Thursday, 23 June 2016

Review: The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine

n Jane Haseldine’s gripping and brilliantly crafted debut, a reporter searching for her kidnapped son must untangle the connection to her brother’s long-ago disappearance.Julia Gooden remembers nothing about the worst night of her life. Thirty years ago, her nine-year-old brother Ben—the person who promised he would always protect her—was abducted from the room they shared. Try as she might to recall any clue or detail, there is a black hole where Julia’s memories of that terrible event should be.

Now a crime reporter at a Detroit newspaper, Julia tries to give others the closure she’s never found. But guilt and grief over Ben’s disappearance have left her fearful that whoever took her brother is going to come back. Nowhere seems safe—not the city, not the suburbs, not even the secluded lake town where she plans to raise her children. And then, on the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, Julia’s worst fears are realized when her two-year-old son, Will, is snatched from his bed.

Convinced that the crimes are related, Julia tries to piece together memories from her final day with Ben. Are the sudden reminders of her brother clues that will lead her to her son’s abductor, or merely coincidence? Julia knows she has hours at best to find Will alive, but the deeper she digs, the more personal and terrifying the battle becomes, and an undying promise may be her only hope of saving herself and her son.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 28th 2016 by Kensington
Series: Julia Gooden Mystery #1
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Kensington via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Thirty years after Julia's brother disappeared without a trace, her son was taken from right under her nose. With the discovery of an arrowhead under both beds, all signs suggested that the two cases were related. Using her skills as a crime reporter and her desperation to get her son back, Julia stopped at nothing to get the answers she needed.

This book started out strong by grabbing my attention and making me want to know more. Were the two cases relates and how? Why was someone going after Julia? All of the questions that form in my head when I am reading a good mystery were there and kept me turning the pages. Not only was I turning the pages but I was turning them at record speed. I had to know what happened.

It's not to say that there weren't issues with the book because there were. It was narrated in the first person which was fine and I had no issues with that but I did find the dialogue between the characters quite choppy and a little unnatural. At times they would be explaining things to each other that were unnecessary in what I can only guess would have been to make the reader understand. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book and was super sleuthing (in my head) as I tried to figure out the answers to all of my questions. Setting the issues with the dialogue aside, I was really enjoying the story. However, as the story progressed I did find that Julia got on my nerves a little and the story lost some its believability. The way she nosed her way into the investigation was a little far fetched and the events that occurred late in the book were even harder to believe. Some of the events I found to be physically impossible and highly unlikely to ever occur in a real situation.

For a debut suspense novel I think that Haseldine shows great promise and I have no doubt that the kinks will be smoothed out as the series continues. I have every intention of following the Julia Gooden mystery series to see what she uncovers next. Even with the kinks I really enjoyed this story.

About the Author
Jane Haseldine's debut suspense novel, THE LAST TIME SHE SAW HIM, is coming June 2016 from Kensington Publishing. She is a journalist and former crime reporter, city editor and newspaper columnist. Jane is a Syracuse University alum and currently resides in Southern California but also lived in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Louisiana, Michigan, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and a few other places in-between. Her second book in the Julia Gooden mystery series will be published by Kensington in April 2017.

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