Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Last Thing I Told You

The Last Thing I Told You by Emily Arsenault
William Marrow: 7/24/18
eBook review copy; 416 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062567369

The Last Thing I Told You by Emily Arsenault is a highly recommended psychological mystery/police procedural.

When therapist Dr. Mark Fabian is found Bludgeoned to death in his office, it shakes the town of Campion, Connecticut. In the opening chapter former patient Nadine Raines finds Fabian's body and flees, full of conflicting emotions and introspection. After a violent incident at the local high school, she was a patient of Fabian's 20 years ago, starting when she was sixteen until she went off to college at eighteen. Nadine's chapters find her contemplating and replaying events from her life, including her sessions with the doctor. Why did she come back to see the doctor after so many years away?

Henry Peacher is the detective investigating Fabian’s death. He is a local hero after he stopped mass shooter Johnny Streeter's killing spree at a nursing home five years previously. Now, as he tries to piece together clues found in Fabian's office, he knows he needs to look into the doctors patients. His search leads him to two old files that the doctor had pulled and left out in his home. One file is Nadine's; the other file is Johnny Streeter's. Are the two connected? Henry also remembers Nadine from high school and the incident that lead her to therapy. Could she still have the same violent tendencies or hold a grudge against the doctor?

I really enjoyed the alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Nadine Raines and Detective Henry Preacher. Both are nuanced, well developed, imperfect characters. Henry Preacher is a great, realistically portrayed character and I loved the chapters following the police investigation. Nadine's chapters brought in the psychological thriller aspects to the novel. She is tormented still from her past. Much of her inner monologue is addressed to the doctor, as if she is still in therapy with him, and also dwells on other events from her past and childhood.

The Last Thing I Told You is really a enjoyable, well written novel with a nice twist at the end. It's not really a shocking thriller, but it is a very satisfying investigation with some psychological unease provided by Nadine's inner commentary. The suspense does continue to build gradually as the investigation continues and Nadine's commentary provides more background information. The setting, in a small town where everyone always seems to know everyone else, adds an additional dimension to the novel. I found the ending very satisfying because it reflected how an investigation might suddenly take an oblique turn, based on evidence, to find a resolution to the case.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of William Marrow.

No comments: