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The Last Child

( Johnny Merrimon #1)

by
4.13  ·  Rating details ·  32,576 ratings  ·  4,095 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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Maria Mifsud I was thinking the exact same thing. I so could see some of the scenes acted out - particularly the one with Freemantle in the cemetery ... and the…moreI was thinking the exact same thing. I so could see some of the scenes acted out - particularly the one with Freemantle in the cemetery ... and the crows ... I loved that scene! It would be amazing to watch this on the big screen!(less)
Z. Coe I liked many aspects of Iron House but there were plenty of parts I didn't like (some I even found a little tedious), and it didn't particularly…moreI liked many aspects of Iron House but there were plenty of parts I didn't like (some I even found a little tedious), and it didn't particularly impress me. The Last Child, however, immediately leapt onto my "Mindblowing! Amazing!" books list. I tried reading some of Hart's other books since I enjoyed Iron House enough and was awestruck by The Last Child, but nothing else I read by him (or countless other authors, for that matter) came even close to how good The Last Child was.

Back to your original question, though: I would say if you're not feeling Iron House, feel free to abandon it, but make sure you read The Last Child. I have found his other books to be a lot more tedious and a lot less interesting compared to The Last Child, which was an absolute masterpiece.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  32,576 ratings  ·  4,095 reviews


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Melissa
*4.5 stars*

It didn’t take much for John Hart to convince me, I was about to embark on an incredible journey—and by not much, I mean a mere chapter or two. Now, I don’t know about you, but in my book, that’s the sign of an impressive writer—one who manages to catch me with only a teeny tiny taste.

Even with the frenzy-inducing suspense, the hefty list of questionable characters and the constant probing of the facts this storyline incites, The Last Child reads more like literary fiction than
...more
Julie
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Last Child by John Hart is a 2009 Minotaur publication.

John Hart has taken the crime and mystery genre to an entirely new level with this stunning novel.

The perfect family is torn asunder when their daughter disappears, just vanishes into the thin air. The marriage falls apart, the father walks out, the mother falls into drug and alcohol abuse and into a toxic relationship, while the last child- Johnny, a thirteen -year old boy, grieving the loss of his missing twin, is left to fend for
...more
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

This is a thriller/ mystery about abducted and missing children, but it stands head and shoulders above other treatments of that theme. There are no gruesome details, but there is rich characterization and subtle psychological exploration of the characters. And there is plenty of riveting suspense.

Thirteen-year-old Johnny Merrimon has a twin sister, Alyssa, but she disappeared about a year ago. Johnny’s father, Spencer, had been scheduled to pick up Alyssa from the library that
...more
Jen
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Hart does it again. A heart thumping, holy crap, I need to keep reading, adrenaline rush of a thriller that left me breathless with anticipation.

Johnny Merrimon is a 13'year old boy who is on the run. His twin sister went missing more than a year ago and he's taken it upon himself to find her. His mom a drug addict and his dad abandoned them, he has had to grow up and fend for himself.
As he gets closer to the truth, he witnesses a murder but before the stranger dies, he tells Johnny he's found
...more
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
...more
Norma * Traveling Sister ~ Semi-hiatus for now until I fully get my reading/reviewing hat on! 😂 I’m almost there! 💕
Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and JEN!!

HART has a knack to keep you totally engaged with jaw-dropping moments that even surprised Norma’s deductive sleuthing skills.

THE LAST CHILD by JOHN HART is an action-packed, tense, fast-paced, and a suspenseful thriller with lots of surprising twists and turns along the way that kept us all reading and guessing right to the very end.

JOHN HART delivers a character driven story here that is brilliantly and cleverly written in such a skillful way
...more
Suzanne
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Zoeytron
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
This mystery is so rich and full of story, it is difficult to decide what to focus on for this review. A crooked man, busted up and leaking red., a giant of a man with a ruined face and a heavy load, another man named Jar, he with the jittery eyes. Woods that are deep and secret, a reflection of wings, and then one by one, a gathering of crows.

Johnny is a young boy with the heart of a warrior and a predilection for eagle feathers, war paint, and fire. This is Johnny Merrimon, and he continues
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 "Why did I wait so long to read my first John Hart book?!" stars to The Last Child

I read this book in anticipation of Hart's latest, The Hush. The very first chapter had my heart twisted in knots. I know it's your stomach that is usually twisted in knots, but this book told a strong hold of my heart and did not let go until the end. How remarkable that a suspense/thriller would grab my heart like it did.

Johnny Merrimon, the main character, was on a mission to find his lost sister, Alyssa,
...more
Jaline
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So many of my Goodreads friends have read, and loved, this novel. I have finally been able to find out why for myself.

