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The Last Child | [John Hart]

The Last Child

his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet. Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search.
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Publisher's Summary

Fresh off the success of his Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times best seller Down River, John Hart returns with his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet. Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search. What he finds is a city with an underbelly far blacker than anyone could've imagined - and somewhere in the depths of it all, with the help of his only friend and a giant of a man with his own strange past, Johnny, at last, finds the terrible truth.

Detective Clyde Hunt has devoted an entire year to Alyssa's case, and it shows: haunted and sleepless, he's lost his wife and put his shield at risk. But he can't put the case behind him - he won't - and when another girl goes missing, the failures of the past year harden into iron determination. Refusing to lose another child, Hunt knows he has to break the rules to make the case; and maybe, just maybe, the missing girl will lead him to Alyssa...

The Last Child is a tale of boundaries: county borders and circles on a map, the hard edge between good and evil, life and death, hopelessness and faith. Perfectly blending character and plot, emotion and action, John Hart again transcends the barrier between thrillers and literature to craft a story as heartrending as it is redemptive.

©2009 John Hart; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1064 )
5 star
 (411)
4 star
 (393)
3 star
 (172)
2 star
 (60)
1 star
 (28)
Overall
4.2 (436 )
5 star
 (195)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.0 (444 )
5 star
 (170)
4 star
 (164)
3 star
 (64)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (22)
Performance
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  •  
    Christine Birdsboro, Panama 10-19-09
    Christine Birdsboro, Panama 10-19-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Stick With It!"

    This is one of THE most compelling books I have read in a very, very long time. It took me 6 or 7 tries to get past the first 30 minutes due to the narrator, but once the story thread is picked up, you just can't stop listening. The only reason I gave 4 stars is due to the narration. So, stick with it! As far as plots and storylines go, this book is a winner.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 10-28-10
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 10-28-10 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1682
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    240
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    434
    3
    Overall
    "Good story poorly read"

    Because of the number of negative comments about the quality of the reader I listened to the sample before downloading this title. It didn't seem so bad in the sample, but I admit that by the time I got half way through listening, I was worn out with a false southern accent of no known region that I'm familiar with -certainly not a North Carolinian sound. Worse, the cadence of reading one-word-at-a-time instead of reading sentences with comprehension and insight made it a difficult listen. I stuck with it because the story is worth it. I would strongly recommend it as a book, not so much as an audio book.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Readalicia 08-28-09
    Readalicia 08-28-09

    Lalectora

    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
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    94
    40
    FOLLOWERS
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    Overall
    "Choices and consequences in the face of adversity"

    The last child is heart wrenching tale of a young boy searching for his abucted sister; of the dangers he faces while searching for her in dangerous places; and of thefriends and unlikely allies that join him in his search and his fight for surviving abuse and dangerous enemies encountered while protecting what is left of a mother unable to cope with the tragedy and who is no longer aware that he still needs her love and protection. If you ever wondered what happens to people touched by a heinous crime after the reporters leave town?; of how investigators forever haunted deal with their failure to find the victims? of what happens to the lifes of survivors that have no closure?, of if a decision can forever change the life all those touched by a tragic event?, of what is the value of one child's life measured against the future of your own child? of what is the "right choice" if you question where your loyalties lie? So if you ever wonder about those questions then you will like this book. I for once did not guess the complete solution which made the book even better.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leesha Washington DC 12-24-12
    Leesha Washington DC 12-24-12

    Leesha

    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    418
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story Now Find a Narrator With a REAL"
    What didn’t you like about Scott Sowers’s performance?

    This is a great story, but I could only stand to listen to it in small intervals.

    Why?

    Every time this narrator speaks in his overly-exaggerate Southern drawl I feel vaguely ill.

    This story takes place in North Carolina. I lived in North Carolina for many years. Most of my family members live in various parts of North Carolina, including the Sandhills, Piedmont, etc.. None of them sound anything like this annoying guy!!

    Exaggerated accents are jarring and as off-putting as nails on a chalkboard to people familiar with the accent. What's frustrating is, this is a great plot and such an exciting story but I have to keep shutting it off when I can't take it anymore!

    Narrators and actors: if you can't "do" an accent well enough to fool the people from that area, please just speak in your regular speaking voice!

    I hope I can eventually finish this book. :(


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol B. 07-29-09
    Carol B. 07-29-09

    Reader & Wordsmith

    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    268
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "This book deserves the 5 star rating"

    Rarely do I rate a book a five. But this one deserves it. Good character development ... lots of twists in the story line. I was sorry to get to the end. I got so involved in the characters, I find I want to know more details about how they got past all the tradegy.

