaceuticals. Jack contacts Sonnier and soon learns her well-hidden secret: Michele grew up in Atlanta's poorest, most notorious housing project and had an illegitimate child, whom she gave up for adoption while still a child herself. Doug was tracking down her daughter for her. Did Ralston's company, about to go public with a well-publicized cure for Parkinson's, get rid of Doug rather than allow him to drag the CEO through a scandal? Jack, himself a man with a regrettable past, enlists the aid of a Fagin's army of borderline miscreants to help Michele and, in the process, discover what Horizn is trying to hide. Arvin's first legal thriller, The Will (2000), generated excellent reviews. His second just might kick him to a whole new level, critically and commercially. He presents love, sex, money, power, and violence in an irresistibly melancholy noir package in which redemption is the motive but hell beckons at every turn. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reed Arvin is a splendid writer that I would encourage everyone to read.
Avid Reader
A very important part of the story and a point that makes him a particularly endearing character is that Jack is a flawed character.
Untouchable
The two criticisms were a little too much foreshadowing and the ending just was not up to the rest of the story.
Gerald Swimmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cilly on December 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book; just read what everybody else said for a more complete description. I'd like to point three things out, though:
(1) The opening chapter is delightful, for its combination of Mickey-Spillane-Plot with Wodehouse-Genteel-Language. The main character is down on his luck, but spins a beautifully sardonic line of high-flown thoughts about it all.
(2) The author has a fine touch when constructing plot twists. That is, he didn't give the game away with obvious choices, or go for cheap shock value with really unlikely angles. Instead, you think you're figuring things out, but then find out you were only half-right, and the other facts are still lurking somewhere. That is, someone has been murdered--but it wasn't exactly how you thought, though you're on the right track; there's more than one obvious murder method, and more than one reasonable suspect.
It kept me not just guessing but *thinking*--instead of distracting you with plot twists or red herrings, the author gives you a damn good puzzle to put together, and more than one of each piece will fit. I enjoyed trying to outguess the main character by putting things together faster than he did.
(3) The book has a bitter streak, and the ending, while not altogether unhappy, still punches you in the gut. I can't say more without giving it away. It's emotionally powerful but never gets sappy or melodramatic. Good stuff.
Anyway, I loved it and I'd love to see more of the author's work, with this set of characters or others. Five stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The authors insights, deprecating, honest and realistic, are delivered casually, almost as if from a swing on the front porch. It is this delivery that distinguishes his prose fromt the usual run-of-the-mill writer. His specialty is desperation and hope - two emotions that seem inextricably bound. This is yet another combination police procedural/mystery/drama with a dose of romance - just my cup of tea.

The hero commits a lawyer's fatal error by sleeping with a client who must then face the consequences of her actions. Years later he is a defender of the down and out whose hopeless squalid lives in the Atlanta inner city are wonderfully and bitterly portrayed. An old friend is found dead, a needle in his arm. Since he was once a drug addict the conclusion is suicide - something our hero refuses to accept. So begins the story.

Through a brilliant set of circumstances we are introduced into the world of opera and one diva in particular. Of course, the two fall for each other in a searing mixture of race (she is black), adultry (she is married) and secrets (she has lots). Along the way we meet one of his clients, Nighhawk, a bitter computer hacker who helps Hammond in discovering the truth of what really happened to his friend. The beauty of the book is the way it ties everything together even if the ending is a tad rushed. Reed Arvin is a splendid writer that I would encourage everyone to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on February 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Doug hated needles, so when he died of what the Atlanta cops brush off as just another accidental overdose, his lawyer friend, Jack, gets to thinking: no way Doug would have been injecting drugs, and that's how the fatal dose was delivered. In this gripping book, everyone seems to have a past they'd rather others not know about. Doug's secret married lover, her pharmaceutical-owner husband, Doug's lawyer friend... Skullduggery is uncovered as Jack digs through the dirty little secret layers. The Last Goodbye has love, sex, greed, money, and violence - an excellent combination for this nevertheless subtle noir of a book. Great stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on February 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Let me tell you" says Jack Hammond at the very beginning of one of the most intriguing novels I have read in some time. And tell us he does. He says he is doing it because confession is supposed to be good for the soul.
Jack's first confession involves his downfall from a prestigioius Atlanta law firm. He is approached by a beautiful woman who begs him to accept a pro bono representation of her boyfriend who is charged with a drug crime. At first he declines but the vision of the woman remains with him and he finally asks for permission from his firm to take on the case. Once permission was granted one thing leads to another and the grateful girlfriend winds up in Jack's bed for a night of lovemaking. The boyfriend is successfully defended and thanks his girlfriend for her efforts on his behalf by beating her to death. This time he gets a bargain basement lawyer who thinks the jury might have some sympathy for his client if the fact of the amorous relationship is brought out, so Jack is subpoenaed to a deposition and the story comes out. End of job in tony Atlanta law firm.
Two years later...he is trolling the depths of the criminal justice system as the sole practitioner in Jack Hammond and Associates when he is notified that one of his former clients has died of a drug overdose. As Jack explores the cirsumstances of the death, things do not add up and he is inexorably drawn into a mystery which has many roads, but no easy endings.
Another beautiful woman surfaces as he tries to unravel the facts behind the death. Powerful forces are at work to prevent both of them from finding the answers they seek and the story weaves together like a fine rug to a powerful ending.
Reed Arvin is an outstanding writer with a keen ear for diologue and the ability to tell a story in such a way that you are sorry to see the pages getting fewer. The Last Goodbye was my first exposure to this writer. It will not be the last.
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