Mystery is one of the genres in literature that just never goes out of fashion. One can always brew up something or the other when it comes to this genre. The trick is to grasp the attention of the readers from the very first pages and keep it consistent throughout the novel. Another thing that a good mystery novel should have is authenticity and a set pace. The instances in the novel must not look like they are being imposed upon the readers and the story must unfold at a pace convenient enough for the reader to grasp the events. “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave ticks all these boxes. It captivates you from the very first lines and maintains a smooth consistency throughout the novel. If you are a mystery lover then you’re sure to like what is to come in the next few lines. So read on.
The plot of the novel is a pretty basic one. It deals with the sudden disappearance of a character and the events that follow. Owen Michaels mysteriously disappears from the lives of his family – his wife of one year Hanna Hall and his daughter from his previous marriage.
Hanna Hall and Owen Michaels are a couple, married to each other for just about a year now. Hannah is all set to win over Owen’s 16 years old daughter, Bailey. Bailey does not really despise Hannah, contrary to most step mother- step daughter duos, and overall they are a happy family. Mystery starts to kindle in their otherwise normal life when Owen disappears suddenly, with nothing to trace him by. Just days after the CEO of the company in which Owen used to work gets arrested on grounds of corruption. Owen remains unreachable.
All that Owen has left behind for Hannah is a note with the words “protect her” written on it. Hannah understands that the “her” referred to on the note is Bailey. Owen also leaves behind half a million dollars cash for the girl. Hannah cannot really figure out anything and when the police start to investigate the disappearance of Owen Michaels and start to ask Hannah questions about her husband and his life, something tells Hannah that the man was not entirely and just what she thought him to be. Hannah and Bailey decide to get to the core of the disappearance of Owen and start their own investigation.
Secrets unfold and truths become clearer over time. In this thrilling mystery novel, Dave keeps the readers hooked till the very end of the pages with the fast-paced and enticing style of the novel. As the novel unfolds the relationship between the mother and the daughter evolves as well. It is in fact one of the best and sweetest parts of the novel.
A mystery novel should keep the readers hooked till the very end. The dialogues must be device in manners that they enhance the thrill in the novel and yet not give out any direct information that would break the suspense train in the middle. The unfolding of the novel should be such that the readers are able to fit in every piece of the jigsaw in retrospect and yet are not given any direct hints of the ending before the actual ending is reached.
“The Last Thing He Told Me” keeps in mind all of the above. It has a gripping style and the story develops at a brisk pace. There aren’t as many twists and turns as an active mystery reader would expect and yet the book is a solid page-turner. The briskness of the novel does not tamper with character development though. The author maintains a steady hand on the flow of the novel throughout the book. It does not impose its events on the readers. It gives them the time they need.
Another great thing about the novel is that even though it is not that heavy on the suspense side, it does not have any trouble in keeping the suspense lovers hooked to its pages. The thing is, there is one primary strain of suspense in the novel. There is a disappearance following which certain events lead to certain revelations which in turn lead to the truth. It’s a rather basic plotline but the development of the characters along with the plot is what makes this novel stand apart from several of its contemporaries.
The writing style is simple and is sure to reach out to all the readers. It is nothing too fancy and does not focus on using words that would add a lot of razzle-dazzle to the style and yet fail to get across the story. The book is sure to fascinate any mystery lover out there.
One minor drawback that the novel probably has is that the plot loosens a bit towards the end. However, it does not really affect the overall experience of reading the novel. Fans of the author would surely dismiss it.
This has been a good read. The novel makes you want to keep up with it, exercise your brain, and become a part of the world of the novel. The experience has been immersive and engaging. If you are a mystery lover or a book lover in general, this would be a good choice for your next read. It does not drag on unnecessarily and gives you the sense of fulfillment and happiness that you as a reader deserve.