The Last Sister (Columbia River, #1)
Three sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series. Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.

The Last Sister (Columbia River, #1) Details

TitleThe Last Sister (Columbia River, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 14th, 2020
PublisherMontlake
Rating
GenreMystery, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

The Last Sister (Columbia River, #1) Review

  • Maureen Carden
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot succeeds on several levels. First off if gives us an updated look at Ava and Mason even though they still aren’t married. Will summer never come? Then there is the delight in knowing this is the beginning of a new Elliot series, so don’t worry if you haven’t read previous books of the FBI agents. Finally, this is a first rate mystery involving brutal murders, hate crimes, some zany characters and a missing sister. I am saving--at least for prior readers of the The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot succeeds on several levels. First off if gives us an updated look at Ava and Mason even though they still aren’t married. Will summer never come? Then there is the delight in knowing this is the beginning of a new Elliot series, so don’t worry if you haven’t read previous books of the FBI agents. Finally, this is a first rate mystery involving brutal murders, hate crimes, some zany characters and a missing sister. I am saving--at least for prior readers of the Ava Callahan and Mason McLane series--the best for last. This is Zander Well’s story; and what a story it is. Since this is the beginning of a new series, it does not matter is you have read the Callahan and McLane series.It starts with the hanging of a black man and the stabbing murder of his white wife. The woman who discovers the bodies, Emily Mills, also discovered the body of her father hanging from a tree twenty years earlier. Even though there seems to be no connection, Zander finds himself intrigued with both the earlier crime and the resulting tragedies.Emily lives in genteel poverty in a shabby mansion with her sister, Madison, and three zany aunts who are town forces to be reckoned with. Emily and Madison live with giant holes with their parents both dead and their older sister, Tara, missing since their parent’s deaths. Emily can not understand why and how these new tragedies connect with her own even though she is keeping secrets, both old and new that might provide insight if exposed to the light of day. However, Emily works with Zander and Ava to discover why history seems to be repeating itself. The Last Sister contains no red herrings, jaw-dropping events or twists just for the heck of it. This is a straight ahead police procedural and mystery with some surprises, none of which come from left field. They totally make sense and are part of a natural flow. Can you tell I’m not a fan of the big -reveal- just- for –the- heck- of -it books?As usual, Elliot does a terrific job in describing the setting; this time near where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific. I always have the same reaction to her varied Oregon series: I-want-to-go-there.Elliot’s characters always seem so natural to me. People I could be living next door to. People who could be populating any small fading town; except of course for the vicious murders.This is a terrific start to a new series.Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a compelling crime thriller. This is the first book in Kendra Elliot’s new Columbia River series. Mystery, history, romance, sisters, small town, racism, Family secrets, zany aunts. Emily is shook to the core when she finds her friend’s dead body stabbed multiple times and her husband dead as well hung from a tree. The first thought is that this is a murder suicide, but Emily is not convinced. This is too similar to a prior murder in this small town years ago when Emily‘s father This was such a compelling crime thriller. This is the first book in Kendra Elliot’s new Columbia River series. Mystery, history, romance, sisters, small town, racism, Family secrets, zany aunts. Emily is shook to the core when she finds her friend’s dead body stabbed multiple times and her husband dead as well hung from a tree. The first thought is that this is a murder suicide, but Emily is not convinced. This is too similar to a prior murder in this small town years ago when Emily‘s father had been killed by hanging. Her father‘s murder also led to her mother’s suicide and her older sister’s disappearance. This brutal murder brings in the FBI and agent Zander Wells. What follows is a fast paced cleverly plotted investigation into the murders both in the present and the past. The investigation also brings together Zander and Emily. This book was much more Mystery than romance in fact I’d be hesitant to call it romantic suspense. There is an obvious attraction between Zander and Emily although it is not acted on, much. I had no problem with this because I was completely invested in this mystery. I love the big old house that Emily and her sister Madison lived in with there great aunts. I was intrigued by the past. Why was their father killed? And where was their sister? I also was extremely fascinated by the history of Oregon, I truly had no idea Oregon had such a dark history. I loved playing detective and trying to puzzle this together with Zander and Emily. And even though there was very little romance in the story I am really hoping that there will be a little more in the next book and it will continue the story of Zander and Emily, I really like these two together.This book in emojis. 🔪 🩸 🌲 🌊 *** Big thank you to Amazon Pub for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. *** For more of my reviews and bookish thoughts please visit my blog Or follow me on Bookstagram>
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and Montlake Romance for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. FBI Agents Zander Wells and his partner, Ava McClane, find themselves in a small Orgeon town that has just witnessed a horrific murder. A couple slain in their home and the husband hung by his neck in the backyard. Is it a murder-suicide? A racially motivated crime? Or is it connected to a long ago murder? Although the local police resent their presence, the agents cannot but help feel that someone is Thanks to Netgalley and Montlake Romance for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. FBI Agents Zander Wells and his partner, Ava McClane, find themselves in a small Orgeon town that has just witnessed a horrific murder. A couple slain in their home and the husband hung by his neck in the backyard. Is it a murder-suicide? A racially motivated crime? Or is it connected to a long ago murder? Although the local police resent their presence, the agents cannot but help feel that someone is watching their every move and isn't quite finished. A solid suspense thriller that reeled me in the instant I began page one. Great characters, fast moving plot, but the romance between Wells and a witness was so-so. At least it didn't distract from the storyline. Not that my shelf needs it, but it looks like I probably have another series to add to the list. Goodreads review published 18/01/20 Publication Date 14/01/20