This book drew me in from the very start. There is a large cast of characters in this novel, yet each is woven into the story in perfect timing so it is easy to keep track. Even more, we discover aspects of each character’s personality and psychological makeup that make them real and multi-dimensional. We are quickly drawn into their lives and even their backgrounds in an
...more
Svetlana
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Darkness is a cancer of the human heart.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book ever since I've finished reading it. For months it was sitting on my shelf because I wasn't bothered to pick it up; but my interest piqued when the lovely Jennifer read and reviewed this book. I finally decided to read it because I also found that the author was coming out with a new book which takes place years after this one. The Last Child was a fantastic read. I honestly loved everything about it
...more
Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends
Traveling sister review with Norma and Jen

Loved sharing the twists and surprises from The Last Child with Norma and Jen.

All of our Traveling Sister reviews can be found on our sister blog
https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
*TANYA*
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! Simply WOW!! I officially love this author!! Everything came to a full circle. The author taps into very strong subjects but he manages to be subtle and refined, without having to be crude or detailed to get the message across. I loved his latest work, Redemption Road, and in my opinion this book superseded that one and it was a five star read as well.
Marialyce
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have waited such a long time to read this book. It has been on my TBR shelf for quite some time. Sometimes your anticipation for a novel, breeds a disappointed reader. However, I am happy to say that in this case I was not disappointed.

John Hart has provided this reader with many hours of an emotionally wonderfully written novel. It was so many things a novel should encompass, wonderfully flawed characters, a theme that while was horrible did not have the gruesome details so many thrillers
...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 25, 2013 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
...more
Margitte
Redemption Road by John Hart was my first encounter with this author's work. It became one of my all-time favorite reads. All the elements of a harsh, gritty reality was present, with a compassionate touch of goodness thrown in to ensure the reader's emotional survival. John Hart wrote a thriller like I wanted it to be. Perfectly so. Perhaps it can be called a literary thriller, since there was just so much more on offer than the usual.

For this reason I jumped at the opportunity to read The Last
...more
Victoria
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have a tendency to pick up books at library used book sales only to gather dust on my shelves. To date there are over 80 tomes beckoning because I continue to go for the next ‘it’ book that everyone on Goodreads is touting. So I’ve made a commitment to dust off the occasional book in between the new releases and boy did I hit the jackpot on this one.

This goes beyond the traditional mystery due to its emotional breadth and depth. The author delves into his characters’ lives with such
...more
Tom Mathews
This was a fast-paced engaging tale that kept me reading far into the night. Hart 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
...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*4.5 stars rounded up. John Hart can create some incredible characters that can tear your heart out if you're not careful. In the first few pages, I thought Oh this book is going to be just too depressing for me! But I'm glad I hung in there for a terrific, unputdownable read.

One year ago, Johnny Merrimon's twin sister, Alyssa, was abducted, seen being pulled into a vehicle while walking home after her father failed to pick her up.

The Merrimon family's life has been falling apart ever since.
...more
Carol
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read THE CHILD so long ago when it was first published and STILL remember a good portion of it.

Loved it and John Hart's storytelling expertise!

Linda
Mar 15, 2016 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
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.75
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
...more
Jim
Oct 27, 2013 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
...more
Brenda
Jan 19, 2015 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
...more
Billy Young
Apr 15, 2010 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
Mara
Jul 14, 2015 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.
James Thane
Jun 27, 2010 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
...more
Em*bedded-in-books*
This is a missing child mystery which turns very intense. Alyssa, an ebullient 12 year old went missing one afternoon , returning from school. Her twin brother Johnny's friend Jack claims he sees her being pulled into a van by an unknown person. Alyssa'sparents are devastated and their marriage suffers as the mother blames the father who was supposed to pick her up, but forgot to. Father too disappears one fine day. Mother, Katherine turns a drug addict and Johnny is almost an orphan, who will ...more
Annie
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was very excellent, but I could have really benefited from seeing a therapist while reading this. John Hart is an excellent writer. I like when the author paints such a clear picture of what is going on that I feel it, not just read about it. However, that meant in this story that I felt a lot of emotions that were not of the feel-good kind. This story about a 13-year-old boy who searches for his sister who went missing a year ago involves A LOT more than I initially thought it would. The ...more
Antoinette
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 STARS.

This book was electrifying and totally unputdownable. This is the first book I have read by John Hart and will definitely not be my last.
This book is a suspense thriller and it certainly delivers. There is so much to love about this book, but what I loved the most were the people.
First there is Johnny a thirteen year old whose twin sister went missing a year ago. He has been conducting his own investigation because he is convinced she is still alive. His mother has fallen apart over
...more
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Around the Year i...: The Last Child, by John Hart 1 8 Jan 09, 2019 09:14PM  
Bibliophiles Anon...: Week 3 - Chapters 32-47 5 25 Aug 16, 2016 07:31AM  
Bibliophiles Anon...: Week 2- August 8-14, Chapters 16-31 1 12 Aug 10, 2016 08:11AM  
Bibliophiles Anon...: Chapters 1-15 August 1st -7th 4 13 Aug 10, 2016 08:01AM  
Worth reading? 33 196 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 ...more

Other books in the series

Johnny Merrimon (2 books)
  • The Hush (Johnny Merrimon, #2)
“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.” 11 likes
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