Review

One Last Scream

by Kevin O'Brien

What’s in a title? In the case of ONE LAST SCREAM by
Kevin O’Brien, plenty.

O’Brien has been around for a while. ACTORS, his first novel,
was published in 1987, but since 2001 he has averaged a book a
year, with such efforts as MAKE THEM CRY, WATCH THEM DIE and LEFT
FOR DEAD. His books stand on their own, and the titles that hint at
pain and sudden end to mortal life are not kidding around. As one
would surmise from the title ONE LAST SCREAM, nothing goes gently
into a night that is anything but good.

However, don’t think that O’Brien focuses solely on
gore to keep the action moving. As frightening as his work may be,
he constructs a complex and confounding mystery to support his
plots, one that will keep you puzzled, guessing and (for our
purposes, most importantly) reading. And ONE LAST SCREAM has quite
a puzzle. It begins with an abduction, quickly moves to a multiple
murder, and then things really get busy.

The person at the core of all this activity is Amelia Faraday, an
attractive young woman who has much to be thankful for but remains
troubled by vague and disturbing emotional complaints. Her life is
changed forever when her adopted parents and aunt are brutally and
inexplicably murdered. At first it appears to be a case of
murder-suicide, yet Amelia has vivid memories of committing the
murders. To make matters worse, her phantom recollections closely
coincide with what is found at the crime scene.

Karen Carlisle, Amelia’s therapist, is quick to point out all
the reasons why she could not have been responsible, yet as time
passes and her behavior becomes more and more bizarre, it appears
that Amelia is guilty of murder and more. In an attempt to prove
her innocence, Carlisle and Amelia’s uncle begin an
investigation into her past, one that will resolve not only a
series of increasingly frequent murders in the present but also a
number of puzzling disappearances in the past --- all of which seem
to be tied directly to Amelia.

There is no other way to say it: ONE LAST SCREAM will creep you
out. A number of passages led me to scream, “Oh my gosh! Oh
shoot! No! Don’t do it!” (or words to that effect),
even as I jumped ever deeper into it. The book’s strongest
suit, however, is its baffling mystery, which the author manages to
wrap up in the last 100 pages while never letting the action,
suspense or violence lag for a moment. If you’re not a fan of
O’Brien already, ONE LAST SCREAM will make you a member of
the club.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 13, 2011

One Last Scream
by Kevin O'Brien

  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle
  • ISBN-10: 0786017767
  • ISBN-13: 9780786017768