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  • Linda Strong
    January 1, 1970
    Emily Mills' father was murdered 20 years ago. She found him hanging from the tree in their backyard. This seems to have set off a chain of events ... her mother eventually committed suicide .... her older sister disappeared and hasn't been seen or heard from since.This night, her friends and neighbors were brutally murdered. The wife was stabbed multiple times, her husband was found hanging from a tree.It's like deja vu all over again. Emily and her sister have tried to forget their childhood Emily Mills' father was murdered 20 years ago. She found him hanging from the tree in their backyard. This seems to have set off a chain of events ... her mother eventually committed suicide .... her older sister disappeared and hasn't been seen or heard from since.This night, her friends and neighbors were brutally murdered. The wife was stabbed multiple times, her husband was found hanging from a tree.It's like deja vu all over again. Emily and her sister have tried to forget their childhood plunged in murder, and this brings it all back.FBI Special Agent Zander Wells arrives in this small logging town along with his partner. As avid as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.What he finds is that the sisters have secrets from everyone ...even each other. Some secrets are never meant to see the light of day. And not everyone is exactly the person they purport to be.This is a nicely paced, highly suspenseful murder mystery that kept me riveted from the very firsst page. Throw in a little romance and all the boxes got checked for me. The main characters are credible and some of the small town residents are quirky, friendly, fun. The accent is on the suspense, light on the romance.Many thanks to the author / Montlake Romance / Netgalley for the digital copy of this Romantic Suspense. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot is the first book in the new romantic suspense Columbia River series. However, while this is the first book of this series this seems to be a sort of spin off from another of Kendra Elliot’s series with a few characters having been seen before but one does not need to have read the previous series to enjoy this one.FBI special agent Zander Wells has been called to a remote Oregon logging town when a somewhat unique murder occurs with the body found hanging. The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot is the first book in the new romantic suspense Columbia River series. However, while this is the first book of this series this seems to be a sort of spin off from another of Kendra Elliot’s series with a few characters having been seen before but one does not need to have read the previous series to enjoy this one.FBI special agent Zander Wells has been called to a remote Oregon logging town when a somewhat unique murder occurs with the body found hanging. However, this style of murder is not a first in this little town and it just happens the person finding the body was all too familiar with this type of death.Twenty years before Emily Mills found her father after her was murdered and his body was left hanging in the backyard. Back then the killer was finally caught and Emily and her two sisters, Madison and Tara have tried to forget. Being caught up right in the middle of this new investigation has Emily and Zander stirring up secrets that have been buried.I’ve read several of Kendra Elliot’s romantic suspense books but have sadly not gotten caught up on all of them just yet but I did know from what I have read that she is definitely a solid romantic suspense writer so I went in fully expecting to like this book, which I did. I do wish I had gotten to the Callahan and McLane series this one seems to spin off of though as one thing holding me back here was there were a lot of characters floating around to get to know and perhaps the ones making a previous appearance would have been easier to follow instead of being totally new too. Still a great start to this new series though that new readers and fans will enjoy.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    My Rating: 4.5 Stars!Small town secrets can be deadly, especially if they are left to fester for twenty years and history repeats itself. A closed case may not be closed after all and a new double homicide may be linked to the dirty little secrets that hide in plain sight as racial hatred rears its ugly head, once again.The murder of Emily’s father destroyed her family and a man was punished, but two new racially motivated murders will bring FBI agent Zander Wells to Oregon. Together, Emily and My Rating: 4.5 Stars!Small town secrets can be deadly, especially if they are left to fester for twenty years and history repeats itself. A closed case may not be closed after all and a new double homicide may be linked to the dirty little secrets that hide in plain sight as racial hatred rears its ugly head, once again.The murder of Emily’s father destroyed her family and a man was punished, but two new racially motivated murders will bring FBI agent Zander Wells to Oregon. Together, Emily and Zander will bat at a hornet’s nest and unleash a swarm of intrigue, lies and ugly secrets, but at what cost?THE LAST SISTER by Kendra Elliot is dark, edgy and even quirky at times as we visit a small Oregon town where everybody thinks they know everybody else’s business, but do they or could they all know just enough to keep from being stung?One family, torn apart, three sisters torn apart until one great truth is revealed that could shred the fabric of lies this town has been built on. Excellent reading, wonderfully unique characters and a twist at the end that ties everything together, even a budding romance!I received a complimentary ARC edition from Montlake Romance! This is my honest and voluntary review.Series: Columbia River - Book 1Publisher: Montlake (January 14, 2020)Publication Date: January 14, 2020Genre: Thriller | Mystery | RomancePrint Length: 336 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Sophia
