Title: Her Last Day by T. R. Ragan
Genre: Currently #608 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Private Investigators
Amazon Author Rank #7 in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Source: Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Her Last Day – Interesting cover, but I’m not sure how it conveys either the title or genre
Happy release day to Theresa Ragan! I love it when I am introduced to a new-to-me author and her first book in a new series! T. R. Ragan is an accomplished author with successful series publications already behind her. In Her Last Day Jessie Cole #1 we are introduced to capable, independent and responsible Jessie Cole. Yes, she’s a woman with issues. Who doesn’t have baggage? But her history does not define her.
In this first of the series we learn that she and her sister Sophie were abandoned by their mother and, unfortunately, her father took to drinking and became incapable of caring for his daughters. Jessie stepped up to the plate. Sophie was a handful and pregnant at 16, produced Olivia. Then Sophie disappeared. It’s been ten years. It’s obvious she is not coming back and Jessie has become mother to Olivia, her niece.
She met Detective Colin Grayson shortly after the disappearance of her sister. He’s now heavily invested in the Heartless Killer serial case and their relationship recently hit an impasse. Jessie spent untold hours looking for her sister, which evolved into her own private investigation business. The business has steadily grown with an emphasis on looking for missing persons. She has been hired by a frantic father looking for his missing daughter, Zee, who suffers from schizophrenia. Also, working on a stalking case for a woman has resulted in her firing on the stalker following a confrontation in which he drew on her. While she didn’t kill him, he may still not survive and the man’s partner is threatening criminal action which could possibly result in a jail term.
In the meantime, Ben Morrison, a crime beat reporter with the local newspaper, was in a fiery crash ten years ago which resulted in his amnesia. He has since married and has a family of his own, but a cold case blurb regarding Sophie on TV sparked a memory that he must pursue. He would dearly love to know who and what he was prior to the crash in which he barely escaped alive. That connection leads him to Jessie.
There are several multi-dimensional characters, all of whom are well fleshed and empathetic. I especially loved Olivia, 14 years old going on 35. She is a smart, heads up teenager who rescues a stray dog hit by a car (as if there isn’t enough drama). But Higgins manages to heal quickly, ingratiate himself into the family, and becomes an integral part of the story.
Jessie doesn’t know whether or not she can trust Ben, and he is clearly keeping details of his investigation from her. It’s her sister, after all; this may not be what she wants to hear.
The suspense drives the thrilling multi-plot as Jessie follows leads to Zee, gleaning witnesses to bolster her case in the upcoming possible criminal action, and meeting with Ben to nail her sister’s last known day. In the meantime, she reconnects with Detective Grayson, admitting she missed him and wants to reestablish a relationship.
This is not an author new to the creation of believable dialogue, she is very adept at natural conversational dialogue. Protagonist Jessie is fully fleshed, though there is a depth and dimension to her we’ve yet to discover. The antagonist is grievously evil, but kept in the shadows–you get bits and snatches of what he looks like–but you can definitely feel his sadistic wickedness–and the suspense is allowed to build. Slowly. Ben is a complex individual and I don’t think we aren’t through with him yet. Possible romantic interest Detective Colin Grayson is kept in the background. Most loose ends are pulled into a finished knot and the ending makes for a rather gruesome climatic horror film.
I was given this download through Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley and am most grateful for the opportunity to read and review. Definitely recommended for fans of T. R. Ragan, and those interested in mystery, suspense and thriller with a touch of psychological horror scene depiction (you’ve been warned–that and the propensity for four letter F-words). The pace is non-stop. (Even I read in three sittings.)
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point five of Five Stars
The Author: T. R. Ragan (Theresa) is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author. (Just look at her author’s rank above!) She has six in the Lizzy Gardner series and a trilogy, Faith McMann.
Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at www.trragan.com Contact her through Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @trraganauthor ©2017 Virginia Williams