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The Last Child

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  17,318 ratings  ·  2,593 reviews
Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he'd been taught since birth to trust. No one else ...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
A year after his twin sister disappeared, thirteen year old Johnny Merrimon is still looking for her. His father has ran out on the family out of guilt and his mother is hooked on pills and shacked up with an abusive scumbag. The only other people who seem to care are Johnny's best friend Jack and a burned out cop named Clyde Hunt. Until another girl disappears...

My girlfriend recommended this. She's pretty wise.

The Last Child is a mystery about a missing girl in a small town but it's also a lo
...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Nov 15, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hoopla & award winner followers
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Doug Bradshaw
WAY better than Iron House, love it when giving an author a second chance pans out. They're both thrillers but this one’s improved by a level of suspense, a slow build that about midway picks up then just keeps accelerating right to the end - don’t be surprised if your up half the night. The writing is simplistic (no thesaurus required here folks) more important the dialog is believable.
Intricate plotting with characters to care about, a thoroughly entertaining bit of escapism. For the thriller
...more
Billy Young
This is a real rollercoaster of a book, filled with twist and turns to keep you reading. At times I found it hard to put down so I could get some sleep. If there was a flaw it was that sometimes the story moved from one scene to another without the usual break you expect but this is minor and one which I quickly adjusted too. My first impression on this tale were swept away as the story of Johnny looking for his missing sister was turned on its head as this 13 year old boy struggled with his own ...more
Jim
This is a horrible book - in a good way. It's well written with superb characterization & a mystery that kept me wondering until the very end, but the basis of the story, child abuse & abduction, was heart-wrenching. I don't like books about kids being hurt & yet this one captivated me.

The drive of the main characters was incredible, yet believable. They were flawed & noble, driven & swept away by events & powers outside their control. A cop haunted by a case he can't sol
...more
Brandon
Oct 22, 2013 Brandon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery & Suspense Fans.
Recommended to Brandon by: Dan Schwent
Back in 1999 the United States Department of Justice completed an extensive and comprehensive study into missing children. Within that time frame, approximately 800,000 children under 18 were reported missing. Seemingly more often than not, the child is abducted by a family member whereas a smaller number of kidnappings are perpetrated by non-family members or someone the child doesn't know. I’m not sure what’s more terrifying, someone that the child trusts taking advantage of that relationship ...more
Amy
Audio/Thriller/unabridged: Through the whole book I kept on saying, "Call the FBI". Katherine Merrimon never calls them, Hunt never calls them, the chief never calls them. Two girls are kidnapped within one year and no one calls the FBI. The chain of evidence is ruined, crime scenes are trampled over, & evidence and clues are handled with no care. After seeing the way Alyssa's case was never solved, the parents of the second girl do not call the FBI either. ANYBODY CAN CALL THE FBI. Their nu ...more
Drew
I first became aware of John Hart when I read "Down River," and at the moment I finished that book, I became a fan. "The Last Child" continues to cement Hart's stellar reputation in mystery fiction.[return][return]When his 12 year old sibling, his twin sister Alyssa, goes missing, Johnny Merrimon's family begins to fall apart. His father, eaten up by the guilt of forgetting to pick up Alyssa the night she goes missing, disappears. As the stress of losing her daughter is compounded by losing her ...more
Cindy
John Hart is now my new favorite author. This was such a good book. Thank you Goodreads! Johnny Merrimon,age 13, is on a mission and that is to find his missing twin sister who has been gone for a year. He is determined and even obsessed with finding Alyssa and is certain that she is alive. Clyde Hunt, a detective, is also obsessed and haunted as he promised Johnny's family that he would find the missing girl. This is a thrilling mystery that grabs you in the beginning and then doesn't let you g ...more
Pamela
Mar 04, 2012 Pamela rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
(This review is for the audio version.)

That's it with John Hart. I've had enough. His first book The King of Lies wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty darn good for a first novel. His second Down River wasn't as good, but Hey! Sophomore books are always a bit of a disappointment. I next listened to--or rather tried to listen to--his fourth Iron House. I gave up on that one as the characters rapidly went from uninteresting to stereotypical to downright annoying.

I managed to finish this, his third b
...more
James Thane
Johnny Merrimon's picture-perfect family is shattered when Johnny's twelve-year-old twin sister, Alyssa, goes missing. A year later, Alyssia is presumed dead. Johnny's father, broken by the girl's disappearance, has abandoned the family while Johnny's mother has descended into a blurry fog of pills and booze, and is being victimized by a wealthy twisted sexual predator.