    January 1, 1970
    A gritty death with ties to a dark past, a family keeping secrets, and a small Oregon coastal town ready to boil over when a pair of FBI agents rush to get to the bottom of things. Tension is high and the path to the truth has to twist and turn its way to the end before all is said and done. I wouldn't have it any other way when it comes to a Kendra Elliot book. This one lived up to expectation and I'm thirsty for more.The Last Sister is a standalone story in a new series. It does spin off an A gritty death with ties to a dark past, a family keeping secrets, and a small Oregon coastal town ready to boil over when a pair of FBI agents rush to get to the bottom of things. Tension is high and the path to the truth has to twist and turn its way to the end before all is said and done. I wouldn't have it any other way when it comes to a Kendra Elliot book. This one lived up to expectation and I'm thirsty for more.The Last Sister is a standalone story in a new series. It does spin off an older series, Callahan & McLane, with Ava McLane as one of the FBI agents in this story and trading places with her partner, Zander Wells, who gets his story now.Emily Mills' employee at the diner is a no-show. When she goes in search of her waitress, she is confronted by a double killing that is reminiscent of her dad's murder in the past. She believes the local sheriff is in over his head and calls the FBI not realizing just what she has woken up in her own past. She lost so much the night her father was murdered. Her mother, unstable at the best of times, took her own life, and her older sister Tara ran off and never came back. Her younger sister Madison shut down and goes about in a state of detachment. Emily never told a soul what she saw the night her dad was killed and the house set on fire- Tara hadn't been at a friends. She had been there- in the woods behind the house that night. And, now its happening all over again- the hanging murder, the hate crime affiliation, and even the attempt to burn the Fitch's home. She has to place her trust in cool-eyed and capable Zander Wells and his partner Ava to get to the bottom even if her sordid family history and secrets may come out after all this time.Zander shows up in a small coastal town and finds a gruesome murder and the trail leads through some of Oregon's darkest history with the Klan, White Supremists, and their legacy. He knows the Mills sisters and their Barton family are at the center of it all some how even though a seemingly unrelated couple are the newest victims. Ava says he's getting too involved with his witness especially since she isn't telling them all the truth. He tries to keep it professional, but there is something about Emily Mills who calmly spotted murder and knew her way around a murder scene and who took up the reins to hold her family together in the face of tragedy that got to him. He will find the truth and keep Emily- her sister and aunts- from becoming more victims.I remember being how wowed I was when I picked up the author's Mercy Kilpatrick series and learned about preppers and sovereign citizens for the first time. This time it was how White Supremacist groups had shaped the area as well as a little with the logging industry. She peels back more dark Oregon history once again in an insulated community on the coast. Her setting, situation, and characters are colorful and alive. Her suspense plot is immediate and palpable so that the reader is sucked in and kept close through the whole pulse-pounding story.The focus is most definitely on the case, but there was no neglect of character and back story development. I got to know both Zander and Emily well. I could enjoy their subtle attraction and the beginnings of their romance. The author didn't try to do too much with that by pushing it faster or harder than the situation warranted. There is a crime to solve and people are getting hurt so it worked best to focus on that, which she did. Zander comes with some baggage that is sad so Emily is not the only one who has quirks that come with her. I know it is just a small thing, but I liked that they found that level of understanding and empathy from each other. In the background were Emily's equally quirky family who were bright spots in the story and her sister Madison even shared part of the narration with Emily and Zander.As to the murder mystery, I was tracking along and assembling my clues- even getting a lot of it right- but the actual culprit? Not in a million years! And, that last big climax scene kept me riveted with all my senses engaged. Big money scene paid triple!All in all, this was exactly my kind of romantic suspense even touching the history buff inside me while handling police procedure, forensic, and character development just right. I can't recommend this author enough for those who enjoy a good romantic suspense, emphasis on the suspense.I rec'd this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • İlkim
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.Lately Kendra Elliot became one of my favorite authors. This book was listed fifth book in the Callahan & McLane series in Netgalley; so I didn't want to start from the last one, I read previous four books before. And I realized this one could be read by alone, you don't need the know about Callahan & McLane books. Our main character is FBI agent Zander Wells and he is partner of Ava McLane. They are I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.Lately Kendra Elliot became one of my favorite authors. This book was listed fifth book in the Callahan & McLane series in Netgalley; so I didn't want to start from the last one, I read previous four books before. And I realized this one could be read by alone, you don't need the know about Callahan & McLane books. Our main character is FBI agent Zander Wells and he is partner of Ava McLane. They are investigating a possible race murder, possible connections to KKK. Our heroine is Emily Mills, and her father hanged twenty years before - just like the murder in this story's beginning. All connections, all mysteries are being solved and the killer shows himself. I liked the story. I think I get to know this author writing a lot, and it never bores me. I'll definitely wait for this series' next books. And of course I'm waiting for the new Ava and Mason book.
