The Last Child
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Product Description

John Hart’s New York Times bestselling debut, The King of Lies, announced the arrival of a major talent. With Down River, he surpassed his earlier success, transcending the barrier between thriller and literature and winning the 2008 Edgar Award for best novel. Now, with The Last Child, he achieves his most significant work to date, an intricate, powerful story of loss, hope, and courage in the face of evil.

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he’d been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing . . .

Undeterred by Hunt’s threats or his mother’s pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.

Traveling the wilderness between innocence and hard wisdom, between hopelessness and faith, The Last Child leaves all categories behind and establishes John Hart as a writer of unique power.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent book.........
    I was given an advanced copy of this book with nothing in mind other than the fact that it was free. I finished it in a day. I could not put it down. It simply is one of the best books I have ever read. I give high marks to John Hart and look forward to reading his previous work and whatever future books he may produce....more info
  • Disappointing
    Let me start out by saying that I am surprised that my opinion about this book differs from most of the other reviewers. I was disappointed with it, and I thought it had its problems.

    First, brief summary with no spoilers:

    This is the story of a 13 year old boy named Johnny, who is heartbroken because his twin sister, Alyssa, has gone missing for one year. His father has left the family, and his mother has turned into a shell of a woman - abusing drugs and alcohol and letting herself be further abused by a rich bully named Ken.

    Johnny is obsessed with finding his sister, and this book is about his search for her, and the resolution to that mystery. We also become acquainted with a detective named Hunt, who is a good man, and is also obsessed with finding Alyssa. Hunt has problems of his own, and his determination to find Alyssa often comes in conflict with his bosses at work, and with his relationship with his own teenage son.

    The good things about this book -

    The mystery itself is quite good. We are given clues fair and square, and the denouement has a nice twist.

    The not-so-good things about this book -

    The characters are too stereotypical. We have the hard-working but noble detective,who not only has to battle the bad guys, but has to contend with his supervisors who foolishly and nonsensically try to stop him and foil his efforts.

    We have the villain, child/woman abuser Ken, who always behaves badly, even when it would serve him better to act differently. He's a one-dimensional character. And the same could be said for some of the other bad guys, who practically snarl at us.

    Then there's the devastated mother, who of course is the most beautiful woman in town. Although I do understand her devastating loss, I also found her behavior contradictory - in that she seemed more of a plot devise than a real person.

    Lastly, we have our young hero - 13 year old Johnny - which leads me to my biggest complaint, the dialogue.

    The dialogue in this novel often feels forced, and when said aloud, sounds labored and contrived. Especially the dialogue between Johnny and best friend, 13 year old Jack. Here's just one short example, with Jack talking to Johnny about his own mother:

    He barked a laugh. "My mom is one step away from foot washing and snake handling, Johnny man. You know that. She prays for my soul like I might burst into flames at any moment. She does it at home. She does it in public."

    What 13 year old talks like this?

    Although I had major quibbles with this book, I thought it had an interesting plot, and a nice twist at the end....more info
  • Thoroughly captivating
    From the beginning, the story was thoroughly captivating and this mature, thrilling whodunit is a bit unique in that the protagonist is a 13-year old boy. Neither Johnny nor the detective that has been working the case for the past year can let go of the unsolved disappearance of Johnny's twin sister. Each page unravels a bit more of the past as Johnny gets a little closer to finding out the circumstances of his sister's disappearance. The last 75 pages were like a roller coaster ride and were so captivating that it was impossible to put the book down until the last page was turned....more info
  • (4.5) "He learned early that there was no safe place."


    At the heart of this provocative novel is a thirteen-year-old boy, Johnny Merrimon. Since his twin sister disappeared a year ago, Johnny's secure home life has literally been destroyed by the tragedy. His grief-stricken father has abandoned the family, his mother, Katherine, has fallen into an unhealthy relationship with a wealthy and powerful man who provides a bottomless supply of drugs and uses his fists against the boy. So Johnny has spent an agonizing year, armed with plat maps and Katherine's station wagon, conducting his own search of shady men and the places they inhabit. Observing Johnny from the sidelines, Detective Clyde Hunt tries to guide the boy away from the danger he courts, but Johnny will not be deterred. Hunt is riddled with guilt because he has failed to keep his promise to the family to return the girl safely home. This case is personal.