Abandoned for all practical purposes, Johnny continues his own search for his sister, refusing to believe that she is dead, and
...more
Sally Pearce
Jul 05, 2010 Sally Pearce rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any mystery reader/lover
Recommended to Sally by: J.T. Ellison
Shelves: read-in-2010
I met John Hart when I read THE KING OF LIES. I found him again, improved, in DOWN RIVER. This time he really shines as a great author in THE LAST CHILD! This book grabbed me and held on for 450+ pages. I lost a lot of sleep because I just had to know what happened.

The book is not light mystery reading. It has meat to it and terribly sad parts. It moved me in ways I haven't been moved in a long time. That's saying a lot considering the books I've read recently.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I di
...more
Sheila
This was my first book I've read by John Hart but most definitely won't be the last. The Last Child won the Edgar award for best novel in 2010 and I can see why. This is one of the most gripping mysteries I have ever read. From the first page to the last this book grabs at you. While I was reading this one, I wanted the world to go away and leave me alone so I could READ THIS BOOK! I give this book ★★★★★★★
Meaghan
A seat-of-your pants thriller, with all the good elements: serial killers, crazy people, missing children, a cop with a case he can't let go of, greed and corruption, etc etc etc. Normally I don't go for thrillers, but as this was about a missing child I felt I had to read it. I'm glad I did. There are so many twists and turns I felt dizzy, yet everything came together in the end. I love how the author incorporated the Carolina landscape and history into the story.
Teresa
Crianças desaparecidas, psicopatas, gigantes tolos, policias bonzinhos, mulheres belas e em sofrimento,...

Mas o problema, mesmo, é ter páginas a mais; a cerca de metade eu já estava esgotada de tanto ler sobre nada, e despachei a segunda parte com uma leitura mais ou menos.

Acho que estou a ficar saturada de policiais sempre iguais.
Matthew
John Hart's The Last Child was a pretty interesting read. When I first started it I was initially put off by the characters and writing. The subject matter didn't bother me at all, but the almost sophomoric writing style did. The dialogue didn't pop and the characters seemed to be snipped out of cardboard. You learn nothing about the main character Johnny only that he's a little weird, has a missing sister, stays home from school a lot, and tries to be the independent one since his non-existent ...more
hllf
Not fantastic, but not bad. Below is a breakdown of my rating:

Enjoyability: 3.5
Re-Readability: 2
Character Development: 3.5
Complexity: 3
Writing Style: 3
Believability: 4.5
Overall: 3.25

I wanted to try out Hart, as he recently had his last (and I think first) novel become a best-seller. However, I liked the description of this novel better than "Down River," so I chose this one.

It was a decent mystery, with pretty good character development. However, the book tried to be over-emotional, and it didn’
...more
Michael
Thirteen-year-old Johnny Merryman's twin sister, Alyssa was abducted over a year ago, sending his entire family into a downward spiral of destruction. As the months lingered, Johnny's father left, his mother went from praying daily for Alyssa's return to a shell of her former self and Johnny became obsessed with finding his sister and returning his family to the way things were before the events occurred. And the destruction doesn't end there--the lead detective's obsession with the case and his ...more
Rick Fisher
This is my first foray into the mind and vision of John Hart. I promise, it will not be my last.
The praise/blurbs on the covers of his novel are wonderfully correc. Not just paid for pushes by authors from the same publishing house. They are all very well deserved.
This novel moves at an amazing pace. It takes you through the pain and sorrow and guilt in so many different key players in this book. And at no time does it get confusing or convaluted. The story/plot is an old one, but this one k
...more
AvidReader47
What can I say? I'm so glad that I won this book through Library Thing Early Reviewers or else I wouldn't have discovered such a fabulous author, John Hart. The Last Child was both a sad and uplifting story about Johnny Merrimon, a 13 year old, whose twin sister, Alyssa, was abducted. Following this tragedy, Johnny's family was torn apart from his father leaving, his mother turning to drugs and getting involved in an abusive relationship. Johnny believes that his sister is still alive which lead ...more
Lou
This won an Edgar award and that makes me wonder that maybe I missed something on listening to this via audio. It started off a really good promising story with notable characters but the motion of things lost me halfway. When listening to a book it's much easier to drift off into the far yonder, if the story does not hook you, dreaming and thinking of more beautiful ....things and finer pastures. The writer needs to get the readers attention by midway of the story, i was not hooked and really a ...more
Stefan
The Last Child didn’t have as great a conclusion compared to the previous work I read by John Hart, Down River. However, it had a well written story line and expressive dialogue. The greatest strength of this book was not its suspense or surprises, but the characters (Johnny and Hunt especially) and themes. The narrative featured vivid mental imagery, plenty of emotion, and memorable drama. The Last Child is an amazing novel, that is more intelligent, philosophical, and introspective then most t ...more
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Scott Sowers