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  • ☕️Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    From the violent crime scene we stumble upon in the opening scene with Emily Mills, we know something sinister has happened in this small Oregon town where everyone knows everyone. For Emily the scene in the backyard is all too familiar and when the local sheriff talks murder-suicide, Emily puts a call into the FBI.FBI Zander Wells and his partner Ava McLane arrive on the scene hours later. The crime scene is a mess, but the young woman who called was right, this appears to be a hate crime and From the violent crime scene we stumble upon in the opening scene with Emily Mills, we know something sinister has happened in this small Oregon town where everyone knows everyone. For Emily the scene in the backyard is all too familiar and when the local sheriff talks murder-suicide, Emily puts a call into the FBI.FBI Zander Wells and his partner Ava McLane arrive on the scene hours later. The crime scene is a mess, but the young woman who called was right, this appears to be a hate crime and it’s only the beginning.I really enjoy Elliot’s crime thrillers and The Last Sister weaved in history, racism, and hate groups into a suspenseful tale that not only included the current murders, but weaved in those from the past.The story was light on procedural jargon, but we’re provided just enough through autopsies, and details to feel a part of the investigation.The Mills family, Emily, her sisters along with their eccentric Aunts added to the tale. Emily has been keeping a secret and their oldest sister left town never-to-be-heard from but the past is about to reawaken.Elliot delivered a side-romance and I look forward to seeing how it develops over the course of the series. The author’s stories focus on the case but also give us a feel for the main characters and their lives. Allowing the reader to care and connect with the. I appreciated that connection. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Riveting, edgy, and suspenseful!In this compelling first instalment in the Columbia River series, The Last Sister, Elliot has written a tortuous whodunit where cases from the present and the past intertwine, suspects are in abundance, and deep-rooted racism runs rampant.The writing is taut and intense. The characters are vulnerable, persistent, and driven. And the plot is an ominous tale full of twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, corruption, hatred, murder, and a smidgen of Riveting, edgy, and suspenseful!In this compelling first instalment in the Columbia River series, The Last Sister, Elliot has written a tortuous whodunit where cases from the present and the past intertwine, suspects are in abundance, and deep-rooted racism runs rampant.The writing is taut and intense. The characters are vulnerable, persistent, and driven. And the plot is an ominous tale full of twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, corruption, hatred, murder, and a smidgen of romance.Overall, I would have to say that The Last Sister, is an intricately woven, provocative, highly entertaining mystery that’s a promising start for this new series with its nice pace, well-developed characters, and action-packed plot.Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anita
    January 1, 1970
    Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.I enjoyed this engrossing story and was surprised to finally learn the details of Zander's backstory. the mystery tackled the sensitive subject of racism and raised some thought provoking questions for those who have racist family members. Since there was only one chaste kiss, I don't think you can call this a romantic-suspense, but Zander and Emily were certainly attracted to Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.I enjoyed this engrossing story and was surprised to finally learn the details of Zander's backstory. the mystery tackled the sensitive subject of racism and raised some thought provoking questions for those who have racist family members. Since there was only one chaste kiss, I don't think you can call this a romantic-suspense, but Zander and Emily were certainly attracted to each other and their relationship seemed to be heading toward romance.In this small Oregon town secrets are as plentiful as the rain. Emily Mills has held a secret for twenty years, since she found her murdered father hanging from a tree. Now, history seems to be repeating itself and she had found another murdered man hanging from a tree. Not an experience anybody wants to have once, let alone twice in a lifetime.Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.FBI Special Agents Zander Wells and Ava McClain are sent to investigate what could well be a racially motivated double murder. They find a well meaning but clueless sheriff and a lot of clues that lead them back to the death of Emily's father. Finding out how the two crimes, twenty years apart, are connected could solve these current murders.Only when Emily and her sister, Madison reveal the secrets they have long held can they uncover the secret that the town has long buried, understand why their oldest sister, Tara, disappeared that night and find out exactly what happened both now and twenty years ago. But there are those who will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep those secrets buried.
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  • Trude
    January 1, 1970
    20 years ago....a man in a small Oregon coastal town was hanged and his family nearly destroyed. Present day...a young African American teacher is stabbed to death and his body left hanging from a tree, his young wife brutally murdered. FBI agents Zander Wells and his partner are sent to investigate the deaths as possible hate crimes. This is a fast paced tension filled story with several surprises along the way. I loved it!! I've spent quite a bit of time along this section of the Oregon Coast 20 years ago....a man in a small Oregon coastal town was hanged and his family nearly destroyed. Present day...a young African American teacher is stabbed to death and his body left hanging from a tree, his young wife brutally murdered. FBI agents Zander Wells and his partner are sent to investigate the deaths as possible hate crimes. This is a fast paced tension filled story with several surprises along the way. I loved it!! I've spent quite a bit of time along this section of the Oregon Coast and Kendra Elliott does a great job bringing it to life for us. The setting is very important to this story...almost another character. Zander and Emily are great together and I'm hoping to see more of them in future books in this series. The secondary players are well drawn and relatable. I especially enjoyed the 3 great-aunties. Kendra Elliot's Mercy Thompson series is one of my all-time favorites and this first book of her new one didn't disappoint. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    Book Info Paperback, 336 pagesExpected publication: January 14th 2020 by Montlake RomanceISBN 1542006708 (ISBN13: 9781542006705)Series Callahan & McLane #5Other Editions (4)Source:Netgalley EARCBuy book fromAmazon B&NBOOK BLURBThree sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her Book Info Paperback, 336 pagesExpected publication: January 14th 2020 by Montlake RomanceISBN 1542006708 (ISBN13: 9781542006705)Series Callahan & McLane #5Other Editions (4)Source:Netgalley EARCBuy book fromAmazon B&NBOOK BLURBThree sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.My ThoughtsIn turn want to address these statements, one at a time very briefly, from the blurb to the book. Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard.First the fact that the murder of Lincoln Mills, Emily's father, 20 years before has links to the murders Zander and Ava are investigating.As the story evolves and these links are uncovered secrets long buried, literally and figuratively, are exposed.Secondly, as stated below, the younger sister of the three, claimed says she was asleep. This is a very big part of the reason behind her attitude in life for the 20 years in between her 10-year-old self and her 30-year-old self now. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends.Third statement above is the real stickler of the bunch for many reasons that take the entire book to unravel but are oh so worth the wait! The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever.The statement above when explained late in the story will also be eye opening when everything is revealed.This point below is a major clue in overturning the truth for everyone involved, especially Special Agent Zander Wells. I was totally unprepared for what it brought to light, as were quite a few of the people in the small town of Bartonville itself. The killer was caught. The case closed.A remote coastal town that sits on the banks of the massive Columbia River and is not far from where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.Bartonville is a small town of fewer than a thousand people and it is separated from Oregon’s heavily populated Willamette Valley by hills of the Coast Range and thousands of acres of timber.(view spoiler)[A forbidding, ruggedly beautiful setting that Clatsop County Sheriff Greer, FBI special agent Zander Wells and his partner FBI special agent Ava McLane have their hands full investigating the series of crimes that are current and ancient but prove connected. (hide spoiler)]This is another series and characters to follow![EArc from Netgalley]
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    When Emily Mills goes to an employee's home to see why she is late for work, she isn't expecting to find her employee murdered and her black husband also murdered and hanging from a tree in their backyard. This brings backs horrible memories for Emily whose own father was hanged twenty years earlier. When the local sheriff looks like he's going to call it a murder-suicide, Emily decides to call in the FBI.Zander Wells and his partner Ava McLane come to begin their investigation since it could be When Emily Mills goes to an employee's home to see why she is late for work, she isn't expecting to find her employee murdered and her black husband also murdered and hanging from a tree in their backyard. This brings backs horrible memories for Emily whose own father was hanged twenty years earlier. When the local sheriff looks like he's going to call it a murder-suicide, Emily decides to call in the FBI.Zander Wells and his partner Ava McLane come to begin their investigation since it could be a hate crime. Zander and Ava find themselves investigating in a town filled with secrets. Emily has secrets of her own because she has never told anyone what happened when her father died and her older sister disappeared. Emily has her hands full running the diner that supports her family including the three great-aunts who took Emily and her sister Madison in when her father died and her mother committed suicide. She is also dealing with an ex-husband who just can't seem to accept that their relationship is over. It certainly isn't time to fall for one of the FBI agents who have come to work on the case.Zander isn't looking for a new relationship either. He is still grieving the loss of his wife and unborn daughter. Falling for a witness, or possibly a suspect, isn't anywhere in the FBI manual.I enjoyed this story which talks about Oregon's racists past which might not be as far in the past as most people would like.
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  • BleuBelle
    January 1, 1970
    The mystery and the writing were great. I would have loved to have more romance in the book (there's only a kiss and a promise of a future).
  • Carolyn McBride
    January 1, 1970
    This was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the setting, It felt real enough that I could easily imagine being soaked to the skin by the damp fog. I connected easily enough with Zander, really felt bad for the guy in a couple of places. His heart is good, even if damaged. It was nice to see that something good eventually came his way. Poor Ava, though! The Aunties were a hoot. Each of them was distinct, no matter that they all coordinated. I loved the fact that nearly everyone in the cast had This was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the setting, It felt real enough that I could easily imagine being soaked to the skin by the damp fog. I connected easily enough with Zander, really felt bad for the guy in a couple of places. His heart is good, even if damaged. It was nice to see that something good eventually came his way. Poor Ava, though! The Aunties were a hoot. Each of them was distinct, no matter that they all coordinated. I loved the fact that nearly everyone in the cast had secrets, it really added layers to the main plot. Those sisters! They should get a group rate on psych services. It really added layers to the main plot. I like a multi-dimensional story like that. I also felt bad for the Sheriff. Poor guy lives in a state of denial.I liked this book enough to buy more by this author.Thanks to NetGalley, Kendra Elliot and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC.
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  • Sonia Cristina
    January 1, 1970
    I had great joy reading the books featuring Mercy and Truman, but I’m so excited that Kendra Elliot returned to the characters from the previous series, Callahan & McLane series! Zander was an intriguing character in that series and I so wanted to see him featuring his own book and I was so excited for the release of The Last Sister. It was so exciting to see Zander, Ava and Mason; these characters are very special and I missed them. I'm the kind of reader that, sometimes, falls more for the I had great joy reading the books featuring Mercy and Truman, but I’m so excited that Kendra Elliot returned to the characters from the previous series, Callahan & McLane series! Zander was an intriguing character in that series and I so wanted to see him featuring his own book and I was so excited for the release of The Last Sister. It was so exciting to see Zander, Ava and Mason; these characters are very special and I missed them. I'm the kind of reader that, sometimes, falls more for the setting and the characters than for the plot itself. Not that, in this case, the plot wasn't good, because it was spectacur. It starts with a hanged man in his backyars and from there goes to family dramas, secrets from the past, family secrets, a sister no one has heard from for 20 years, more murders and it was all so thrilling. Not forgetting a touch of romance that is starting to develop and that's one of the best parts.Most of the time, I had no idea about what was happening, I couldn’t guess anything. (view spoiler)[I even thought Tara was dead. And I suspected the Sheriff a lot of the time; I was glad that he didn’t do anything wrong. I knew the killer had to be a person from before, it had to be an old person now but I never thought of the Mayor; in fact, I forgot about him after that scene of the meeting with the town’s people. And Billy, what a dumb human being… (hide spoiler)]The descriptions of that area of Oregon fascinated me, it must be so beautiful. Maybe someday I’ll be able to visit it :) And the greataunts, oh my gosh, they were so funny, I loved them.