    When random violence and another missing girl lead the detective to a potential suspect, the story is propelled into another dimension: "Darkness is a cancer of the human heart." A third character suddenly becomes critical to both Johnny's safety and the resolution of Alyssa's disappearance. A giant black man, Levi Freemantle, is somehow linked to Johnny through a recent incident, a man with the mental limitations of a child but a heart larger than the world will forgive. Responding only to directions from the voice of God, Levi stumbles through a wilderness of shattered dreams, a wounded man driven by a singular purpose. To his great credit, the author molds his dark tale into one of hope and promise, but not until the face of evil is exposed and Johnny is in peril. The reader becomes conversant with human nature at its most depraved, a complex layering of good intentions and fatal shortcomings.

    While Johnny's character propels the story, the emotional anguish of Detective Hunt is equally as compelling, a man who believes in the rule of law yet daily faces the ugly truth of existence on the fringes of society, the underbelly of poverty and crime. The fragile Katherine is less attractive, all but crippled by her grief, seeing her lost daughter in Johnny's face while burying her pain in a drug-induced haze. The result is a child forced to become a man, a boy without a father who will not stop until he finds his sister. Rural North Carolina is the setting for this novel, a place rich with history and tradition, where bureaucracy constrains the well-intentioned Hunt and Social Services threatens to intervene on Johnny's behalf. Shirking no aspect of a difficult and painful landscape, Hart embraces the vagaries of the human condition and the seduction of violence, the loss of innocence and an unknown future. Herein lie the harsh lessons of forgiveness and redemption. Luan Gaines/2009.
    ...more info
  • Little Boy Lost
    John Hart's "Last Child" is an amazing read- an intelligent thriller with heart.

    This book is the story of Johnny Merrimon, a thirteen-year-old boy whose twin sister has been kidnapped. Only Johnny has lost far more than just his twin sister- all at once his happy, suburban life torn apart and thrown into the gutter where his father has left, his mother is a drugged-out shadow of her former self and they live in a crumbling house that can hardly be called a home.

    Johnny has been looking for the one thing he thinks can set it all right, make it all go back to how it was 'before': his twin sister Alyssa. And now another girl has gone missing and Johnny is entangled in the death of a stranger.

    Johnny isn't the only one haunted by the specter of loss. Detective Clyde Hunt is the lead investigator on Alyssa's case which has gone cold. Now, with another girl gone missing a year after Alyssa, he swears he'll bring this girl home.

    This is a fantastic book- if there were more stars available I'd give it more. It took me a while to get into it but once I hit the third chapter, I knew I'd be staying up until I finished the whole thing. It was that good. There is a complex cast of well-developed characters that orbit around Johnny who is both heroic and damaged. This may not be the fastest, easiest read, especially if you categorize this as a thriller but it is fully absorbing and well worth the time. There were times when I found myself gasping out loud as I read, Hart paints such a vivid picture of his characters from an emotional perspective. I absolutely agonized with Johnny at every turn.

    If you enjoy thrillers and mysteries, you'll love this- if you just like good literature, you'll love this, too.

    ...more info
  • Stunning
    John Hart has done it again! This novel is at once gripping, heart wrenching, adventerous, and lyrical. The Last Child is Southern Literature at its finest. You do not want to miss this outstanding story into a young boy's heart and the evil that lurks behind unexpected faces....more info
  • The last Child
    I was able to read an advanced copy of this book and I have to tell you it is a "Must Read". I read it in 2 1/2 days. I couldn't put it down. Great writting! If you are in Greensboro NC call the Greensboro Children's Museum to buy a raffle ticket to have your name in his next book. The winner will be picked monday night at a fundraiser for the Greensboro Children's Museum....more info
  • Grabs your nerve-endings; hangs on like a Terrier.
    John Hart's, THE LAST CHILD, is a stellar contribution to the mystery, thriller, genre. It also fits the drama category, as well, for its dramatic emotional effects. So, I label this read a MTD, and, for me, one that excels on all of these levels.

