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The Last Child

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,094 Ratings  ·  3,029 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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(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...

The Last Child is a mystery about a missing girl in a small town but it's also a lot more than that. It's the story of what happens t
Linda O'Donnell F.
Apr 23, 2016 Linda O'Donnell F. rated it really liked it
We all fail.....sometimes by the things we do and sometimes by the things that we should have done.

Thirteen year old Johnny Merrimon has been at the giving and at the receiving end. His twin sister, Alyssa, has gone missing for some time. His parents have retreated into their own versions of darkness. Katherine has taken to numbing the pain with pills and coma-like sleeping episodes. His father has taken to the road to escape his sorrow and his own self-inflicted guilt.

But Johnny refuses to lay
Who is this author John Hart?! Late to the party yet again? Damn. Comparisons to Mr Grisham may be very well founded. I don’t normally like to draw comparisons, but this was mentioned on the insert of the back cover. I’m impressed. Not in a courtroom way, but I really did love this book. I also find it hard to use the words ‘favourite’ book of the year, but this was awesome! So glad to be a part of the Goodreads community yet again – thanks to the friends who steered me to this one. I wouldn't h ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Nov 15, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it
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
Tom Mathews
This was a fast-paced engaging tale that kept me reading far into the night. Hart’s writes sequentially without an outline, a style that makes for very well developed and engaging characters. There are a couple holes in plot but they are mostly fairly minor and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

I recently had the opportunity to meet John Hart and he revealed some interesting tidbits about the story. For one thing, Johnny Merrimon, the young man at the heart of this story, appeared
Billy Young
May 08, 2010 Billy Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cathrine ☯
Aug 21, 2015 Cathrine ☯ rated it really liked it
This was my suspend reality read for the month. You know when the words mystery and thriller are used in the same sentence to describe a book, there is going to be too much coincidence and unbelievable thriller stuff happening to characters. But that is why books like this are written and read. Not to be taken too seriously. But not as intelligent as I was hoping it would be. Reality aside, factual details should still count. Example: Johnny's mother could not be coming off drug addiction so
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
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
Mar 25, 2016 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is John Hart's third, and the third that I've read. There is a common theme in his books. Take an ordinary happy person and turn their dreams into nightmares.

In this book, Johnny's sister was abducted a year ago and never found, which resulted in his father leaving, his mother turning to drugs and alcohol, the loss of his home, and his obsession with finding her.

In this book, a well-respected detective has lost his wife, is losing his son, and is also obsessed with finding Johnny's sis
Aug 18, 2015 Mara rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mara by: Dan 2.0
Think Sling Blade meets Mystic River with a touch of A Prayer for Owen Meany . All three are among my favorite movies/books, respectively, but The Last Child made my concurrent reading about the Armenian Genocide feel uplifting by comparison.
Oct 22, 2013 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Vera (GirlySunglasses)
Mar 01, 2016 Vera (GirlySunglasses) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of thrillers and mystery novels
4 and half stars

This novel is everything a mystery novel should be. it's gripping, it's heart stopping, it's heartbreaking and it's brilliant.

It's not only a mystery book, though. It is also a book about abuse, about neglect and how these things can destroy lives.

I felt deeply saddened by the neglect Johnny was facing, by the hell that thirteen old boy was forced to face. He acted, sounded and felt like a wary adult, but he was so damaged I couldn't help picture an even younger boy. He reminded
I am sure by now all of you would be acquainted with my best buddy Manju. She is one person who loves me unconditionally and recommends me gems that I always ignore until I can no longer do so and once I finish reading, I wonder why I ignored it for so long. This little gem is also one of her recommendations, which suffered a similar plight. Needless to say, I finished it and patted myself on my back saying ‘it’s better late than never’. I just hope that I will break this trend and read more qui ...more
James Thane
Jun 27, 2010 James Thane rated it really liked it
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
Jun 16, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-unabridged
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
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
Mar 26, 2010 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2012 Pamela rated it did not like it
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
Apr 19, 2016 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
5 stars because I could not put this down!
Sep 16, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
loved this book!!!!
May 14, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sally Pearce
Jul 05, 2010 Sally Pearce rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Jan 22, 2010 Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym) rated it did not like it
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
Mar 27, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
4.25 stars!

This book was fast paced and never boring. Hart knows how to give you the clues/facts just at the perfect time. Towards the very end I guessed a big part of the mystery, but then was hit with a few more twists and turns. John Hart literally has you going until the very end.
I will definitely be reading his other award winning book, Down River. Looking forward to it.
If you want a fast ride full of mystery, I would pick this one up.
May 12, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
This was a good mystery. Characters were well developed but I had a hard time making up my mind about Johnny's character. I wasn't convinced that a 13-year old has the capability and thought process Johnny had. I enjoyed the flow of the book and it was suspenseful. I look forward to reading another book by Edgar Award winner John Hart.
Jan 02, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
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
Jun 08, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
Dec 18, 2011 Rick Fisher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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
May 10, 2010 AvidReader47 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Worth reading? 33 181 Jun 07, 2013 02:42PM  
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JOHN HART is the author of REDEMPTION ROAD (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press; May 3, 2016) and of four New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies, Down River, The Last Child and Iron House. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, Hart has also won the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagg ...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.”
“Lightening falls, all you can do is- pray God that it doesn't fall on you.” 10 likes
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