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    This book is #1 in the Columbia River series, and it starts off with a really good hook: a couple has been brutally murdered and found by Emily who also had found her father, Lincoln Mills, hanging 20 years previously. Who wouldn't ask what happened after reading that? Plus, Emily has 2 sisters, and one of those sisters took off forever. The girls suffered again after the suicide of their mother. FBI agents Zander Wells and Ava McLane investigate the murder of Sean and Lindsay Fitch, both This book is #1 in the Columbia River series, and it starts off with a really good hook: a couple has been brutally murdered and found by Emily who also had found her father, Lincoln Mills, hanging 20 years previously. Who wouldn't ask what happened after reading that? Plus, Emily has 2 sisters, and one of those sisters took off forever. The girls suffered again after the suicide of their mother. FBI agents Zander Wells and Ava McLane investigate the murder of Sean and Lindsay Fitch, both brutally murdered. Because the area is discovered to have racists and KKK members, the question becomes whether or not the murders might have been due to racism or another reason. Sean was black and his wife was white, so that raised questions as to whether this was a hate crime.Then there are 3 other sisters, the aunts of Emily, Madison, and Tara. The older sisters give the story a small town, family feel. I loved the aunts. All of the characters were believable to me and none seemed forced. The conversations were also realistic and I felt like I was reading about a real history of a family.I thought the book's suspense was genuine, nothing far-fetched, and the investigation by the FBI also seemed very realistic. I loved the book and the characters, even after getting to the end and discovering why they all did what the chose, it didn't seem contrived.Thanks to NetGalley and Montlake Romance Publishing for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I liked both MCs in the first installment of this brand new series. Both had endured something(s) that was horrific and lived to tell the tale. I liked that there wasn't much romance in this one and that they took things slow. Seeing Ava and her man (can't remember his name, sorry!) was a nice touch too. The mystery was surprising, and while I didn't really get the feeling that I could've ever figured out the identity of the perpetrator on my own, I do feel like it all made sense in the end. I'm I liked both MCs in the first installment of this brand new series. Both had endured something(s) that was horrific and lived to tell the tale. I liked that there wasn't much romance in this one and that they took things slow. Seeing Ava and her man (can't remember his name, sorry!) was a nice touch too. The mystery was surprising, and while I didn't really get the feeling that I could've ever figured out the identity of the perpetrator on my own, I do feel like it all made sense in the end. I'm looking forward to seeing what Kendra Elliot has in store for Emily, Zander, and the gang.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This small, economically depressed town has a secret and it is a doozy! Murder, eccentric unconventional characters and decades old mysteries combined with racially charged overtones contribute to this new book from Kendra Elliot. Another gripping page turner from this talented author.
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  • Ang -PNR Book Lover Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 fantastic stars. This was a great who done it mystery. I loved that it is connected to Ava’s series. I really am looking forward to the next one in the series. I really think the writing as always is super.
  • Stephanie Phillips (Stephanie's Book Reports)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.I love a good suspense book. Add in a touch of romance and sold! The Last Sister is a great combination of both. Though really the focus of this book is really the women and the murders. Not so much the romance. Works for me though. I read this book really quickly...didn't want to put it down.I enjoyed getting to know these characters and seeing what they're made of. Pretty sure you will enjoy them as well. I mean, how much stuff can a I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.I love a good suspense book.  Add in a touch of romance and sold!  The Last Sister is a great combination of both.  Though really the focus of this book is really the women and the murders.  Not so much the romance.  Works for me though.  I read this book really quickly...didn't want to put it down.I enjoyed getting to know these characters and seeing what they're made of.   Pretty sure you will enjoy them as well.  I mean, how much stuff can a family go through?  Murdered father, mother commits suicide (or did she?) and then a similar murder happens in this small town.  Did they put away the right guy initially?  Has he been paying for the wrong crime?  It's a good a question as any.  There's lots of questions and answers in the pages of this book.  It's time for you to grab your copy.  Let me know what you think after you've given this book in the new Columbia River series a read!
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  • Faith Hurst-Bilinski
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Sister was good. That is literally all that came to mind when I finished reading it. It was good. It wasn't great. It wasn't bad. It wasn't something I would tell people they had to go and read but if they asked I'd say, sure.The best part are Zander and Ava. I want to know more about them. Ava especially since she barely appeared in this one but there seems like there is a lot there to unpack if you flesh it out. Maybe that was in another book. I may have to go back and read that. The The Last Sister was good. That is literally all that came to mind when I finished reading it. It was good. It wasn't great. It wasn't bad. It wasn't something I would tell people they had to go and read but if they asked I'd say, sure.The best part are Zander and Ava. I want to know more about them. Ava especially since she barely appeared in this one but there seems like there is a lot there to unpack if you flesh it out. Maybe that was in another book. I may have to go back and read that. The underlying mystery and the connections between past and present are what kept me reading. However, it was the fact that you really do figure out what happened and have to wait a while to confirm it that ruined the ending for me.The OK...the sisters themselves. The younger ones, that is. The aunts? Could have seen more interaction between them. I mean, three old women who are not triplets but coordinate their outfits so they are all wearing the same color? There has to be some great relationship there. And probably some great fights, too. I wished there was more of them. The younger sisters were more cliche. The flighty younger one. The older one responsible for everyone. Seen it. Done it.The most unbelievable part for me was the relationship forming between Zander and someone who basically should have been a murder suspect. You just happen to walk ups on two hangings? Sure. Trust you right away. The interactions between them read as cheesy to me. Like the author was told to put a little romance into it and so they had to get close in a very short time. So, like I said. Good. I would read more of Zander and Ava as a team. I would read more about the aunts. The younger sisters? Eh. Just my little opinion. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and Kendra Elliot for giving me the chance to express it. https://readeotw.wordpress.com/2020/0...
