Last Girl Gone – J. G. Hetherton
I was fortunate to receive this novel as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.
Laura Chambers is an investigative reporter, who – after a scandalous exclusive and forced retraction in Boston – has returned home to Hillsborough, North Carolina, to lick her wounds. She is able to procure a position with the local newspaper but finds herself limited to ‘small town’ reporting, and competing with the mayors’ son, also a reporter. Then, the first young girl disappears and turns up dead. Soon, another is taken.
Using her big city skills, and her ‘sometime’ cop lover, Laura is able to deduce that the FBI has been consulted and manages to contact the investigative Special Agent, ‘Tim’ Timinski. While the agent is reluctant to trust her with present information, he refers her back to a similar occurrence thirty years ago – where three young girls had also gone missing and killed, in hopes that re-emerging information with an old case may help. Laura enlists the help of the former investigating deputy of the cold cases, Donald Rodgers, who has never been able to forget the case he couldn’t solve.
As she researches those killings, to find new information to keep the story on the front page, she enlists her therapist Jasmine to help her create a profile of the killer, as she researches and speculates that past and present killings may be linked.
A cracked code leads to a showdown in a secluded cabin where both a disgraced cop and the suspected killer are killed, and Laura is left injured. The killer is dead, now where is the missing child?
As the search continues, Laura discovers more links to past and present, leading her to believe that perhaps the killer isn’t dead at all, but alive and well, searching for the next victim, and that victim may just be Laura herself…
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters are well developed, and the story is full of satisfying twists and turns that I did not see coming. While I can usually identify the protagonist early on, this book kept me guessing right up to the end – and then the end was especially satisfying!
Great read!! Hoping to see more soon from Mr. Hetherton!!