The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
5/4/21; 320 pages
Simon & Schuster
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave is a highly recommended domestic thriller.
Hannah Hall and Owen Michaels have been married for one year and they
are happily living on a houseboat in Sausalito with Owen's
sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. When Hannah receives a note from Owen
saying simply "Protect her," Hannah knows that something is wrong
because Owen is devoted to his daughter and he is not answering his
phone. Owen is a coder at The Shop, a tech firm, and Hannah hears on the
news that his boss has just been arrested by the FBI. When Bailey finds
a bag full of cash that Owen left in her locker at school, the two are
even more flummoxed. Hannah and Bailey have had a rocky relationship,
understandable for a
new stepmother and a teenager, but they know Owen is a good man and they
need to work together to find
out what happened.
When a US marshal and later federal agents arrive at their home, Hannah knows that something is seriously wrong. The US Marshall says Owen is not a suspect in the FBI investigation and he just wants to know Owen's whereabouts. She doesn't know who she can trust, so she contacts an old friend, a lawyer, who discovers that Owen isn't who he said he was. It is obvious that Hannah must try to work with Bailey to uncover what exactly is going on and who Owen - and Bailey - really are.
Hannah is a well developed character while Bailey is less developed and portrayed more as a stereotypical teen with an attitude. They both have some advancement in their character development. Seeing Hannah and Bailey work together, learn to trust each other, and form an honest connection helps keep the plot interesting, especially when Bailey's early childhood memories lead them to Texas.
The Last Thing He Told Me is well-written, although a little
uneven in some sections. Chapters in the narrative follow the present
day search for the truth and alternating chapters offer glimpses into
the past relationship between Owen and Hannah. The past chapters provide
insight into the current situation as well as providing some clues for
Hannah and Bailey to follow. Hannah as a
novice investigator is a bit less believable and the final denouement is
a little improbable, but the lead up to it helps make it all work
together to create an enjoyable novel with a touching final scene. This is a satisfying and effective domestic thriller that will hold your attention throughout.