    When I read the book description, I almost passed on this opportunity. I wasn't sure I wanted to read about child abduction, since we are being bombarded with media and Amber alerts and, unfortunately, living this sad reality. So why bring it into my limited, leisure time? My mind was screaming, enough already, it's too depressing of a theme.

    But, I decided to give it a chance and I'm SO glad I did. I immediately fell in love with Hart's writing style, which is poignantly descriptive. His characters became fully realized for me, as well as the small town, southern atmosphere. Simply put, it is a very classical writing style, which is one of the strengths of this novel, and sorely missed in many works within the genre. Hart's style motivated me to add his previous novel, DOWN RIVER, to my 'wish list,' as he now has another devoted fan.

    Hart's primary characters are profoundly wounded and fragile, as they all strive to cope with the abduction of Alyssa, Johnny's 13 year old, twin sister. This once ideal family, falls into the depths of dysfunction. The father goes missing; mom battles her demons through anesthesia with drugs and alcohol. In an attempt to restore normalcy to his family, Johnny becomes obsessed with finding his sister, with the help of best friend, Jack---a most colorful character. Meanwhile, you, as the reader, are left biting your nails, hoping for this family's safety and the redemption of the fallen, while scratching your head wondering---who did this terrible thing!

    Several felt Johnny was too young to have such mature behaviors and dedication to the cause. I tend to disagree. He was, after all, a teenager---many of whom can be quite mature for their age, particularly when driven by neglect, physical and emotional abuse. In essence, his childhood was stolen from him, the day Alyssa was stolen. And, he makes some foolish mistakes on his journey, that could be attributed to his youth and lack of worldly experience. A couple that almost cost him, and Jack, their lives.

    Be prepared, that as Johnny and Jack set out to find Alyssa, this book will become 'unputdownable.' You will be introduced to multiple integral characters and, twists and turns, that will keep the pages flying. Solving the crime does not come easy; the ending provides realistic closure. You will find yourself grieving, but cheering at the same time, over several situations, as this multi-layered story unfolds....more info
  • Just not up to his other work!
    I had a really hard time getting into this, it was really difficult to keep reading. I love this author so much, I think I may try again, maybe I missed something at the beginning that would draw me in....it is hard for me to review it since I really think I should try again....more info
  • This Guy Can Really Write!
    After having read both of John Hart's previous novels, "King of Lies" and "Down River" and loved both of them, I pre-ordered his latest and held my breath hoping he wouldn't disappoint. I was not let down and I believe this is his finest to date.

    The characters in this book will grab your heart and not let go in this fast paced thriller that has great insight on the pain of guilt and tragedy as a family is pulled apart after the abduction of Alyssa, the twin sister of the main character Johnny who will travel into the unknown in order to find her in order to put his family back together.

    I read this book in two days, couldn't put it down and when I finished, I was literally out of breath and felt as if I had been part of the story and had been watching and running on the sidelines. I highly recommend this book, and kudo's to John Hart, one of the greatest new authors to walk on the scene in quite some time. This book would make an excellent movie in the right producer's hands.

    Clint Eastwood, are you listening?...more info
  • KEEPS YOU GUESSING
    THE LAST CHILD

    Johnny Merrimon is living in hell. His twin sister, Alyssa, has been missing for over a year. His dad, unable to cope with this family tragedy, has left. His mom has gotten tangled up in an abusive relationship. Her 'boyfriend' keeps her under his thumb with drugs and booze. Johnny has no one to turn to, so he takes matters into his own hands.

    He searches endlessly for his sister, looking for clues, searching out child predators, doing a heck of a job on his own. We meet a cast of characters that add a spark to this book.

    Clyde Hunt, a detective, puts his own personal/family life on hold to break this case. Suddenly, the ball starts to roll -- there is a murder of someone who may know what happened to Alyssa, bodies are found, another girl goes missing. Wow --

    Johnny and Hunt are both on a mission no matter what the cost. They want to solve the mystery of the missing Alyssa, the multiple murders, want to get Johnny's mom out of her relationship and off the drugs. The action never stops.

