This emotive crime story starts with a stressful event at a
school. Then it proceeds into what publishers are now
calling a psychological chiller; this apparently translates
as a serial killer stalking story. Now we know. I might not
have picked up LAST TO DIE if I'd known, as I don't like
serial killer books. Then again, I might, as Arlene Hunt is
a very good writer.
Jessie Conway is an admirable young married woman who gets
caught up in events beyond her control. She defends her
pupils and attracts the attention of Caleb Switch, a
psychopath who enjoys hunting and shooting women. Darla
Levine, a bored reporter from the local paper,
inadvertently makes Jessie interesting to him by calling
the young sportswoman and teacher a hero. The location,
between North Carolina and Tennessee, has plenty of rough
country. Caleb plans to abduct Jessie and hunt her down for
a real challenge.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and more recent mass shooting
and kidnap events have clearly inspired parts of the book.
With strong language, adult references and violence, this
is definitely for adult crime readers. At the same time the
portrayal of the small town atmosphere, under pressure from
drug abuse and family neglect, is heartfelt and sobering.
Not everyone in town is on Jessie's side; even teenaged
maniacs have family. Darla is determined to dig up some
dirt on Jessie. Oddly enough, Jessie hasn't told her
husband Mike about the story Darla finds.
I like, in the final overlook, how the town unifies more
than once in the face of tragedy, worry or danger. Dogs are
also a recurring theme. The bond between people and dogs is
an old one, and dogs, with heightened senses, make people
stronger. The last third of the book is the best for me,
with the inevitable abduction and chase. We come to know
Mike a lot better and to understand the people living in
these isolated areas. Arlene Hunt who is an Irish crime
author, wrote LAST TO DIE in 2011 and won immediate praise
for her evocation of the setting. Now the book has been re-
released in e-book format to make it available to more
readers. And unless they are particularly tender readers,
it will reward their attention.
When Jessie Conway survives a horrific mass high school
shooting, in the aftermath she finds herself thrust into the
media spotlight, drawing all kinds of attention. But some of
it is the wrong kind.
Caleb Switch, a sadistic serial killer, has been watching
her every move. A skilled hunter, he likes his victims to be
a challenge. Jessie is strong, fearless, a survivor, and
now… she is his ultimate prey.
As Caleb picks off his current victims one by one, chasing,
killing and butchering them with his crossbow, he's closing
in on Jessie... But will Jessie defy the odds and escape
with her life? Or will she be Caleb's final sacrifice …
A clever, dangerously twisted thriller that will have fans
of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter gripped until the very