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  • Kaye
    January 1, 1970
    If you're a mystery reader who steers clear of romance novels, don't be put off by the fact that The Last Sister is published by Montlake Romance. The author Kendra Elliot -- while known as a mystery-romance writer -- does a good job in this book (just as she does in her Mercy Kilpatrick "prepper" series) at using the romantic thread of the narrative only as the spice to the story. It is one of the lesser ingredients, perhaps in the proportion that romance actually occurs in most of our lives.In If you're a mystery reader who steers clear of romance novels, don't be put off by the fact that The Last Sister is published by Montlake Romance. The author Kendra Elliot -- while known as a mystery-romance writer -- does a good job in this book (just as she does in her Mercy Kilpatrick "prepper" series) at using the romantic thread of the narrative only as the spice to the story. It is one of the lesser ingredients, perhaps in the proportion that romance actually occurs in most of our lives.In fact, some other readers who reviewed this book have lodged just that complaint: In effect, "You call this a romance novel? There was barely even one kiss!"Ah, but the mystery was well-plotted and well executed, with the budding relationship between Emily Mills (manager of a family-owned diner on the forbidding northern coast of Oregon), and Zander Wells (an FBI agent who has appeared in some of Elliot's other books) simmering quietly in the background.The FBI has been called to remote Clatsop County, Oregon, because of an apparent suicide that seems, on second look, like a possible hate crime. The first complication is that it is eerily similar to a 20-year-old murder in the same town. The second complication is that Emily discovered both bodies.The author does a stellar job of constructing the mystery and developing the characters.(I LOVED Auntie Dory!) Another standout feature of her writing is the sense of place, both in the "prepper" series -- Deschutes County, Oregon -- and in this launch of the new "Columbia River" series -- Clatsop County. They are both actual counties (although the primary town in each series is fictional), and in both cases, Kilpatrick "nailed it" with the geography, climate and demographics of each area. (Full disclosure: I've lived in both counties.)What didn't work so well in this book was quite a bit of emotional repetition, both in the narrative, the dialogue, and in some characters' interior monologue (particularly Emily's sister Madison.) I've never noticed this in other Elliot books, so it won't discourage me from following her career (as it might have if this were the first of her books I'd read.)So -- 5 stars for many of the elements of this boo, but an overall 3 stars because it's not quite up to par for the author. Thanks to NetGalley and the editor for an advance readers copy.
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  • Anne - Books of My Heart
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted on Books of My HeartReview copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I discovered this author with the Mercy Kilpatrick series and decided to try this new Columbia River series. I'm totally in a mystery/thriller with a touch of romance mood so The Last Sister fit well. The murder case is in the foreground with the romance barely there.The law enforcement in the story are smart and caring. They This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I discovered this author with the Mercy Kilpatrick series  and decided to try this new Columbia River series.  I'm totally in a mystery/thriller with a touch of romance mood so The Last Sister fit well. The murder case is in the foreground with the romance barely there.The law enforcement in the story are smart and caring. They use a combination of interviews and some forensic information to track down the truth. The murder happens in a small town and there is a lot of history and quirky small town traditions.There are suspicions it is a hate crime so the FBI takes part.  Apparently, the agents are in some of her other series I haven't read. There are just tiny bits of racist actions over the years. The members of the white supremacist group commit crimes (murders) but on the sly or implicating others so they know it's not right.Emily's family has a long history in the town and her father / grandfather with the groups. She and her sisters might have witnessed things but they were children. Emily is now remembering things with adult eyes and Madison, who was 4 when her father was murdered,  is tying to make sense of a jumble of facts and family secrets.I read a little about this series which is based on law enforcement members in the Columbia River area of Oregon.  The next book is about Ava McLane who was Zander's partner here and a primary character in the series I have not read. It is The Silence and planned for later in 2020.  The third book will feature Mercy Kilpatrick and Truman Daly!
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  • Tracy Wood
    January 1, 1970
    Finding a dead body is something that stays with you, especially if, as a child, it was your father who died. Emily Mills had tried, successfully for the most part, to keep the dark memories from that day hidden but when she discovers a second body twenty years later everything rushes back at her. She has always known her family had secrets, secrets she had never tried to discover but now everything is different and the past is about to catch up to her.Special Agent Zander Wells and his partner Finding a dead body is something that stays with you, especially if, as a child, it was your father who died. Emily Mills had tried, successfully for the most part, to keep the dark memories from that day hidden but when she discovers a second body twenty years later everything rushes back at her. She has always known her family had secrets, secrets she had never tried to discover but now everything is different and the past is about to catch up to her.Special Agent Zander Wells and his partner Ava McLane are sent to investigate after being contacted by Emily and find a family in peril, a town in denial and a case with links to a sordid past which envelops both. As they get dragged deeper into the history of the region they know the present and past have begun to collide in a way that spells danger for everyone involved and knowing who to trust becomes imperative. I love the way Kendra Elliot weaves murder, romance, tension and tenderness together drawing the reader in so successfully as to to make it seem effortless. This time Zander takes centre stage and his past, which has been described only once in previous appearances, adds to the complexity of the emotions he experiences during this case. This is the first book described as the Columbia River Series and I am already looking forward to reading the next one later in the year; as always with Kendra Elliot's recurring characters it is like visiting with old friends. I was able to read an advanced copy of this thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who loves this author or wants to find a new favourite, her back catalogue as well as this new book won't disappoint on any level.
