*I received a free copy of The Last One Home from Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone
Published by Lake Union Publishing on 30 March 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller
Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother. Now an adult, Lauren has come home to the Sacramento family estate for good, her mother’s lies be damned…
It’s been decades since Donna made her cheating boyfriend pay, but she hasn’t forgotten the past. She knows her estranged daughter has made a terrible mistake by returning to the estate. There’s more to the story of the welcoming old homestead—and her childhood—than Lauren knows.
As Lauren settles in, she is haunted by the questions of what really happened with her father, what her mother might be hiding, and what secrets the family ranch holds. It’s getting so dark, Lauren may not be able to see the truth to save her life.
The Last One Home is a rollercoaster of a psychological thriller, where the narrators make you doubt them with almost every step they take, and every thing they say.
I was already a huge fan of Victoria Helen Stone when she wrote romance novels under the name Victoria Dahl. But I have to say, her psychological thrillers are even better than her romances. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but The Last One Home had that creepy feeling from the very start.
In The Last One Home, the readers follow Lauren, 35, in the present, and her mother, Donna, in the past – when Donna was 35. The back-and-forth works perfectly well for the story. And with each thing I learnt about Donna, I thought I’d understand what was going on with Lauren better. That was not exactly the case, however.
The Last One Home is a story of hope, betrayal, death, doubts and trying so very hard to be accepted. Both Donna and Lauren only wanted to belong. To feel loved, and respected, and love and respect people in return. At the beginning of the novel, Lauren arrives at her grandmother’s house, where she spent some nice, quiet, and safe summers when she was a child. Even at that point, it’s clear that all is not well in Lauren’s world, because she thinks back to what her mother had told her. And then, with a flashback to Donna’s past, nothing is clear either…
The Last One Home is very tense, and the twists and turns are so unexpected it’s impossible to try to figure out what happened in the past, but also what will happen now in the present. Stone is a master word-weaver, and I was glued to my kindle from start to finish. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you should make sure you’ll be able to get your hands on this novel as soon as it releases!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I love twists and turns in a story so much! I love when they keep me guessing.
I loved her romances, too, and had no idea she was writing thrillers and it sounds like pretty solid ones, at that. Fun that the twists and the characters themselves had you intrigued.
You are really reading the books that are winners! Fantastic review!