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Extended Audio Sample The Last Child: A Novel Audiobook, 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: May 2009 ISBN: 9781427206671
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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

  • 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 modifcations of pace, tone, and degree of soft Carolina drawl. This is a difficult story to listen to - but an impossible story to put down. AudioFile
  • “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)

  • “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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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)

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

    Library Journal (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

  • 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
  • Nominated for Anthony Awards - Nominee, 2010
  • Winner of Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 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 Becky | 1/2/2014

    " Hart is a fine, fine writer "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/19/2013

    " i loved it! It was a great read. Towards the end, i never would've seen it coming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/12/2013

    " I don't give five stars very often but this book was so intriguing, so full of twists and turns, great characters that I just had to give it 5. Just when you thought the mystery was about to be solved, another element is introduced. It's hard to put down. Don't read late at night unless you don't care to sleep. I look forward reading more John Hart novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marissa Ramos | 12/11/2013

    " AMAZING book. I just put it down. It kept you guessing till the very end. It had many different story lines going on at once and many different characters but they all come together in the end to make an amazing book. This is the first book I read by John Hart and I'm glad I picked this one. It was a story of loss and great sadness, making an impact on the way you think of the world around you. I would definitely read more by John Hart. If anyone is looking for a great mystery with many twists and turns I highly recommend this book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth Whitehouse | 12/10/2013

    " On the whole, it was ok. Very slow start though. I don't think it needed to be anywhere near as long as it was, but it kept me intrigued enough to keep going. The last 60 pages or so were great, it just took SO LONG to get there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allie | 11/27/2013

    " In the vein of Grisham and other "thriller" writers. Interesting setting - NC - very familiar culture and setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Djclare17gmail.com | 11/6/2013

    " Ahh, a new author! Good mystery; engaging characters; came together beautifully. Just downloaded another of his, and can't wait to get at it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 11/1/2013

    " Great read. I enjoyed everything about this otherwise morbid story. Although the result should be sad, that is not the feeling you are left with. Very entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia Bunn | 10/29/2013

    " This was a book club selection that I did not think I would read because of the story content. However, I absolutely enjoyed the book and found the story to be very well written, in spite of the content. A lot of twists that I did not expect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 10/26/2013

    " I liked the writing style. It felt elemental and rich at the same time. Storyline was part mystery, part human character assessment. I was constantly reading fast because of the mystery, then slowing down and rereading sections because I liked the prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryjo | 9/9/2013

    " Excellent book with lots of twists to the story line that kept me wondering. I will probably read more books written by John Hart. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 7/13/2013

    " A total page turner and if you think you know who done it, think again. The "good" characters are very human, sympathetically drawn and flawed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Randall | 6/23/2013

    " I bought this book from iBooks, on sale, and really didn't expect much. Man, was I surprised! It is very intense, and so well written it's impossible not to feel this little boy's pain. It is not a fun book, and not a light read. It really makes you think and feel, but it is a wonderful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie Conlon | 5/28/2013

    " One of my all-time favorites. One of the reviews said "Lord of the Flies meets Huckleberry Finn" and I thought that was a great description. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 5/21/2013

    " This one kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through! I have a small gripe about one aspect of the closing chapters, but it's not enough to keep me from giving it high rating. I'll definitely look for more of Hart's books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurene | 3/4/2013

    " Could not put this book down until I read the last page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 2/23/2013

    " This is the first book I read by John Hart. Excellent writer - excellent book. The young boy was very precocious, keeping you glued to every move he made. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn B | 5/17/2012

    " Excellent read - starts out slow. Very good distractions from the subtle twists and turns of the mystery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marion | 5/5/2012

    " Great book about a boy who just wont give up "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 3/16/2012

    " Fabulous, can't wait to read more from him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne W | 8/18/2011

    " Loved it...never saw the ending coming! Lots of twists...one that I could not put down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 8/16/2011

    " Read it! You won't be sorry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerrie | 7/21/2011

    " Another great book by john hart! I originally wanted to read this book following Down River as that book was one of my favorites. I dont think this book is comparable but it is very good in its own way. The book was a quick read for me taking maybe 2 days to finish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 5/22/2011

    " A year after the abduction & disappearance of a 12 year old girl, her twin brother and the detective assigned to the case are still looking for her. Then another girl disappears.

    Great read. ? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 5/19/2011

    " Good mystery, lots of surprises. It took a little while to get moving, but I wasn't surprised, since that was mentioned in a review that I read. Once it got rolling, though, it was a compelling read. I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristy | 5/18/2011

    " This was a great suspense/mystery. I couldn't put it down and have to admit that I was surprised by the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Djclare17gmail.com | 5/17/2011

    " Ahh, a new author! Good mystery; engaging characters; came together beautifully. Just downloaded another of his, and can't wait to get at it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 5/13/2011

    " This one kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through! I have a small gripe about one aspect of the closing chapters, but it's not enough to keep me from giving it high rating. I'll definitely look for more of Hart's books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/12/2011

    " gripping, a bit creepy, great characters, slightly unsatisfying ending, but good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 5/11/2011

    " A crime/thriller, which is a genre I LOVE. This one had lots of fun twists and turns, creepy characters, and not too much gore. A good one for ANYONE who likes this genre. Looking forward to reading his other books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/11/2011

    " Excellent story. Just when I thought I had figured out who the villian was the story took a turn and my original deduction was way off. Highly recommend this book.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 5/10/2011

    " Fantastic mystery, keeps you guessing until the conclusion. Also is a fast-paced page turner! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffany | 5/10/2011

    " Great pick Kiersten! I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lacey | 5/9/2011

    " Thought this was a great book and finished it in a weekend. Loved the ending especially. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chrsity | 5/7/2011

    " If anybody wants a great summer read that captures you from page one....this is it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lac | 5/7/2011

    " Overall a good book. This was my first time reading this Author. Good mystery that keep me guessing until the end. Complex friendships, loss and forgiveness are all themes in this novel. "

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About the Author
Author John Hart

John Hart is the author of several New York Times bestsellers. He is the only author in history to win the Edgar Award for Best Novel consecutively, and he has also won the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His novels have been translated into thirty languages and can be found in more than seventy countries.

About the Narrator

Scott Sowers is an actor and audiobook narrator. AudioFile magazine named him the 2008 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense. He is the winner of seven Earphones Awards.