Johnny Merrimon is a troubled young man. At thirteen he is shouldering far more responsibility and guilt than any child his age should carry. His twin sister disappeared a year ago, his father has left the family, his mother is lost in a fog of drugs, and his father’s former boss has insinuated himself into their home. Detective Clyde Hunt hasn’t given up searching, but he’s increasingly concerned for Johnny and his mother. Johnny won’t trust anyone – except hi
...more
Susan
Why no option for zero stars? More comments to come, though I have already wasted enough of my life on this poorly-written and foolishly-conceived book.
Josh
2.5 stars- somewhere between liked and it was OK. The story is a fairly well written one, but there are parts of the writing that seemed a bit ho-hum for me. It's an easy read, and there are hints of things that should mean more; but those parts don't tie in the way that some other Southern writers can combine story with bigger meanings. I liked the infusion of North Carolina slave/Indian culuture, but it somehow didn't all go together. Same thing with some of the references to Faith and God. It ...more
Kelly
A family is torn apart by the disappearance of one child. Johnny's twin sister disappeared a year ago, a few weeks after her disappearance his father disappears and his mother vanishes into an abusive relationship along with wallowing in drugs and alcohol. There is also the dedicated detective ( in a very cliched portrait) who continues to work the case while allowing his own marriage and family to shatter.
Johnny continues to systematically look for his sister along with his best friend, another
...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
This book is full of shit - I'm referring to the favorite exclamation by characters in the book. Most people will disagree with my review of this book, an Edgar Award Winner. Hart is put in the same category with Jeffery Deaver, John Grisham, Turow and James Lee Burke - all authors that I haven't really gotten into. The Last Child has more than a few twists and some good scenes (including gore) but I couldn't connect with the characters. The title has dual meaning in who is referred to as "The L ...more
Babete
Este romance é invulgar e muito perturbador; a sensibilidade com que foi escrita esta história toca-nos profundamente. Aconselho toda a gente a ler, é muito enriquecedor!
Jenni
Drop whatever you are doing and READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really thought that two books was more than enough to take on a beach vacation that would not include much down time due to the five children I have. I was wrong. I got through the two I brought very quickly and could not imagine three more days at the beach without a book. When I went to the store, my first choice was not available. I searched in desperation for something else it looked like I would enjoy. The cover captivated me and ...more
Rudy
I did mostly enjoy reading this book. It was well written and the characters initially drew me in. As the story progressed however the book developed what was for me a near fatal flaw. One of the main characters is Detective Clyde Hunt who is tasked with investigating the recent disappearance of a young girl. He was also in charge 2 years earlier of the search for Alyssa Merrimon another teenage girl. He is in fact haunted by his failure to successfully close that previous case. His guilt clouds ...more
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I just picked this up from the library yesterday; read the Prologue and Chapter One; and am returning it today. It's horrible.

Imagine trying to get through a sizable novel where in every sentence, the author appeals your senses by slopping on the adjectives. Every light switch buzzes. Every errant gleam of sunlight glistens. Every piece of bacon sizzles. A character can't get from his bedroom to the bathroom without wasting two paragraphs reflecting on the visuals, smells and sounds of every obj
...more
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Worth reading? 34 173 Jun 07, 2013 02:42PM  
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47072
I was born in Durham, North Carolina in 1965, the son of a young surgeon and French teacher who quit teaching to raise her children. Eventually, I moved to Rowan County, where THE KING OF LIES and DOWN RIVER are both set, and on which the fictional Raven County is loosely based. My favorite memory of childhood is a five hundred acre farm that has since fallen to the sweeping tide of development th ...more
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“She turned the water scalding hot and scrubbed her face until it hurt, but the eyes still looked wrong. She tore off her clothes and stepped into the shower; but it was not enough.
The dirt was on the inside.”
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“Lightening falls, all you can do is- pray God that it doesn't fall on you.” 6 likes
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