09 August 2016

Today's Read: The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta

Review: The Last Good Girl by Allison LeottaWhat 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 frat party.

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.

They stood on prime real estate, belly-up to the bar at Lucky's, pressed together by the swell of bodies around them.
The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta (Touchstone, 2016, opening page)

Quick Facts
  • 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.


Unknown 8/9/16, 8:06 AM  

Sounds so sad yet I'm hoping she comes out of it strong. This happens all too often in real life.

My TT from Friend Of The Devil

JoAnn 8/9/16, 8:10 AM  

This sounds like one I'd reach for in print. Not sure why I never listen to thrillers...

Unknown 8/9/16, 8:14 AM  

This one sounds like it's right up my alley.

My teaser this week is from the point of view of a man with autism: https://wp.me/p3Nz8P-Jw

sherry fundin 8/9/16, 8:40 AM  

I like books with settings I am familiar with. I'm originally from Flint Michigan and made many trips to Detroit. I love thrillers, thought legal thrillers can be hit and miss with me. Hope you enjoy the read.
sherry @ fundinmental My TT

bermudaonion 8/9/16, 8:49 AM  

This does sound very relevant. I've read a couple non-fiction books about sexual assault on campuses and would like to read this fictional account as well.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 8/9/16, 9:53 AM  

Based on what you've shared, I'm putting this one on my wish list.

Kathy Martin 8/9/16, 10:12 AM  

This sounds very good. I'll have to add it to my wishlist. My teaser comes from Thrill Kill by Brian Thiem. Happy reading!

Katherine P 8/9/16, 10:45 AM  

This sounds like a tough read for me right now because I currently have 2 girls in college and a very vivid imagination. I've been drilling the basics into their heads for years - don't take a drink from anyone, never go off alone with someone, always pay attention when walking outside after dark, hit the ground if someone tries to grab you, don't be afraid to make a scene, etc, etc - but I can't actually protect them. However, this does sound fascinating so I'll have to put this on my list for a few years from now!

Daryl 8/9/16, 11:22 AM  

recently i read, online, the letter that the young woman who was raped wrote to the judge after her rapist was given a ridiculously lenient punishment .... this sounds good but i think i need to wait to read it ... x

Laurel-Rain Snow 8/9/16, 11:48 AM  

A very timely issue...and I love the idea of the prosecutor who seems intent on finding the missing girl. Sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR”

Margot 8/9/16, 12:42 PM  

This is a tough subject to read about, but important to be aware of. I'd keep reading.

Literary Feline 8/9/16, 12:56 PM  

This sounds like something taken straight out of the headlines. I'm definitely curious about this one. I imagine it would be an emotional read.

Anonymous,  8/9/16, 2:46 PM  

This is a subject of our times that is very sad.

Iliana 8/9/16, 5:07 PM  

I haven't read anything by this author yet probably because I'm not usually drawn to legal thrillers but this does sound like a good story and I like that it brings up issues. Sounds like it could be good for a book group discussion too!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/9/16, 7:53 PM  

new to me and sounds worthy of a shot. thanks for sharing.

Verushka 8/10/16, 7:27 AM  

Oh, I like this -- it sounds like a slow simmer legal thriller, which can be the best kinds.

Unknown 8/10/16, 2:08 PM  

I think thrillers and mysteries make some of the best audiobooks. The first audiobook I listened to was a mystery by Sharyn McCrumb. I loved it and was hooked on audiobooks forever after.

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