if you joined a much-too-large college women's club, becoming one of thousands of rape
victims? Emily, daughter of the university's president, isn't
sure what to do after she has been sexually assaulted after attending a
The guy had beautiful white teeth and a dimple that appeared when she made him laugh, but all Emily could think of was, College is where romance goes to die.—The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta (Touchstone, 2016, opening page)
They stood on prime real estate, belly-up to the bar at Lucky's, pressed together by the swell of bodies around them.
- Setting: outside Detroit, on a college campus, modern times
- Circumstances: Emily is filled with optimism on her first day
of college as she heads off with her new roommates to her first
fraternity party. What happens after she meets Dylan, a cute older boy,
is not what Emily wanted. Devastated and ashamed, she tries to move past
the sexual assault, until months later—against all advice—she decides
to press charges. Then one evening in March, Emily fails to come home.
Dylan is the last person to have seen her. When Anna Curtis, federal
prosecutor is assigned the case, she won't stop looking until Emily is
found . . . dead or alive.
- Genre: legal thriller
- Themes: campus sexual assault, date-rape drugs, Greek life, university politics, social class differences
- Characters: Emily, student and victim; Dylan, fraternity member, rich kid; Anna, federal lawyer; various FBI agents, frat members, and university staff and students
- Thoughts: Lots to like in this legal thriller. Although the sense of danger/tension was low, the plot was tight, and the main characters were clear and consistent. The author took on a couple of contemporary sociocultural issues, making the case for action without letting the larger themes detract from the plot. The Last Good Girl is the fifth book in the Anna Curtis series, but I didn't feel lost in terms of the backstory.
- Recommendation: Not the most heart-pounding thriller I've read, but Allison Leotta wrote a solid novel based on important contemporary issues. Don't hesitate to read The Last Good Girl, especially if you have an interest in seeing sex crimes brought to justice.
- Audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook edition (Simon & Schuster Audio; 9 hr, 23 min) read by the talented Tavia Gilbert. Although I usually love Gilbert's work, her performance here felt rushed, and I noticed some breathiness. My advice: Don't shy away from the audio, but keep your expectations in check.