Summary: Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he's been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.
Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene. Then a second child goes missing...
Undeterred by Hunt's threats or his mother's pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit. Traveling the wilderness between innocence and hard wisdom, between hopelessness and faith, The Last Child leaves all categories behind and establishes John Hart as a writer of unique power.
Cover photo and summary from borders.com
My Review: Johnny Merrimon's twin sister has disappeared without a trace. During the investigation the remainder of Johnny's life has also fallen apart. His father has taken off and has not been heard from. His mother has resorted to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to keep herself numb, barely getting out of bed. Hope is gone for finding Alyssa alive from everyone but Johnny who sets out on his own to discover his sister's fate.
These characters, though a bit stereotypical, will pull the reader in and draw an array of emotions. One can feel Johnny's loneliness and can't help but to feel anger at his mother's actions while simultaneously sympathizing with her loss. The mother's boyfriend conveys disgust and the die-hard detective brings fortitude. Hope for happiness streams throughout the novel.
Though at times suspenseful, this novel just didn't have the intense intrigue that I long for in a mystery. I found the end to be somewhat, though not entirely, predictable This novel also felt a bit disjointed to me. The prologue never completely ties in with the story. Yet it was still a decent read that kept me entertained throughout. Overall a good, but not great, mystery novel.
My Rating: 3 Stars
To sum it up: A satisfying summer read.