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The Last Time She Saw Him (Julia Gooden Mystery: Book 1) by Jane Haseldine


Publisher: Kensington

Date of Publication: June 28, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery Thriller, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Adult Fiction, Contemporary,

Series: Julia Gooden Mystery

The Last Time She Saw Him—Book 1

Duplicity—Book 2 (review here)

Worth Killing For—Book 3

You Fit the Pattern—Book 4

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

In Jane Haseldine’s gripping and brilliantly crafted debut, a reporter searching for her kidnapped son must untangle the connection to her brother’s long-ago disappearance.

Julia Gooden remembers nothing about the worst night of her life. Thirty years ago, her nine-year-old brother Ben—the person who promised he would always protect her—was abducted from the room they shared. Try as she might to recall any clue or detail, there is a black hole where Julia’s memories of that terrible event should be.

Now a crime reporter at a Detroit newspaper, Julia tries to give others the closure she’s never found. But guilt and grief over Ben’s disappearance have left her fearful that whoever took her brother is going to come back. Nowhere seems safe—not the city, not the suburbs, not even the secluded lake town where she plans to raise her children. And then, on the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, Julia’s worst fears are realized when her two-year-old son, Will, is snatched from his bed.

Convinced that the crimes are related, Julia tries to piece together memories from her final day with Ben. Are the sudden reminders of her brother clues that will lead her to her son’s abductor, or merely coincidence? Julia knows she has hours at best to find Will alive, but the deeper she digs, the more personal and terrifying the battle becomes, and an undying promise may be her only hope of saving herself and her son.

My review:

If you are looking for a book that showcases the best and worst of people and has a dash of the supernatural in it, read this book.

Julia was not a character that was likable, and I love that the author wrote her that way. She suffers survivor’s guilt after her older brother was kidnapped out of their room when she was 7. That one event shaped her entire life. Julia tortures herself over his disappearance. This has affected all areas of her life, from her job and marriage to how she parents her children.

The story got going when her 2-year-old was kidnapped out of his room. The author did a great job writing that part of the book too. She captured Julia’s terror and her fight to get her child away from the kidnappers.

The book then became a mishmash of the present and past.  It was discovered that the same Indian head arrow was left under Will’s crib. Which was a connection to her brother’s disappearance.

But all is not what it seems. Clues were given by a pedophile pastor. A police detective was halfway in love with her. I didn’t know what direction the book was going in. And that was the best thing about it!!!

I didn’t know who the kidnappers were until the very end of the book. The author did a fantastic job of keeping that hidden. She threw out red herrings and created a couple of false leads that, when it was revealed, I  went, “Whaaaat??

I would recommend The Last Time She Saw Him to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and no sex. There are also graphic descriptions of sexually abused children.

If you enjoyed reading The Last Time She Saw Him; you will enjoy reading these books:

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