Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Book Review: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: Hello, Sunshine
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



Goodreads says, "We all have stories we never tell. Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared. Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated."


Hannah and Owen have been married for one year. They live a normal life in California on their houseboat along with Owen's sixteen year old daughter, Bailey.  Bailey, who lost her mother as a child, still hasn't warmed up to Hannah despite Hannah's best efforts.  Hannah is a wood worker who makes high end furniture and Owen works for a tech firm. One morning she receives a note from Owen that says simply "protect her" with no other information and then she comes to find out he's missing. He isn't picking up his phone, is no where to be found, and the owner of the tech firm that Owen works for is taken into custody.  On top of that, Bailey finds a bag of cash in her school locker and lots of it.  Obviously something has happened to Owen that has caused him to disappear, but Hannah has no idea what could have gone wrong. Slowly she realizes that it has something to do with his work at The Shop, otherwise known as the tech firm he works for. The FBI is on the hunt for Owen and his colleagues as there's evidence of financial fraud at The Shop.  Hannah and Bailey, even though they don't get along, must work together to find out where Owen is, what happened at his work, and what other secrets he may be hiding. Laura Dave's The Last Thing He Told Me isn't your usual suspense novel; it's a bit more quiet and slow to build, but I appreciated that and how the secrets slowly floated to the surface.

Hannah is an interesting character in The Last Thing He Told Me and I appreciated her desire to get to the bottom of things.   She becomes a sleuth of sorts in order to figure out what has happened to her husband and at least in the beginning she doesn't believe that he could actually be a suspect.  However, as the truth unfolds she starts to wonder if she really knows Owen at all.  Some parts of his backstory (at least the version he has shared with Hannah) don't add up.  As Hannah and Bailey dig deeper, they must rely on each other and in turn trust each other. The evolution of their relationship was an aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed.  Also, I did like Dave's use of flashback to develop Hannah and Owen's relationship; it gives us some insight into things and helps the readers genuinely care about the characters.

Usually when I read a thriller, I am on the edge of my seat. That wasn't really the case in The Last Thing He Told Me. There's a few twists, but it wasn't set at a break neck pace with unbelievable events at every turn. It was a more quiet mystery that unfolded slowly, which I think makes it perfect for a lazy summer's day.

So, if you are looking for a mildly suspenseful novel that will keep you flipping the pages, I urge you to try The Last Thing He Told Me this summer. Readers will enjoy Hannah's journey and piecing together the puzzle that is Owen's disappearance.

Have you read The Last Thing He Told Me? Are you a fan of Laura Dave? Let me know in the comments below. 


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