The Last Thing He Told Me is an absorbing mystery/suspense novel that just might make you wonder if you really know the one you’re with.
Hannah married a man (Owen) later in life and moved across the country to live with Owen and his awful teenage daughter Bailey in Sausalito, California. They live on a cool houseboat and Hannah and Owen both have successful careers – she as a furniture maker and he as the chief software developer for a tech startup.
The two are very happy together and believe they know each other intimately. Things are going well (except for the awful Bailey) until the FBI raids Owen’s employer and arrests the CEO for securities fraud. This sends Owen on the run, only leaving behind cryptic notes for Hannah and Bailey and a duffel bag full of… something.
Hannah wants to find Owen, but he’s gone completely dark. And as she digs into his past in an effort to figure out where he went, she realizes she doesn’t know him as well as she thought. And was he running from the FBI or is there something else from his mysterious past he’s running from?
Owen’s note to Hannah – the last thing he said to her – simply said, “Protect her,” meaning he wanted Hannah to protect the awful Bailey. But when the trail leads them to Austin, Texas, Hannah unwittingly drags Bailey into the danger Owen wanted her to avoid.
I really liked the book up until the last 10-15% of the story. It was a clever plot that the author unfolded skillfully. I looked forward to reading it to discover the next plot twist. I gained an understanding of Hannah and Owen’s relationship through flashbacks and they were both likable and seemed to be deeply in love. And the author’s description made me want to visit Sausalito.
But the novel ended with some loose ends that I found unsatisfying. Where did Owen go? Was the US Marshall really a good guy, or was he on the gangster’s payroll? Owen’s former father-in-law referred to something really bad that Owen did. What was it??
Additionally, as you can tell, I really didn’t like Bailey. She was petulant and sullen, even before her father disappeared. I consider this an overused stereotype of 16-year-old girls. Plus, Owen and Hannah made a huge sacrifice for her and I kind of wondered why – she was that unlikable. I think to make the ending understandable, the author should have written her with some redeeming characteristics.
If you’ve read The Last Thing He Told Me, I would love to hear your thoughts.
And for my American readers, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!