cover image The Last

The Last

Hanna Jameson. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9882-3

Historian Jon Keller, the narrator of this engrossing postapocalyptic psychological thriller from British author Jameson (Something You Are), and a small group of others have decided to stay in place at L’Hotel Sixième, a Swiss hotel in “the middle of nowhere,” in response to reports of nuclear attacks devastating major cities in the U.S. and Europe. They have been surviving for nearly two months on the supplies left in the hotel when a young girl’s body turns up in a drinking water tank. Jon feels compelled to ferret out the killer while also documenting life in the hotel, processing the likely death of his family, and maintaining the alliances that will keep him sane and alive. The dialogue-heavy writing focuses as much on social interactions as on Jon’s mental state. Jameson asks powerful questions about fear, community, and self-interest while exploring human interactions that range wildly from the tender to the brutal to the purely mercenary. She succeeds in evoking a palpable, immanent sense of tension in a story that’s equal parts drama and locked-room murder mystery. Agent: Alexandra Cliff, Peters, Fraser & Dunlop (U.K.). (Apr.)