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The Last Child by John Hart

The Last Child (edition 2010)

by John Hart

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1,4971694,953 (4.08)141
Title:The Last Child
Authors:John Hart
Info:Minotaur Books (2010), Edition: 1 Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Last Child by John Hart

  1. 10
    Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (jlparent)
    jlparent: Both are rather dark and disturbing in tone and plotlines. Also try Flynn's "Dark Places" in a similar vein.
  2. 00
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    terran: A young boy searches for the body of a relative and is involved in finding the killer.
  3. 00
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    The Client by John Grisham (VictoriaPL)

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Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
When 13 year old Alyssa Merrimon vanished one day, her disappearance shattered several people's lives, especially her parents who each sought different means to blunt the grief - the mother who turned to drugs to deaden the pain and the father, who left the family to run away from the pain. Johnny, Alyssa's twin brother, believing that Alyssa was still alive began to systematically investigate the small North Carolina town and its residents for clues to Alyssa's whereabouts. Johnny began his investigation after the failure of the local police to find his sister, a fact that haunts Detective Clyde Hunt, whose obsession over this case drove his wife away and threatens his relationship with his son.

It is a shame that this book set unread for so long in my bookcase. This Edgar Award Winner would have become a new favorite read much earlier. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 19, 2016 |
Audiobook performed by Scott Sowers

Johnny Merrimon is a troubled young man. At thirteen he is shouldering far more responsibility and guilt than any child his age should carry. His twin sister disappeared a year ago, his father has left the family, his mother is lost in a fog of drugs, and his father’s former boss has insinuated himself into their home. Detective Clyde Hunt hasn’t given up searching, but he’s increasingly concerned for Johnny and his mother. Johnny won’t trust anyone – except his best friend Jack, who accompanies him on his search for the truth.

What a ride! Plenty of twists and turns in the plot. I was sure I had it figured out (and, in fact, I did guess one of the bad guys), but I was still surprised by several events. Hart took a crooked path with many side trips and more than a few dead ends. Unfortunately I felt he was repetitive – how many times do I need a discussion between Johnny and Jack about whether Jack will succumb to his fears or stick by his friend to help him search. Ditto repeated descriptions of Hunt’s speeding through town to get to his next locale. I also wasn’t sure that much of the story regarding Levi Freemantle was necessary to the main plot. A good editor might have trimmed this by a hundred pages without losing any of the momentum or most of the plot twists.

I loved Johnny. He was intelligent, tenacious, courageous and sensitive. If his success at figuring things out was a little unbelievable, I’m willing to forgive Hart for that. This is a child grasping at straws and truly left to his own devices to make sense of what has happened to his family and to try to put it back together. I couldn’t help but cheer him on.

Scott Sowers does a fine job reading the audio version. He has good pacing and was able to sufficiently differentiate most of the characters. Occasionally, when two similar characters (Jack and Johnny, or Hunt and Yoakum) were in conversation it was a little difficult to tell who was speaking, but that was really minor.

( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
I LOVED this book. Fantastic. Johnny is a 13 year old boy whose sister went missing some time ago. Figuring the police don't care, Johnny takes it upon himself to look for his sister all over town. His mom, Katherine, is just broken. She is on pills, has a horrible boyfriend, and basically is emotionally shut down for Johnny. The lead detective, Clyde Hunt, has lost his wife over this case. What a great story written by John Hart. I can see why this book won awards. I think it might be one of my favorites I have read this year. ( )
1 vote Kappadeemom | Oct 27, 2014 |
This is a horrible book - in a good way. It's well written with superb characterization & a mystery that kept me wondering until the very end, but the basis of the story, child abuse & abduction, was heart-wrenching. I don't like books about kids being hurt & yet this one captivated me.

The drive of the main characters was incredible, yet believable. They were flawed & noble, driven & swept away by events & powers outside their control. A cop haunted by a case he can't solve. His passions & compassion tearing his life, both official & personal, apart. A boy who can't stop looking for his abducted twin & treads the fine edge of insanity. A mother who is demolished by her losses struggling to continue for what she has left & the media circling like sharks. Secrets, mysteries, & lies abound. Who is good or bad isn't always easy to figure out.

I can't say much without spoilers. I guess I could hide more under spoiler tags, but then I'd write a book. Just read it. If you like murder mysteries, this is one of the finest. Why only 4 stars & not 5? I never want to read it again & it added nothing to my life save for entertainment, but it was a hell of a ride. ( )
1 vote jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
This novel is a wild compelling ride and you will want to read it fast. I worried about 12 year old Johnny, his only friend Jack, Johnny’s mom and the police detective who cares deeply about solving a year old disappearance of Johnny’s twin sister. The detective, Clyde Hunt, loses his wife and his relationship with his teenage son is also ruined in part because Hunt can not give up on finding out what happened to Johnny’s sister. The story starts out dark and keeps getting more harsh as additional crimes occur. Johnny and Jack are wild young boys who have a Huck Finn quality to their adventures out in the country, and Johnny is obsessed with finding his sister, which puts him in severe danger. There is a hint of a love story developing, but this is a book with a focus on nasty crimes. I recommend it. ( )
1 vote hangen | Jun 10, 2014 |
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This book is for Nancy and Bill Stanback, Annie and John Hart, and Kay and Norde Wilson. Parents, friends, trusted advisors.
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Asphalt cut the country like a scar, a long, hot burn of razor-black.
Darkness is a cancer of the human heart.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312642369, Paperback)

Winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Novel

John Hart’s New York Times bestselling debut, The King of Lies, announced the arrival of a major talent. With Down River, he surpassed his earlier success, transcending the barrier between thriller and literature and winning the 2008 Edgar Award for best novel. Now, with The Last Child, he achieves his most significant work to date, an intricate, powerful story of loss, hope, and courage in the face of evil.

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he’d been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing . . .

Undeterred by Hunt’s threats or his mother’s pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.

Traveling the wilderness between innocence and hard wisdom, between hopelessness and faith, The Last Child leaves all categories behind and establishes John Hart as a writer of unique power.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After his twin sister Alyssa disappears, thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon is determined to find her. When a second girl disappears from his rural North Carolina town, Johnny makes a discovery that sends shock waves through the community in this multi-layered tale of broken families and deadly secrets.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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