Dead Last Review
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Down in the Florida Keys, a new TV series, Miami Ops, struggles to remain high enough in the ratings to warrant a second season. But then a copycat killer starts committing murders in the same way the show does, using the Miami Herald obituaries as a way to choose the victims—obituaries written by April Moss, whose son scripts the floundering series.

While on a fishing trip together, Daniel Thorn’s wife dies after a long illness. He just wants to burn all of his memories and remain reclusive, but then a killer crosses his path in an unconventional way, and he has no choice but to join forces with a young policewoman to find the killer before the next episode of Miami Ops airs. They have just one week.

All of the actors involved with the series come under suspicion—especially the female lead, who will do anything to ensure that the series goes on, thereby securing her future as an actress.

Just when you start to think that no new plotlines exist, author James W. Hall comes up with an inventive new way to commit murder. With plenty of suspects to keep you guessing, Dead Last will reel you in and refuse to let go. Filled with shocking surprises, the plot twists and turns, leaving readers breathless with its intensity. Just when you believe you’ve got it all figured out, guess again!

Parts of Daniel Thorn’s character remain a mystery throughout the novel; hints of a shady past come to light, but the details are never elaborated, which served to make me a bit curious. Otherwise, he’s an ordinary character—the kind that anyone can relate to in a world that can sometimes be cruel. My favorite character, though, was April Moss’s mother, a sarcasm-slinging woman who had me laughing out loud more than once.

Lyrical prose and a suspenseful pace bring out the story in a most entertaining and absorbing way, making Dead Last a memorable and intelligent crime novel. It gets in there and digs down deep, opening up the darkest regions of a character’s heart—both the good and the bad.

Blending emotion, thrills, and a pinch of psychosis, Dead Last isn’t a novel you’re going to want to pass up. So race over to your favorite bookstore outlet and add this one to your shopping cart.

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