    John Hart writes a good story. He keeps the reader guessing. I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen, who-dun-it, where the story was going. I was totally wrong and never in a million years would have guessed the ending. And that's what makes a good writer.

    Check out this book. John Hart has two other books, THE KING OF LIES and DOWN RIVER.

    Thank you.

    Pam

    ...more info
  • Amazing!
    I bought this book because of all of the good reviews. I'm always on the lookout for new authors and this book was amazing. Now I'm going to read his other two books. I would recommend this book....more info
  • Haunting...this one will stay with you
    As often happens, I had a stack of 6 books I needed to read and review. With my last pile, for some reason, this one kept getting pushed down under and the other day I picked it up, finally, because it was the last one. And wow, it's a good one!

    The story is about a 13-year-old boy who is searching for his twin sister -- she's believed to have been kidnapped. All leads have been exhausted, the father has left the family behind because of guilt, and the mother is a pill popping mess -- now tended by a cruel rich man in town who abuses her and her son, Johnny. The detective originally assigned to the case, Clyde Hunt, can't let it go, is infatuated with the beautiful grieving mother. Common enough plot.

    Despite the usual conventions with a plot of this nature, this book works on many levels because there is so much more going on. We meet some very interesting characters and are taken on quite a wild ride. I cared deeply about Johnny, his friend Jack and about Levi. In some ways, this book is a study of the complexity of friendship and the nature of all kinds of love. Great writing!The climax is surprising because of the clever red herrings and the ending is touching, appropriate, and fulfilling.

    I recommend this one, giving it 4 stars only because the one part that I can't get past is the detective and his obsession with the grieving mom. She seemed a cliche of "damsel in distress" and I can't even imagine how she could still be so "beautiful" with all the drugs she was doing and she sure wasn't an example of a character with any depth....more info
  • satisfying cime nevel
    "Down River" was one of my favoirte books last year. He's done it again. Strongly recommended for those who love the genre. Good characters and plot....more info
  • Engrossing, but depressing
    "The Last Child" is a well-written, engrossing mystery. Some of the reviews have called the characters stereotypical, but I think that's a little harsh. I think of them more as archetypal characters, the mother who falls apart at the loss of her child, the obsessed detective who can't let go of an unsolved case, even though it costs him his own family, the gutsy kid who shows a strength and determination far beyond his years, and the rich and powerful man who believes his wealth entitles him to whatever he wants. The question is, does Hart do a good job in developing these characters and making them real. For the most part, he does. Some of the characters were extremely irritating, but the story held my interest from beginning to end. The tone of the book is rather dark and depressing and I really appreciated the epilogue, where Hart manages to leave the reader with the hope of better days to come....more info
  • fine thriller
    In rural North Carolina, twelve year old Alyssa Merrimon was going home from the library when she vanished. Police Detective Clyde Hunt led the failed investigation and marshaled the townsfolk to search for the child, but she was never found nor were any clues of foul play uncovered. The case has since turned cold with people feelings sorry for the Merrimon matriarch and Alyssa's twin; the father simply left soon after his daughter disappeared.

    Although everyone else has given up on finding Alyssa as the assumption is she is dead, her twin brother Johnny refuses to end his search though one year has passed since she disappeared. He walks every street going door to door and even confronts known sex offenders. Hunt worries the two Merrimon have lost their minds as Johnny obsesses and his mom has mentally withdrawn in a breakdown. Johnny gains renewed hope when a second abduction occurs as he believes the same culprit took his sibling.

    Obstinate Johnny as THE LAST CHILD searching for his missing twin brings pathos and tension to this exhilarating small town thriller. Slowly step by step he begins to uncover secrets that place him in danger; but though he knows his life is at risk he refuses to give up his quest. Fans will not just root for the brave boy, but accompany him all the way as a small town that looks idyllically rustic conceals danger lurking behind the serene fa?ade.

    Harriet Klausner
    ...more info
  • Where is Alyssa?
    John Hart's "The Last Child: A Novel" is initially deceptive, leading one to expect that Johnny, the thirteen-year-old hero or antihero of the tale, silhouetted on the cover, would favor riding a bicycle. Not so, his controlling choice is a car or truck, whether "borrowed" or surreptitiously commandeered.

