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The Last by Hanna Jameson

The Last (2019)

by Hanna Jameson

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11717158,696 (3.45)5
For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts , this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war?along with twenty other survivors?who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel's water tanks. Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife's text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he's waiting in the lobby of the L'Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That's all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black?and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange. Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can't bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel's water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl. As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?… (more)



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Three Stars - Not the Shining variety

Notably, The Last was my first foray with an audiobook. It was very interesting learning the best way to focus on the soundtrack, while avoiding visual distractions. Quite a challenge - both to avoid multi-tasking and falling asleep. The book was well done and the narrator was competent with the dozen or so voices and international accents. The premise of the book is good, combining the normal with the apocalyptic and the scene is set well. Sadly, there is a scarcity of post-nuclear shocks. The largest horror is the isolation and cessation of social media and phone activity. Yet, our survivors continue to live in a huge hotel, with running water, food stocks and a chef happy enough to still produce meals. They have running cars, they have guns, they seem to occupy their rooms with no issue with laundry or linen for the rooms. Apparently this was a 1,000 bedroom hotel in the Swiss Alps. Unfortunately this is outlandish, the equivalent of a passenger liner in the mountains. Nonetheless, this novel had challenges of its own, trying to steer 2 separate storylines realistically, while conveniently forgetting things like EMP, radiation sickness and real crisis. The reviews for this book are conflicted, most of which I read afterwards from individuals receiving publishers’ review copies. I found some of the stories told by the characters quite interesting and the dialogue was quite convincing, but I don’t feel that the drama was delivered sufficiently. The ending seemed as if it was going to be surprisingly spectacular, yet felt like a piece of hurriedly finished homework. I am disappointed in the reviewers of this book throwing 5 star reviews around for a free book. I would maybe give it 3, but 12 hours listening to the audio had me expecting more. ( )
  AlistairW | Sep 3, 2019 |
Started superbly with a really good premise and some interesting and different characters with a plot line that sent a few curve blasts the readers way. The last fifth seemed like it was tacked on and the solution seemed to be very tacked on. Disappointed at the end. ( )
  aadyer | Aug 24, 2019 |
A locked room mystery set in a Swiss hotel after nuclear war has devastated most of the world's biggest cities. The mystery is a side-plot really, and once the twenty who stay in the hotel begin to have to venture outside, it loses its suspense. Full review here: http://annabookbel.net/a-post-nuclear-locked-room-mystery-last-hanna-jameson ( )
  gaskella | Aug 23, 2019 |
Having grown up at the end of the Cold War, the question of what would happen at the end of the world is one that fascinates me. (Today’s youth might fear the future and have a morbid sense of humor because of the doom and gloom in which they are growing up, but they have never had to experience nuclear holocaust drills. Gallows humor doesn’t begin to cover what that does to a child.) While Hanna Jameson creates a perfectly reasonable situation in which an isolated group of hotel guests and employees find themselves in a real-life end-of-world situation, the story leaves a bit to be desired. This is a kinder, gentler end of the world. Jameson shields the reader from anything truly horrifying, and all unpleasant situations remain at a minimum. I find this lack of drama boring, to the point where four months after reading it, I have to read the synopsis to refresh my memory. Besides, the title and the cover scream British thriller to me and is in no way indicative that the story occurs in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. It was not the best book I read in April by any means.
  jmchshannon | Aug 7, 2019 |
Told in journal style authored by American historian Jon Keller, the characterizations come slowly, as he too, learns about his new companions in this post apocalyptic world. Jon is at a conference at a very old, remote hotel in Switzerland. One morning, chaos breaks out as news of city after city across the world being decimated by nuclear bombs. Many take off in those early hours, but to where, wonder those left behind. The story settles in with about two dozen left at the hotel--both staff and travelers. After the body of a girl is found, Jon is determined to figure out what happened in those early hours and whether or not a killer is among them. Part Agatha Christie, part dystopian, the style makes it a quick read and makes you wonder what you would do in their shoes. ( )
  ethel55 | Jul 19, 2019 |
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BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn't ignored Nadia's last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon's hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It's clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists? (from amazon.co.uk)
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