I am confused. Did I just read a book described as a “fast-paced mystery filled with twists and turns”, that would “keep me on the edge of my seat”? I liken THE LAST HOUSE GUEST to a lengthy promo written by the Maine Bureau of Tourism, combined with a semi-predictable mystery.
The story is set in Littleport, Maine, a prized vacation enclave for the wealthy. Despite the deep divide between townies and summer people, Sadie Loman and Avery Greer have been inseparable for several years. Not only is Sadie wealthy, but her her father is Littleport’s Big Cheese. Avery, a resident since birth, began working for Sadie’s father after her parents were killed in a car accident.
To celebrate the end of summer, the young vacationers throw a bash at one of Mr. Loman’s rental properties. As Sadie’s best friend, Avery is on the guest list. The evening is abruptly interrupted when the guests learn that Sadie’s body has been found on the beach. Her death is ruled a suicide.
Avery refuses to believe that her best friend jumped from a cliff and is determined to prove otherwise. Thus begins her mind-numbing investigation into Sadie’s death. The outcome is somewhat predictable.
My primary issue lies with the characters. They are so one-dimensional that I feel no connection to anyone. Avery, skulking around town like Maine’s own Inspector Clouseau, wants to clear her name as a person of interest. Why one police officer has a person of interest in a case his tiny department declared a suicide is the bigger mystery for me.
On and on the investigation goes. Ancillary characters are introduced, and the story gets too far down in the weeds. The denouement doesn’t come a page too soon.