Book Review – The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – Edge Of The Seat Thriller
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – The Last Thing He Told Me
When I picked up this novel, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. Would the book live up to the hype? Would the thriller thrill in ample measure. I’m happy to note that it does fulfill all expectations of it in ample measure. The story is engrossing, absorbing the reader into it and the climax, worth the wait!
There are secrets that many people keep from their families, not because they don’t love them but because they do – sounds complicated? It isn’t really, if you read this book, you will know what I mean. This is the story of a loving family man, till recently a single father to a sixteen year old girl, who just vanishes one morning. His family and friends are left in the dark, totally perplexed.
Owen Michaels, a coding whiz kid at a promising start-up – The Shop, based out of Sausalito, California – is the father of sixteen year old Bailey. He’s recently married his second wife Hannah, after the death of his first wife, Olivia, in a car crash many years ago. Bailey is resentful of his fathers’ second wife and hasn’t accepted Hannah into her life. Hannah is a wood turner by profession, and comes from a broken family, having been lovingly brought up by her maternal grandfather. Fourteen months into their marriage, Owen disappears, leaving a cryptic handwritten note for Hannah – ‘Protect Bailey’.
It is from here that the novel acquires its unique shape and form. A desperate and clueless wife and her most unlikely ally – her step-daughter, come together in an uneasy alliance, to find the man they so dearly love – Owen. The FBI is looking for him, so are the US Marshals and it is not clear why. Two desperate women/girl, rely on their memories – snippets of it at times, along with dogged persistence, follow Owen’s trail from the past. There is no Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction or Miss Marple-like instinct at work here, simply grasping one thread to another.
A vague statement from a conversation long ago, an incident or a reaction that didn’t make sense at that time – seem to make up the puzzle-like pieces that would probably fit, but don’t yet. It is in this ambiance of uncertainty, that this novel paints its brilliant picture! It is not a thriller that delivers chills and twists with every chapter, but more like unraveling a woolen pullover – it comes undone one string at a time. But all along there is this tingle or ripple of excitement bubbling just under the surface of apparent placidity, such is the beauty of the narrative spun by Laura Dave!
Conclusion – Book Review of The Last Thing He Told Me
There is a twist in the tale here, but not in the way you’d think. There’s the FBI, there are the US Marshals – but not in the way you’d think. There are no major investigations that is the focus here, they are small tit-bits. Laura Dave plays with the traditional elements of a thriller and makes them redundant. It is not about them, it is about one of the most primal things in human civilization – Family. The world rotates around it, and a whole lot of people put a lot of stake by it.
So, in a nutshell, it would be a minor crime in the world of book lovers – particularly those who love fiction, to not read this one. Little wonder then, that this book has been on The New York Times Bestseller list for three consecutive weeks already!
* I hope you have liked reading this book review, as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *