Laura Van Wormer is back with her latest romantic suspense novel, THE LAST LOVER. Sally Harrington knows her relationship with Spencer, her Manhattan book editor boyfriend, isn't all it started out to be, and the Hollywood party they attend underscores it. Lilliana, a talented actress, hits on them both, spurred on by Spencer in an effort to "liven things up." It's the last straw, and Sally heads home to Connecticut --- alone.
Forty-eight hours later both Spencer and Lilliana are missing, and Sally's career is tanking. She's the last person to talk to a now dead person (Lilliana's boyfriend, Cliff), the Feds suspect she's involved, and someone's sent a revealing video of her and Spencer to almost everyone in her hometown. Can anything else go wrong? With Sally, the answer is "yes, of course" --- this is only the beginning.
Sally's off on a coast-to-coast trip of discovery to find not only Spencer, Lilliana, and the murderer, but herself as well. Confused about life and love, Sally's not sure who she is or what she wants. Is she a small town journalist or a New York reporter? Does love have to be comfortable instead of lusty? Are the videos of her and Spencer the work of Spencer, mobsters, or part of a grudge one man holds against her? Sally may not find all the answers, but one thing is clear: everything is not as it appears in Hollywood or Connecticut.
THE LAST LOVER is a fast paced story with a refreshing and entertaining blend of suspense, romance, and comedy. The story is over the top, twisting and turning all the way through to the end, keeping you turning page after page as you try to figure out "whodunit" and why. Van Wormer has a deft hand weaving all threads together to a satisfying conclusion. You get a glimpse of the excitement and glamour of Hollywood and New York --- and what lies beneath. Well-drawn supporting characters surround Sally, adding dimension. Lilliana is mysterious and intriguing; I'm hoping this is not the last we'll see of her.
Billed as romantic suspense, I hesitate to call it a romantic suspense novel. The romantic relationship isn't the main focus of the story, as is usually found in romance novels; suspense and comedy seem to be equal, if not a bit stronger, elements. If it has to be classified, I'd rather call it a mainstream suspense novel and not put off those who don't like romance novels as a rule.
Sally Harrington first appeared in EXPOSE, which is now available in paperback. Characters from other Van Dormer novels also make appearances. It's the kind of series I love: a group of related characters, each taking center stage in their own novel (sometimes more than one) and supporting roles in others, so you can keep track of your favorites. I hadn't read any of Van Dormer's previous novels and enjoyed THE LAST LOVER enough to buy her backlist and watch for new releases by this talented author.
Reviewed by Jamie Engle, Jengle4085@aol.com on September 28, 2000