Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Last House Guest

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Simon & Schuster: 6/18/19
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501165375

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda is a very highly recommended mystery set along the coast in Maine.

Littleport, Maine is a summer playground for the wealthy and a simple harbor community dependent on tourism for the year-round residents. One surname that stands above all the others is Loman. The Loman's not only own a remarkable mansion on the shore, they also own a large number of rental properties currently managed by Avery Greer. Avery is a local, but she is best friends with Sadie Loman for almost a decade and has been welcomed into the Loman fold. They have stepped in to help after her parents and grandmother died and Avery had no one.

At the end of the summer in 2017 the young twenty-something adults are throwing their traditional last party of the year. Avery is setting it up at one of the Loman rentals while Sadie plans to meet her there later. Avery texts Sadie, but never gets an answer. The party gets underway and while Avery is keeping an eye open for Sadie, she never shows. When the police come to talk to Sadie's older brother, Parker, Avery learns that Sadie was found dead. It was ruled a suicide but now, as the anniversary of her death approaches in 2018, Avery can't help but look into Sadie's death on her own - especially after her phone is found in a chest of blankets in the cottage where the party was.

The narrative alternates between events in 2017 and 2018. Avery is a wonderful character, well developed and complex. She has a past, but has overcome much to get where she is now. And she's smart. She knows there is something going on, that someone is lying because Sadie wouldn't kill herself, but there are several suspects and chief among them is Avery, so she has to covertly begin to investigate what happened and piece clues together on her own if she wants answers.

This is an excellent mystery - and the key to my enjoyment is viewing The Last House Guest as a mystery rather than a thriller. With the flood of thrillers on the market, it is refreshing to read a mystery. A murder has happened under suspicious circumstances and we have out intrepid heroine trying to piece together clues in order to figure out what really happened. Avery is clever and it was enjoyable to follow her investigation as well as get her insights into all the people involved. This is a wonderful choice for summer reading. The pacing is great as the narrative alternates between what happened in 2017 and Avery's clandestine investigation in 2018. I especially enjoyed the conclusion of the novel. It was a well-played climax and a fitting ending.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

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