Author Laura Dave takes a detour from romantic fiction with powerhouse domestic thriller “The Last Thing He Told Me.”

It follows Anna Hall, a successful furniture designer who has a wonderful marriage, a houseboat on the water and a pool of high-powered clientele. It all collapses when her husband’s firm is raided by the FBI. The only word from Owen is a Post-It note.

Soon, she and her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Bailey, try to reconcile Owen’s loss while they hunt for answers to why he ran, where he is, and if he’s coming back.

The pacing is phenomenal — I tore through this in three days — and Dave expertly bounces from flashback to present, offering just enough to reel you in further.

Even as Anna and Bailey are forced to question their life with Owen, they must further rely on their reality and memory to trace his mysterious past.

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It’s super affirming to read about a female protagonist embarking on this journey of digging deeper inside, and a bit on the outside, to solve a mystery.

Dave had the idea for this book in 2003, and after birthing her son in 2012, she started writing it.

“Becoming a hero for a child, that’s the primal journey of someone becoming a mother,” Dave said in an interview with Carol Fitzgerald.

And Anna Hall embodies a new brand of hero for her stepdaughter and a new brand of hero for herself.

I highly recommend.

Title: “The Last Thing He Told Me”

Author: Laura Dave

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320

Melinda Lavine is a features reporter for the News Tribune. Write to her at mlavine@duluthnews.com.
Melinda Lavine is a features reporter for the News Tribune. Write to her at mlavine@duluthnews.com.