cover image The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me

Laura Dave. Simon & Schuster, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7134-5

In Dave’s suspenseful latest (after Hello Sunshine), a Bay Area woman copes with her husband’s sudden disappearance. Owen Michaels, a coder for a prominent tech company, vanishes just before his boss is arrested for corruption, leaving his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, over half a million dollars in cash. Bailey and her stepmother, Hannah Hall, aren’t close, but they work together to uncover what made Owen flee, convinced he is innocent. Still, Hannah remains uncertain, and after she remembers how a man claimed to have recognized Owen from high school in Austin, Tex., despite Owen having said he’s from the East Coast, Hannah and Bailey travel there in hopes of triggering Bailey’s early childhood memories. Bailey does remember Texas, though her memories don’t track with what Owen had told both of them. Meanwhile, a U.S. Marshal who’s familiar with Owen’s past encourages Hannah to cooperate as Hannah and Bailey find themselves in danger. The first two-thirds are riveting, with mysteries unspooled at a steady pace and believable stepfamily angst, but unfortunately the final act slips into some loopy turns. The author’s fans, though, won’t have a hard time forgiving the flaws. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (May)