    Well written!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russ Potomac, MA, USA 06-03-09
    Russ Potomac, MA, USA 06-03-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    247
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "annoyed"

    ...one of the few I have ever given up on without finishing, not because the story was so bad, but because the narration was annoying. Perfect diction is not the most important consideration...in fact too much precision can set your nerves on edge and is many times accompanied by an emotionless tone.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 06-01-09
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 06-01-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    220
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    414
    83
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    3
    Overall
    "An audio "page turner""

    I really enjoyed The Last Child. This murder mystery rollicked along with interesting characters. Amazing how many bad things can happen in one little Southern town. My only negative was that I found the narrator some how distracting for the first few hours. Though it takes a fair dose of willing suspension of disbelief, it is an engrossing story. A good listen for the car.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 05-16-09
    Michael 05-16-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    449
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "great book"

    Very well written with a multifaceted storyline. It is nice to read an author who does not feel he has to portray lurid details in order to paint a vivid picture. I highly recommend this book.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Collinsville, OK, United States 07-11-09
    Kevin Collinsville, OK, United States 07-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "A good listen"

    I enjoyed this book very much on a long car trip. I didn't have any of the troubles that other reviewers had with the reader's diction and style. Other than a few "again's" pronounced with a long "a" he read very well, particularly the vocal changes for the various characters. The plot is complex and engaging without being difficult to follow. It was a good companion for the trip.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Enid, OK, USA 06-24-09
    Diane Enid, OK, USA 06-24-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    758
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Never again..."

    As much as I enjoyed this book, I will never listen to another audiobook read by Scott Sowers. After a short time his narration was like nails on a chalkboard. It was all I could do to finish. Fortunately John Hart wrote a great book despite the horrid narration.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 140 results PREVIOUS1214NEXT
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  • Elizabeth
    EMBSAY, N Yorks, United Kingdom
    9/19/09
    Overall
    "Great Story"

    This is a great story with several twists that certainly caught me out. Its setting is excellent as is the character development and a tension and urgency throughout the story leading right up to its conclusion. The narration takes a while to get used to but is gritty and wholly representative of the setting - it works really well and is compelling to listen to.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Witney, United Kingdom
    9/25/11
    Overall
    "Great story, wonderfully narrated"

    On the amazon reviews someone complained that this book was depressing. Well reading the synopsis should make it clear that it's a pretty heavy plotline.

    It's a wonderful book. Good plot, fantasticly evocative, and while sections of it were really dark or made me want to go straight home and hug my children, i found it strangely inspirational.

    I enjoyed the different layers within the book, it doesn't just jump around characters becasue it feels it needs to, the flow is good and even when some authors may have finished the book, this book keeps on going and in the end you feel like the author actually finished the book - and didn't just feel like he'd done enough to keep his publishers happy so could rush off and do something else.

    I thought the narrator was excellent as well, and his style really suited the material. Managing the full range of styles required. Extremely enjoyable

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    8/1/11
    Overall
    "Slow start and then takes off"

    I found the beginning of the book a bit slow to capture my attention but thereafter the story took off and I was gripped by the twists and turns in the narrative. The reader is excellent and really brings the characters alive. At times I found the author's descriptive prose over-burdened with similes that slowed the action and I found myself wishing he'd just get on with the story. However, overall I enjoyed the book and thought it was well-plotted and held my attention to the end as I was eager to find out the final denouement.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • J
    Kensington, South Africa
    6/15/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful, clever and haunting!"

    I can't rave highly enough about this book. It was so cleverly plotted and written - even when you think you know whodunnit, you'll still be suprised. It was a haunting evocation of childhood and parenting, and the narrator was excellent. A great investment of a credit!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vivienne
    Esporles, Spain
    1/18/11
    Overall
    "Excellent twists and turns"

    A beautifully read book. The narrator was perfect for all the different accents and even portrayed adolescent boys superbly. It was so well written I could imagine every scene, every character and every second of suspense. I can thoroughly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    Kilkenny, Ireland
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Good read"

    This was a well paced mystery novel that grabbed my attention from the beginning and didn't let go until the last page. It was nicely paced, clever, and definitely fulfilled its promise of being a thriller. I very much like the Washington Post’s description of this as "Huck Finn channeled through Lord of the Flies".



    Some of the characters are a bit flat, even clichéd, but the key characters are well drawn and interesting. The plot leads down various roads where no shortage of villains are found, and some dark subjects too. This combined with the age (thirteen) of some key characters makes believability an issue. Indeed some of the dialogue and actions of the younger protagonists seem to stretch credulity. But in the end I was able to suspect disbelief and be swept up in the story.



    The writing style was enjoyable, with highly readable prose throughout, though a little overloaded with adjectives at every description - I lost count of how many times 'oily' was used to describe a taste, smell, feel, sound.



    Not an exceptional book, but definitely well worth reading, and a must read for crime/thriller/mystery fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Janice
    Boston, United Kingdom
    3/2/12
    Overall
    "The Last Child by John Hart"

    Really enjoyed, sometimes had to stay up very late for by bedtime story, just needed to know what happened next!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    12/22/11
    Overall
    "So disappointing"

    I started this book with high expectations as it had so many good reviews but half way through I very nearly gave up. I had three main problems.
    The narrator's voice was flat and even paced and at times he sounded as if he didn't understand what he was reading. The text wasn't given life or pace and he failed to create a personality to the characters. It was very hard to distinguish between them. As for the writing. The text was incredibly repetitive and the first half was far too long for the content which focussed again, and again, and again on eyes and fragiity. Eventually the last part of the second half got going and had some pace. And the story? At the end of the book when everything was revealed a crucial part just didn't make sense. An overwhelming disappointment.,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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