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  • Farshana S A
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Net Galley , Montlake Romance and Kendra Elliot for this awesome book. This is my first book by Kendra Elliot even though her books have been popping up on my recommendations list for a while now and am more than happy that her book did deliver the goods. The Last Sister is partly a family drama and partly a murder mystery. There's a dash of romance too that adds brilliantly into the story.3 sisters, Tara, Emily and Madison are victims of a crime nearly 20 years ago that destroyed Many thanks to Net Galley , Montlake Romance and Kendra Elliot for this awesome book. This is my first book by Kendra Elliot even though her books have been popping up on my recommendations list for a while now and am more than happy that her book did deliver the goods. The Last Sister is partly a family drama and partly a murder mystery. There's a dash of romance too that adds brilliantly into the story.3 sisters, Tara, Emily and Madison are victims of a crime nearly 20 years ago that destroyed the whole family into bits. Their father was found hanging from the woods and their home burnt down. Tara as the eldest runs away and has had no contact with the family ever since. After losing their mom to depression, Emily takes the responsibility of her younger sister Madison but they are wholeheartedly welcomed into the Barton mansion by the 3 aging aunts Vina, Thea and Dory. The past has however reared its ugly head as there has been another murder in the town reminiscent of Emily's father's hanging and coincidentally she's the person to discover the crime. Each sisters are hiding things from the night of their father's murder. FBI Detectives Ava and Zander are painstakingly going thru the clues finding a motive but soon discovers that there are more secrets in the past to be unearthed before the current murder begins to make any sense.The author has written a thoroughly enjoyable mystery that is riveting and absorbing. I loved the aunts for their quirky ways and their love for Emily and Madison. The truth when it is revealed is much more uglier than anyone's imagination as racism also makes and unwelcome appearance in this small town. Brilliant!
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  • Reen
    January 1, 1970
    Columbia River Book 1Twenty year ago Emily Mills' father was murdered and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Emily's younger sister was asleep in her room and her older sister was out with friends. The killer was caught and the case was closed. The tragedy drove Emily's mother to suicide and Emily' older sister Tara to leave town permanently.Emily and her sister Madison have tried to forget what happened that night but a disturbingly similar murder brings it all back along with FBI Columbia River Book 1Twenty year ago Emily Mills' father was murdered and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Emily's younger sister was asleep in her room and her older sister was out with friends. The killer was caught and the case was closed. The tragedy drove Emily's mother to suicide and Emily' older sister Tara to leave town permanently.Emily and her sister Madison have tried to forget what happened that night but a disturbingly similar murder brings it all back along with FBI Agent Zander Wells who arrives to investigate.Small towns carry big secrets and Zander wonders who knows what and who took their secrets with them. Everyone in the town thinks they know everyone else but do they really?This is a great story, dark and intriguing and a great back story to the characters. Kendra Elliot has become once of my favourite authors and this new series is off to a great start.Thank you to the publisher, author and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for the copy of The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot that I read and reviewed.This book was just okay for me. From the start I felt like I was starting in the middle of a book that I had already missed part of. I know that Zander and his partner had a past in a previous book that I had already read but frankly I don’t remember much about it because I read over 100 book a year and without a bit of a back story to refresh my memory it is hard to set things apart and this was one of Thank you NetGalley for the copy of The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot that I read and reviewed.This book was just okay for me. From the start I felt like I was starting in the middle of a book that I had already missed part of. I know that Zander and his partner had a past in a previous book that I had already read but frankly I don’t remember much about it because I read over 100 book a year and without a bit of a back story to refresh my memory it is hard to set things apart and this was one of them and the author seemed to think we would all know about everything that took place in the past and jump right in and that just took away from the book for me.I also felt the book had way to much going on and some things got lost and other things were just thrown in there are really did not stick. I guess there were too many lose ends and too many characters hanging around that by the end of the book where just there. I can only give The Last Sister three out of five stars.
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  • Dean Williams
    January 1, 1970
    I received this advanced reader copy from NetGalley and Montlake. The following review reflects my honest thoughts on the book. “The facts were tenuously connected, as in a spiderweb, many pieces were missing.” The Barton family are the foundation and backbone of Bartonville and are central to many of the secrets hidden within this small, remote, coastal town. When the investigation of a double murder becomes the job of FBI agents Zander Wells and Ava McClane these buried secrets begin to I received this advanced reader copy from NetGalley and Montlake. The following review reflects my honest thoughts on the book. “The facts were tenuously connected, as in a spiderweb, many pieces were missing.” The Barton family are the foundation and backbone of Bartonville and are central to many of the secrets hidden within this small, remote, coastal town. When the investigation of a double murder becomes the job of FBI agents Zander Wells and Ava McClane these buried secrets begin to unearth. The story leads the reader through an ever-twisting plot that is pieced together by expertly crafted characters (quirky, gossiping aunts; sisters who don’t always reveal all; a sheriff not so accustomed to homicide cases and FBI agents who complement each other through years of partnership.) making you feel as though you are in the thick of the town. Overall, I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 and would recommend to any crime/mystery lovers like myself.
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