    Is a small first-year teen able to drive? Not legally, I suspect, not on the roads. Yet, I think of the youngest of my parents' four boys -- followed by a girl. The last boy beat us all. At age twelve, he was driving farmer Max's tractor in the tillable fields in front of the woods behind our folks' rented house on ten acres in Michigan. I was the last to learn, the USMC otherwise occupying me at the end of WWII.

    In "The Last Child," Johnny's family had been happy. But the past year had been devastating for them, ever since Johnny's twin sister, Alyssa, had been abducted while walking alone. Their mother, Katherine, had blamed their father, Spencer, who had also blamed himself, because he was supposed to have picked up Alyssa. The guilt made Spencer walk away and not return.

    Johnny's very beautiful mother, was inconsolable, turning to drugs and alcohol, abetted by Ken Holloway, who had stepped in after Spencer's departure. Holloway was a rich mall owner and property developer, on the surface highly successful, but in private was mean, physically abusive to Johnny, and tightly controlling of Katherine.

    Johnny wanted Ken to be gone, had even thought a couple of times of taking a knife to Ken's chest. Johnny wanted things to go back to the way they were. The police had seemed ineffectual. Johnny decides to begin the search himself, driving around at night in any vehicle he can get his hands on, spying on the houses of known "bad" guys in neighboring areas. Meanwhile, another young girl, Tiffany Shore, had vanished.

    Deeply involved in the cases is Detective Clyde Hunt. Johnny doesn't know whether to trust him or not. Hunt's superiors feel that Hunt is spending too much time on the old Alyssa case instead of the new Tiffany Shore one, berating him because of an obvious personal interest he has in Johnny and Alyssa's mother Katherine.

    The book is an engrossing thriller, complex, psychologically taut, and beautifully done. There are many finely drawn characters, challenging interconnecting plots, and much graphic description. A definite page turner. Suspenseful. The writing is stark, vivid, down-and-out plain speaking, and masculine. The author likes to end some chapters and sections in unobtrusive couplets, not rhyming -- good touches.

    Jack Hart is an excellent wordsmith. I plan to seek out his earlier works and wait for the next.
    ...more info
  • Putting the pieces together
    A year ago Johnny Merrimon's 12-year-old twin sister disappeared. It was an absence that left a gaping hole in the fabric of a family, in the professional life of the lead detective, in friend and foe alike of peripheral people. John Hart's "The Last Child" is a heart-breaker.

    Detective Clyde Hunt (great name) promised Katherine he would find Alyssa, but he hasn't. The father left in disgust because Katherine blamed him for Alyssa's disappearance. Then the oily, rich Ken Holloway oozed into Katherine's home and bed like muck to drug and abuse Katherine and manhandle Johnny. Even Johnny's best friend Jack acts differently toward him.

    Johnny is different. He continues the search for Alyssa on his own, using a county map, his bicycle, night hours, and school hours. He has X'ed the spot of every house containing an evil man. The night Johnny sits below the bridge and witnesses a homicide by vehicle with the body flying over the railing, landing not far from his feet, the impetus of the novel changes. Everything centers around the dying man's words: I found her.

    Hart's characterizations are the force of this ever-deepening descent into the study of evil and secrets. When the mystery of the giant man with the scarred face is introduced just after the body hits the ground, readers know they have a multi-faceted thriller in their hands.

    It becomes a race of time for both Johnny and Detective Hunt to find the abductor of a second girl one year after Alyssa disappeared. Hart creates all these threads that he keeps taut, finessing both plot and characterizations. I loved both Johnny and Detective Hunt because both are drawn so believably and honestly, making the reader care.

    What I didn't like was the outcome to Alyssa's abduction. It was totally unexpected and heartbreaking to so many characters. But it is Hart's book and his choice. However, the path there is one I'm glad I took. I do want to read more by John Hart.

