eBook review copy; 304 pages
The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta is a highly recommended topical novel of suspense.
It seems that freshman college student Emily Shapiro has gone missing. Emily just happens to be the daughter of the college president. She also has recently filed rape charges against Beta Psi Fraternity member Dylan Highsmith, the son of the state's lieutenant governor. Dylan is caught on security tapes following Emily and is arguably the last person to see her.
In-between chapters following Anna and the investigation, as well as other characters, is the transcripts of the vlog, video log/diary, Emily was keeping for a class. The diary tells Emily's story while the investigation uncovers more information about Dylan, his actions, the frat parties, Emily's case, and the university's response. Anna is also asking herself questions and must make some choices about her uncertain personal life.
The Last Good Girl is well written and the plot moves along at a good pace. The suspense of the investigation and what they are discovering will keep you reading. There are several surprises along the way too, especially the ending. This would be a great airplane book. It'll hold your attention.
While I like the character of Anna, I did feel like I was missing some vital background information jumping into this fifth book in the series. The plot lost nothing, the suspense was there as the investigation was underway, but I was lacking the extra information about the character's relationships. Now, this is easy to simple overlook, but it's always good to know that the book is fifth in a series before you start it.
I'd also have to agree that Dylan is an over-the-top stereotype/parody: the bad frat boy who is rich and arrogant with a well-connected, powerful family. It's not that it can't be true, but he's just so.... everything.
The actual "ripped-from-the-headlines" plot consists of the statistics for rape on college campuses and problems relating to fraternities. Living in a town with a large university means that these problems aren't just statistics for my community. It's a real problem. But for those of us who went to college many years ago, we know it has also been a problem for years. I'd like to think, from what I have read, that most colleges and universities are taking rape and sexual assault very seriously now, which makes this novel a bit unfortunate, as far as the depicted reaction of those at the college.
The same can be said about problems with fraternities. Frats don't seem to getting away with what this frat did anymore. That's not to say that there can't be problems, but, again, I think most colleges try to keep a closer eye on things now.