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The Last Child


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Promotional Information

A thirteen year old boy turns vigilante to investigate the abduction of his twin sister

Promotional Information

A thirteen year old boy turns vigilante to investigate the abduction of his twin sister

About the Author

John Hart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and lives with his wife and two young children in Rowan County, where The King of Lies is set. He has degrees in French, accounting and law, and worked as a banker, stockbroker and attorney before beginning his writing career. The King of Lies is his first book.


A year after 12-year-old Alyssa Merrimon disappeared on her way home from the library in an unnamed rural North Carolina town, her twin brother, Johnny, continues to search the town, street by street, even visiting the homes of known sex offenders, in this chilling novel from Edgar-winner Hart (Down River). Det. Clyde Hunt, the lead cop on Alyssa's case, keeps a watchful eye on Johnny and his mother, who has deteriorated since Alyssa's abduction and her husband's departure soon afterward. When a second girl is snatched, Johnny is even more determined to find his sister, convinced that the perpetrator is the same person who took Alyssa. But what he unearths is more sinister than anyone imagined, sending shock waves through the community and putting Johnny's own life in danger. Despite a tendency to dip into melodrama, Hart spins an impressively layered tale of broken families and secrets that can kill. 175,000 first printing; author tour. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'The Last Child is as satisfying as his previous books' * Guardian *
'Just once in a while a thriller comes along that makes you want to run out in the street and proclaim how good it is ? John Hart's third novel is one of those. Written with power, precision and an iron grip on character it makes him out as one of the outstanding talents of his generation ... it grips you by the throat and never lets go' * Daily Mail *
A gripping thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat * The Sun *
'Hart is emerging as one of the biggest new American talents in the psychological thriller field, and should be joining Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay on the bestseller lists' * Bookseller *
'Third novel from this rising US author' * Bookseller *
'I absolutely love this man's writing, and by that I mean all aspects of it: plotting, characterization and its lyrical quality ... John Hart has joined the highest ranks of crime fiction writing. Thank heavens he's a young man so we'll have his novels to enjoy for many years to come' * Deadly Pleasures *
'EDGAR Allan Poe Award winner John Hart does something in his latest book that few manage successfully: write a compelling thriller with a child as the main character... Hart, a former lawyer from the US deep south, writes finely detailed prose with a literary edge, a fine sense of atmosphere and just the right touches of creepy southern gothic' * The Weekend Australian *
'The main character in award winning author John Hart's thriller The Last Child, is a teenage boy turned vigilante, driven by the abduction of his older sister a year ago...a superb page- turner' * Illawarra Mercury (Australia) *
'A roiling, boiling, seething stew of passion and conflict' * Courier Mail, (Australia) *
'Brilliantly written with plenty of twists and clues' * Crimesquad website *
'A masterly and suspenseful thriller' * Good Book Guide *
'The Last Child leaves the reader awed and troubled, and wondering how on earth the author is going to follow such a tour de force' * Shots magazine *
'A masterly and suspenseful thriller' * Good Book Guide *

When 12-year-old Alyssa Merrimon disappeared a year ago, her family fell apart. Her twin brother, Johnny, became obsessed with trying to find her, their father took off, not to be heard from again, and their mother sank into a world of drugs and booze, helped along by an abusive, wealthy boyfriend. Det. Clive Hunt is also obsessed, both with finding Alyssa and with her mother, and his preoccupation costs him his marriage and jeopardizes his job. But this is Johnny's story and his quest to find the sister he lost. Taking his mother's car while she's passed out and occasionally taking along his best friend, Jack, Johnny spies and keeps meticulous records on the townsfolk of small Raven County, NC. The world is a dark place when seen through his eyes, and Johnny is an unforgettable character in this finely drawn yet disturbing thriller. With his best novel yet, the Edgar Award-winning Hart (Down River) firmly cements his place alongside the greats of the genre. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [175,000-copy first printing; library marketing.]-Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Thirteen-year-old Johnny searches for his twin sister who disappeared a year earlier while also mourning the loss of his guilt-ridden father and trying to cope with his mother's abusive boyfriend. Parallel to the rapidly unfolding events is an intriguing and adrenaline-rich mystery that unfolds through Clyde Hunt, lead police detective in Johnny's North Carolina town. Hart develops both characters fully and credibly and brings to life a cast of supporting actors that includes Johnny's depressed and drugged mother and his best friend. The climate and history of the place offer both clues and a well-delineated setting for the plot, giving readers a "you are there" sensibility and an appreciation for how the past creates the present in both evil and good ways. Hart's writing is rich and flowing. Teens looking for adventure, and a story in which a kid shows himself to be smarter than most of the adults around him, will find this novel wholly satisfying.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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