Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Last Girl Gone by J. G. Hetherton

When FBI special agent Timinski refers to Laura Chambers as tenacious but naive, he hits the nail on the head. In his debut mystery, Last Girl Gone, author J.G. Hetherton introduces a gutsy investigative reporter, Laura Chambers. She reminds me of James Ziskin's Ellie Stone.

Everyone in Chambers' hometown of Hillsborough, North Carolina knows she lost her job at a Boston paper and slunk home. She had been determined to get out of town as soon as possible. Now, she's back living with her verbally abusive mother who makes no secret she doesn't approve of her daughter, her job, or her lifestyle. Laura has to fight for every inch of space at the newspaper, competing with the mayor's son. When two ten-year-old girls go missing in Hillsborough, one body is found. Laura's sleeping with her source for her articles, Deputy Frank Stuart. And, the only one willing to listen to Laura is someone who is being paid, her therapist.

Chambers is lonely, and she knows she's the butt of jokes. But, she's determined to be in on "the missing white girl story" if it breaks state or nationwide. It's the FBI agent, Timinski, who sends her in the right direction, to the retired sheriff and the accounts of ten-year-old girls who went missing thirty years earlier. Laura's convinced she knows where the killer and the missing girl are. While she isn't responsible for the resulting tragedy, she'll never forget what happens. And, then another girl disappears.

Hetherton's Laura Chambers isn't necessarily a likable investigator. But, it's hard not to root for her. As a result of her upbringing, she's desperate for success. And Timinski pushes her to the realization that the people involved are more than a story. They're people.

Last Girl Gone is a compelling story with a shocking climax. Most readers will be as stunned as Laura Chambers, who never saw it coming. This first mystery is an intense, character-driven story. It's going to be fascinating to see how the events of Last Girl Gone change Laura Chambers in future books.

J.G. Hetherton's website is www.jghetherton.com

Last Girl Gone by J.G. Hetherton. Crooked Lane Books, 2018. ISBN 9781683316176 (hardcover), 320p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Kay said...

I think this book sounds quite gripping, even though the protagonist is perhaps unlikable and seems damaged. The puzzle is the thing for me often. I'm going to watch for this one. I'm really liking the sound of some of the books newly published by Crooked Lane!

Lesa said...

I'm right with you, Kay. Some of Crooked Lane's books have been excellent.

Charlotte said...

I read a sample of the book.
I have added it to my read list for sometime later. Long list already.
Good review, Lesa.

Margie Bunting said...

You made this book sound really awesome, Lesa, even though it has "girl" in the title. I've put it on my very, very long TBR list and hopefully I'll find it at the library.