Published June 28th 2016 by Kensington
Published June 28th 2016 by Dreamscape Media
THE LAST TIME SHE SAW HIM is Jane Haseldine’s debut novel, and also a fantastic start to the Julia Gooden Mystery series. This series takes place in Detroit, Michigan, which attracted me to this title, living just across the river. Julia is the mother of two young boys and a crime reporter. In 1977, her 9-year old brother Ben was kidnapped, gone without a trace. Because of Ben’s mysterious disappearance, Julia is extremely overprotective of her own children. Julia has never gotten over this grief and also harbors guilt because she has no memories of the night or the abduction. Her overprotective issues and fear that something will happen to her own children has put a strain on her marriage and she and her husband are currently separated. When her two-year old son is kidnapped on the anniversary of Ben’s abduction, her worst fear comes true. Could the two cases be related? Julia is sure they are.
I enjoyed Julia’s smart, tough (yet flawed) character. The story is told in the first person, yet we learn a lot of the background through “flashbacks” which help the reader understand the young Julia and Ben. The characters were well developed and the images of the city and the beautiful lake and countryside were well described. This is a gripping, fast-paced mystery, with plenty of heart-pounding scenes. Perhaps not everything that happened was plausible, but overall this was an exciting read, and it is fiction. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read an engaging and quickly paced mystery. I know I am ready to read the next one to see what is next for Julia and her family. I listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it. Kate Rudd uses a natural voice for the characters which enhanced my enjoyment of this book.
About the Book: In 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.
About the Author: Jane Haseldine writes the Julia Gooden mystery series for Kensington Publishing, including The Last Time She Saw Him, Duplicity, and Worth Killing For, which will be published in March 2018. Jane is a journalist, former crime reporter and also worked as a deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons.