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The Last Con

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  35 reviews
THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.

Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationship
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Paperback, 388 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Thomas Nelson (first published July 1st 2015)
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  35 reviews


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Raelee Carpenter
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have ADHD and an overactive BS meter, so getting through a suspense novel (or even a few chapters of a suspense novel) without either skimming chunks of prose or rolling my eyes... Honestly I don't remember the last time it happened. But The Last Con conned me. ;) I loved it. It held my interest through over 350 pages(no small feat in itself), but it also surprised me many times and completely suspended my disbelief. Match that with an incredible depth of character, good humor, and solid resea ...more
Staci
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Zachary Bartel's sophomore novel is as unique as his debut. While they are both unique, the novels are very different. The Last Con has a strong historical element which was an integral part of the story.

This novel started out very strong and then my engagement fell off some and I re-engaged at the end. My main struggle was with the main character, Fletcher. While I could see realism in his choices, I wanted to shake some sense into him. Ivy and Dante were both strong characters in the novel.

Ove
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Susie Finkbeiner
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! So much intrigue and humor and just plain good storytelling. Bartels is one to watch.
Lizzy Bueckert
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
An awesome fun book! Very well done. Can't wait for his next one!
Danielle
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This mystery and suspense novel has a unique setting and engaging cast of characters. From Malta in the late 1700’s to current-day Detroit, the moral dilemmas in The Last Con will get you questioning how you’d respond if forced into these situations.

Bartels didn’t dumb the reader down by over-explaining unfamiliar settings and situations. He did an amazing job of including these in the storyline while teaching the reader at the same time.

The historical line to the plot is well-explained and the
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Morgan
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow to fully grab my attention, but I finished the last 100 pages or so in one (very late) night. Not the kind of book I'd normally choose to read, but not bad all the same. I particularly enjoyed how the author (a Pastor here in Michigan) weaved the message of the Gospel throughout the story, but in an understated & not-at-all-cheesy way.
Susan B
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some books just surprise you and this was one of them!! It grabbed you from the beginnng and kept you till the end; in fact when i finished the last page I was looking for more. Fletcher Doyle was recently released from prison for grifting and was trying to get his family back in order.
He found Jesus while serving time and with permission from his parole officer goes on a mission to Detroit, his old stamping grounds. Just the right amount of historical background to give context to what they are
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Sarah
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I liked the Detroit angle. It was cool to be set in my home state (the author is from Michigan too!) and he even tied in our Tigers! :) But the storyline, while interesting, failed to grip me. It wasn't hard to put down and until Happy said, "I know who the Alchemist is", there wasn't really any point where I was grabbed. (I didn't guess who it was at all!")

So it was just okay.
Noah Filipiak
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect blend of humor, suspense, action, theology, and page-turning reading. I really mean it, Zachary Bartels is my favorite Christian fiction author.
Jackie Rogers
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is about con men.Main character is caught and goes to prison. Upon getting out his old cohorts drag him into one last con. Was slow at times, but exciting toward end.
Allison
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bartels has done it again with another novel that masterfully weaves the Christian faith and worldview into real life situations. I recommend his novels to anyone who likes clean, suspenseful, and true to life fiction- to anyone who is tired of reading cliche Christian fiction.
Kelly Bridgewater
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read Zachery Bartels first book, Playing Saint and loved it. When I heard that Bartels had written a second book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The Last Con reminded me a lot of James Rollins, Dan Brown, and the Indiana Jones movies. There is a hunt for a Biblical artifact, filled with a bunch of twists and turns throwing me for a wild ride.

The writing was tight, powerful, and helped keep me glued to the page. I didn’t have to worry about losing my attention because of misplaced
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Victor Gentile
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Zachary Bartels in his new book “The Last Con” published by Thomas Nelson introduces us to Fletcher Doyle.

From the back cover: THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.

Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationsh
...more
Lisa Johnson
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Last Con
Author: Zachary Bartels
Pages: 400
Year: 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
Last year I read the author’s novel, Playing Saint, which quite exceptional and its tale unique. Now readers are given a different type of story to read that is rooted in historical fact involving the Knights of Malta. I don’t know about you, but what the author shares about history after the ending of the story was new to me and quite fascinating.
It is hard to tell if some charac
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Sally
Last year, Pastor Zachary Bartels came out with his debut novel Playing Saint, in which the main character was a smooth talking celebrity pastor promising good things to his followers. Bartels’ second book focuses on another smooth talker, but this one doesn’t stay within the law. During the hunt for a religious artefact, Fletcher is arrested and does time. The last thing he wants after release is to meet up with his former associates, but they manage to find him all too easily on a rare visit t ...more
Nadine Keels
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Last Con, a suspense novel by author Zachary Bartels, deals with some pretty dark themes, but the book manages not to feel overly dark, particularly where bits of humor are mixed in. Fletcher Doyle, a Christian and a former con man now on parole, needs all the skill he once wielded in the game to handle a new con job he’s been blackmailed into, especially when the safety of his wife and daughter are put at stake.

Speaking of the daughter, Ivy, she turned out to be my favorite character. It’s
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Mark
Jul 01, 2015 added it
I like books that integrate history into a modern day fictional tale. The author uses the Knights of Malta, which I had never heard of, as a basis for the plot of the book. Since I don't know anything about them, I don't know what was fictional and not, but it made for an interesting book.

The story is all about conning. The author evidently did a lot of research on grifting and conning, and spun a great story around it. It is very suspenseful and very much a page-turner. Fletcher, the main cha
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Hallie Szott
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review is also posted on Book by Book.

After reading Playing Saint last year, I knew I had to read more from Zachary Bartels, so I picked up The Last Con. The story of Fletcher Doyle, a reformed con man recently returned home from prison and drawn back to his old ways, The Last Con has all the qualities I loved in Playing Saint placed within a new and unique storyline. With plenty of suspense, mystery, intrigue and a cast of interesting characters (many easy to like in one moment and then di
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Beckie Burnham
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Last Con is the first book I have read by Zachary Bartels. From what I experienced, I will definitely be reading his others. This novel is filled with mystery and suspense and enough bad guys to keep the reader guessing. With historic details that made me hit Google, a fast-paced and twisting plot and characters that I immediately connected with, this novel is a recommended read from me.

Fletcher, an ex-con and grifter, has been out of jail for just a short time. His family is still adjusting
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Aaron Heinly
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ancient religious relics, secret societies, modern day con-men, historic heists, crazy plot twists, action, wit, several unrelated groups of bad guys (some of which you actually care for) all converging and convoluting each other's plans, edge-of-your-seat suspense, a little bit of mysticism, and constant guessing is what this book has to offer. Imagine Da Vinci Code meets White Collar (Zachary Bartels is going to kill me for that) but with far more intricate and complicated relationships and in ...more
Fire
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A secret life of crime, using charm and wit to get the rich and famous to give you valuable items, or at least get him close enough to steal them lands Fletcher Doyle in jail. Six years later he is released and starts living an honest life, but when his daughter is taken he is forced back into his life of crime to acquire the items the kidnapper demands.

Fletcher Doyle is in for a wild ride and he tracks and works to collect clues and information on artifacts dating back to the crusades. Will he
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Joan
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get hooked on this book, about to the half. There is quite a bit of set up at the beginning until the story really gets going. Much of the elements of the novel have their roots in historical fact, as Bartels indicates in an Author's Note. The main character is a man recently released from prison. Even though he found Jesus on prison, before long he is blackmailed into grifting once again. I felt there was much more about the grifting than there was about the historical asp ...more
(not your)
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Can a con be too convincing? Did the con man con himself? Or was Fletcher Doyal’s jailhouse conversion real? These are the questions posed in Zachary Bartles The Last Con. It’s been a few months since Doyal’s release and while struggling with the monotony of a mundane job and the challenging fight to regain his wife and daughter’s trust, this former grifter is also struggling with his new faith in the wide open world. When on a church mission trip he is suddenly faced with the allure and threat ...more
Kristi
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I received this book as a giveaway prize, but I was wanting to purchase it, anyway. I read Mr. Bartels' first book, so I knew this one was bound to be good, too.
This story interweaves history and present day to create an intriguing, engaging story that will keep you reading and guessing until the wee hours of the morning. I highly recommend this book (and Mr. Bartels' previous work, 'Playing Saint'), and I look forward to his next publication.
Tom Burkholder
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the book The Last Con, author Zachary Bartels writes about Fletcher Doyle, a con man who has recently been released from prison. Fletcher is determined to follow God and do the right thing. But then his old life comes knocking to drag him away from his family and God while chasing a series of ancient relics hidden by the Knights of Malta.
This was an excellent read and keeps you guessing as to who is The Alchemist. I would highly recommend this book.
Scott
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Bartels kicked it up a notch with The Last Con. It is a classic redemption story: ex-con trying to get his life back together meets with conflict from his past; but he pulls in enough character development, historical intrigue, and plot twists to make it work in a very exciting way. Bravo! Hopefully, this makes Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.'s reading list this summer!!
Cassandra
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Two unbelievably believable characters take front and center place during the book. I felt that the story as a whole was powerful, but it seems to be broken into a few different things and to really understand you are going to have to pick up a copy of this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book.
Janice Boekhoff
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this new book from Zach Bartels! This was a peek into the world of grifting that I'd never seen before. Full of twists and surprises, nothing is what it seems at first glance. Bartels takes your perceptions of what's happening and flips them upside down. Fans of suspense will love this book!
Amanda  H
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This one is hard to put down, though I didn't care for the mild language. Over all though, the story is well written and keeps readers on the edge of their seats!
Kevin Thompson
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Christian fiction without the Amish.
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An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary Bartels serves as senior pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Lansing, MI. He earned a BA in world religions from Cornerstone University and his Masters of Divinity from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Zachary enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing, and cycling. He lives in Lansing, MI, wit ...more
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