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Extended Audio Sample The Last Child: A Novel, by John Hart Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (11,753 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Hart Narrator: Scott Sowers Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Fresh off the success of his Edgar® Award-winning, New York Times bestseller Down River, John Hart returns with his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet.

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search. What he finds is a city with an underbelly far blacker than anyone could’ve imagined—and somewhere in the depths of it all, with the help of his only friend and a giant of a man with his own strange past, Johnny, at last, finds the terrible truth.

Detective Clyde Hunt has devoted an entire year to Alyssa’s case, and it shows: haunted and sleepless, he’s lost his wife and put his shield at risk. But he can’t put the case behind him—he won’t—and when another girl goes missing, the failures of the past year harden into iron determination. Refusing to lose another child, Hunt knows he has to break the rules to make the case; and maybe, just maybe, the missing girl will lead him to Alyssa…

The Last Child is a tale of boundaries: county borders and circles on a map, the hard edge between good and evil, life and death, hopelessness and faith. Perfectly blending character and plot, emotion and action, John Hart again transcends the barrier between thrillers and literature to craft a story as heartrending as it is redemptive.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With his best novel yet, the Edgar Award-winning Hart firmly cements his place alongside the greats of the genre.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “John Hart’s The Last Child is a rare accomplishment—a compelling, fast-paced thriller written with a masterful, literary touch. You’ll feel this story as much in your heart as in your gut.”

    Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bodies Left Behind

  • “Hart spins an impressively layered tale of broken families and secrets that can kill.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The scenes and characters are so powerful on their own that [Scott Sowers’s] understated presentation is highly effective. He still manages to give the characters depth and distinction with subtle modifications of pace, tone, and degree of soft Carolina drawl. This is a difficult story to listen to—but an impossible story to put down.”


  • “In his third novel, Edgar-winner Hart confronts murder, depravity, betrayal, and the like, while still finding room for tenderness.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Hart once again produces a novel that is elegant, haunting, and memorable. His characters are given an emotional depth that genre characters seldom have, and the graceful, evocative prose lifts his stories right out of their genre and into the realm of capital-L literature. A must-read for every variety of fiction reader.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Hart artfully employs the pattern of a whodunit to lead the reader down a twisted, thrilling path. What lies at the end, though, is wholly unexpected. There is no easy solution to this story, as we are asked to contemplate the senselessness of fate and the sacrifices some people are willing to make for their families. With the deft characterization of any good work of literary fiction and the subtle, satisfying plotting of a favorite mystery, The Last Child brings readers deep into the pathos of a small North Carolina community. This page turner will stay in your mind long after you’ve read the final page.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “The missing-child story has been done so often that it takes something extraordinary to make it rise above the commonplace. And that is what John Hart has accomplished in his third novel, The Last Child. In the end, this is a novel about blood—the blood of life and death, the blood of kin, the blood of the past. And Hart has again brought forth a mystery/thriller that surpasses the humdrum and rises to serious literature.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “Hart is still far too young for The Last Child to be called a crowning achievement, but the novel’s ambition, emotional breadth and maturity make it an early masterpiece in a career that continues to promise great things.”

    Washington Post

  • “John Hart is already much praised, but his third and most complex psychological thriller is a risk which has paid off with that same unshakeable sense of discovery. The risk lay in the rarely attempted feat of writing a convincing child hero for adults. His success injects extra poignancy into an already compelling blend of southern gothic mock-epic, outright horror, and dues-paying whodunnit. This one stays with you.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • Selected for the May 2009 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2010 Barry Award for Best Novel
  • A 2010 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2009 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Renee | 2/16/2014

    " Another good mystery by John Hart. A story not just mystery but relationships as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Julie | 2/14/2014

    " There is some rough language in it, but I really like the book. Couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Debi | 1/15/2014

    " What a great book.... there were times when I couldn't stop reading it! Stories like this don't come often.... Definitely a keeper on my bookshelf! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Becky | 1/2/2014

    " Hart is a fine, fine writer "

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