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Last to Know


Last to Know

Detective Harry Jordan seeks refuge from the fast-paced Boston crime scene at his lake house on peaceful Evening Lake. In western Massachusetts, he shares the quiet atmosphere with close-knit families who represent generations of well-heeled status. His closest neighbors, the Osbornes, enjoy their summers there to escape life’s distractions. The father, Wally, relishes the solitude at Evening Lake to concentrate on his latest writing project. Rose takes pride in her role as matriarch: a gourmet cook, hostess of finesse, and mother to twin adolescent girls, a college-bound son and a quietly adventurous younger son. 

Author Elizabeth Adler introduces each character with expansive background information and vivid personality description. Before the reader can feel overwhelmed by the volume of detail, the action picks up when the quiet is broken by a massive explosion and fire directly across the water. Lacey Havnel, a flirtatious newcomer, along with her daughter, Bea, are the victims in the raging inferno. Lacey’s hair catches on fire; sparks ignite Bea’s blond tresses as well, but Bea dashes for the water. Harry and Diz Osborne, the youngest boy, pull her from the water but are too late to save Lacey. The detective becomes involved when the woman’s body is found with a knife sticking from her eye, obviously now a murder scene. 

"LAST TO KNOW is a well-written novel that spills over with description, both in terms of character backgrounds and rich settings. Its characters spring from the pages with vitality, emotion and reality."

Harry’s partner, Carlo Rossetti, arrives to help in the murder investigation and to dig up background information on the victim. What he discovers will lead to more unanswered questions. After the fire, poor Bea has no home or relative to claim her. Harry convinces Rose to take her in for a week or so until her future can be sorted out. Wally reacts to the idea with disdain, refusing to support Rose. The children side with their mother and vow to help the now-homeless girl. Bea arrives and blends right into the family’s activities. 

The murder and arson investigations open secret lives of drug addiction, criminal drug sales, identity theft, the actual cause of the explosion, and lies shedding multiple personality layers. Most chapters are titled by place and time to stabilize the reader’s equilibrium. Each italicized chapter speaks the serial killer’s intention in a grim first-person narrative. An unintentional murder occurs when a would-be investigative reporter hides behind a tree to observe the comings and goings of the Osbornes. Jemima Forester writes an investigative blog and snoops to prove theories. She unearths significant information about Lacey and Bea, and informs Harry. He soaks it in and decides to take her home and run out to the lake to see Rose. Jemima follows him and unwittingly becomes the next murder victim. Bodies are piling up but with no solutions.

On top of all this, we follow Mal Malone, Harry’s former fiancée, to Paris. There, she languishes for his company while he tries to forget her. Harry, though, cannot bear to let her go. Was his job more important than their relationship? The question remains throughout the story when he comes to grips with reality. 

LAST TO KNOW is a well-written novel that spills over with description, both in terms of character backgrounds and rich settings. Its characters spring from the pages with vitality, emotion and reality. Although I was unfamiliar with Adler’s previous novels, I look forward to exploring her backlist and anticipate future adventures.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on July 25, 2014

Last to Know
by Elizabeth Adler

  • Publication Date: June 2, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250067294
  • ISBN-13: 9781250067296