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Review: The Last Word by Taylor Adams

Title: The Last Word

Author: Taylor Adams
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction (thriller)
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (WA)

SummaryAfter posting a negative review of a horror novel, a woman staying at an isolated beach house begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror from the critically acclaimed author of No Exit and Hairpin Bridge.

Emma Carpenter lives in isolation with her golden retriever Laika, house-sitting an old beachfront home on the rainy Washington coast. Her only human contact is her enigmatic old neighbor, Deek, and (via text) the house’s owner, Jules.

One day, she reads a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel by the author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that drags her into an online argument with none other than the author himself. Soon after, disturbing incidents start to occur at night. To Emma, this can’t just be a coincidence. It was strange enough for this author to bicker with her online about a lousy review; could he be stalking her, too?

As Emma digs into Kane’s life and work, she learns he has published sixteen other novels, all similarly sadistic tales of stalking and murder. But who is he? How did he find her? And what else is he capable of?

Review: I was looking forward to this thriller (perfect read for a vacation, I figured) and planned on leaving it with my daughter to read when I was done. Um, not so much. My daughter lives alone and will not do well with a book about a total creepster stalking and breaking in. And, I just didn't love this book.

I liked Taylor Adams' earlier book No Exit (link to my review) giving it 4.5 out of 5. This novel just didn't totally work for me. 

Emma is a strong character and I liked her back story. Adams did a good job of slowly revealing what is plaguing her and how it has affected her. I also really liked the fact that her dog plays a large role in the novel. She and the dog have conversations, it shows us what she is thinking, and I really, really wanted the dog to stay safe.

There were numerous twists and turns, which is good, but I just couldn't get behind the ultimate twist (though I know other reviewers have liked it). This book definitely has a creepy factor that is effective and there is a bunch of violence (just a warning to those who need/want it).

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Bookish--authors and their books are the main theme
  • Popsugar--pet as a character

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