Cornerofmadness's Reviews > Last Seen Alive

Last Seen Alive by Carlene Thompson
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Jul 30, 11

bookshelves: mystery
Read in July, 2011

** spoiler alert **
I like picking up Ms Thompson’s books as she’s a local author and I like mystery and suspense. In this one Chyna Greer returns to Black Willow West Virginia from where she’s doing her medical residency in Albuquerque to return for her mother’s funeral. Chyna is shocked on many levels. She didn’t know her mother was ill and more bizarrely, her mother doesn’t want buried next to Chyna’s father. She wants cremated and to return to New Mexico with her daughter, an odd choice seeing as Chyna’s brother, Ned and his wife and kids still live in town.

Chyna has multiple mixed feelings about being back but most notably the disappearance and presumed death of her friend, Zoey, when they were young teens. Several other girls had gone missing since then, each time when Chyna is around. Accompanying that is Chyna’s sixth sense and the fact the whole town see her as odd, knowing about the ESP. Chyna quickly meets up with Scott, her old crush. Several years older than her, closer to her brother’s age, Scott is a pilot recovering from mental and physical injuries after a crash that killed several children. Also among the notables in the cast of characters are Bev, Ned’s wife, Gage Ridgeway a person of interest in a couple of the girls’ disappearances, Irma Vogel, man hunter who hates Chyna, Rex, Chyna’s uncle, Rusty, the son of the local funeral director and young Deidre who looks up to Chyna as a scholarly success story.

As Chyna deals with her mother’s death, almost immediately she starts hearing Zoey begging her for help. Zoey’s mother starts calling asking if her daughter’s there from the grave. Chyna wants to run but thinks that this is nature’s way of forcing her to try to help. While she’s working on that, she slowly becomes closer to Scott. A little more than halfway through the book, Deidre becomes the next girl to go missing. Chyna’s psychic senses get turned on full bore creating a link between the two women. She has to find Deidre before the killer finds her.

If you don’t like your mystery with a side order of psychic ability then you’ll want to pass on this one. There were some really repetitive spots with Chyna thinking about the oddness of her mother’s choice or her not knowing mom was sick or how odd the town thinks she is. Probably could have lost 20 pages if we trimmed that fat off. Over all, I thought the mystery was well handled. It could have been just about anyone up until the end. That said, some of the end felt a little contrived to keep us thinking that it was anyone, a little too purposefully misleading, if you know what I mean. Over all though, I liked it.
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