    ...more info
  • John Hart is fantastic writer!
    Great storyline. Great characters. I cannot say enough about this author. I have read Down River and King of Lies....he is exceptional!...more info
  • Hart Delivers
    He may not be as prolific as some writers, but you can count on getting your moneys worth. A great read that makes most of the current best sellers in the genre seem like trash by comparison....more info
  • "Johnny learned early."
    Two pieces of good news for fans of detective/thriller fiction: John Hart tells one hell of a good story and he is getting better and better each time out. Set in rural North Carolina, "The Last Child" tells the story of 13-year-old Johnny Merriman who is still searching for his twin sister who disappeared a year earlier. Johnny refuses to believe that she might be long dead. Instead, convinced that Alyssa is still alive and being held captive nearby, he is consumed with the idea of finding her before it is too late.

    Johnny Merriman's world was shattered by his sister's disappearance. Unable to deal with his own grief, Johnny's father has also disappeared, leaving Johnny's mother at the mercy of a wealthy real estate developer who keeps her so strung out on booze and drugs that she spends most of her time in bed - right where he wants her. As Johnny sees it, he is the only one who can make things right again.

    Johnny, though, has an ally in Detective Clyde Hunt, a man who is so haunted by his own failure to find Alyssa that one year later he still cannot get a good night's sleep. Hunt is, in fact, so obsessed with the case that he has let his obsession destroy his marriage and ruin his relationship with his only son. Because Johnny distrusts all police officers, he searches for his sister on his own, beginning with his attempt at a house-by-house questioning of his entire community. As Johnny digs deeper and deeper into the town's secrets, the wrong people begin to get nervous and Hunt finds it impossible to protect the boy from himself.

    John Hart is a masterful storyteller but, just as importantly, his characters are real people motivated by the same emotions, desires and weaknesses that plague us all. As the plot of "The Last Child" takes its many twists and turns, the reader knows the characters well enough to predict how each of them will react to events and to each other - or does he just think that he does?

    Be forewarned that surprising twists come so fast in the book's last eighty or ninety pages that it is best to be prepared to read all those pages in one sitting. Once you start reading that last leg, there will be no stopping until you finish the final page.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.
    ...more info
  • Fine writing, but a story that failed to enthrall
    John Hart is one of the brightest new voices in suspense fiction. His first two novels (The King of Lies and Down River) were each among the year's best reads. Unfortunately, his third effort, The Last Child, doesn't capture the magic that the first two did.

    The Last Child is the story of a young boy in North Carolina who is obsessed with finding his missing sister. A year ago she got into a van with some unknown person and was never seen again. Now he's doing everything he can to find her -- and by doing so, puts his own life in jeopardy.

    The writing in The Last Child is fine, but the story never grabbed me like I hoped it would. The characters didn't ring true for me and I didn't find the scenario to be particularly believable or compelling.

    Hart is a great writer and I'll gladly read him again. But this one didn't work for me....more info
  • Terrific
    This was an absolutely fabulous book.

    Characters where multi-dimensional. Plot was good & believable.

    Ending was more than I could have hoped for. ...more info
  • Two men risk their lives to save a lost child
    Twins share a special bond. They know things about each other than no one else is privy to. And Johnny Merrimon listens to that bond when his sister Alyssa is kidnapped right in front of him. He knows she's still alive and continues to search for her with his best friend Jack long past the time when the other people in Raven County have given up.

    Detective Clyde Hunt is also haunted by the case as well. He's risking his marriage and his life as well on a hunch.

    You read the first few pages of "The Last Child" and like me, you will stay up until 3:30 to finish the book. The prose is crisp and the tale does not disappoint. This is not just a mystery, but a tale of friendship and character.

    Rebecca Kyle, May 2009...more info
  • Thirteen-Year Old Towers Over Tragedy
    John Hart's "The Last Child" is a gripping story of Johnny Merrimon, a thirteen-year old who lost his twin sister to an abduction. The year before, his best friend, Jack Cross, saw Johnny's sister Alyssa taken into van. When the tragedy happened, what used to be the happy Merrimon family started to crumble. His mother Katherine blamed her husband for not picking their daughter up. The accusation drove Spencer Merrimon away. Katherine spirals into a world of drugs and dependency on an old manipulative boyfriend.

    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.

    ...more info