cover image The Last One Home

The Last One Home

Victoria Helen Stone. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (332p) ISBN 978-1-5420-1442

After Lauren Abrams, the protagonist of this unsettling psychological thriller from Stone (False Step), breaks up with her boyfriend in L.A., she returns home to Sacramento, Calif., where her 90-year-old paternal grandmother is in the hospital recovering from a stroke. When her grandmother offers to sell Lauren the family ranch outside the city, she accepts. While renovating the ranch house, Lauren receives a letter from serial killer Bobby Edward Kepnick regarding a murder for which her father, Michael, was imprisoned for 10 years decades ago. Kepnick’s confession to the murder led to Michael’s release. Lauren remains estranged from her mother, Donna, whose testimony helped convict her father. Flashbacks beginning in 1985 chart the fraught relationship between Donna and Michael. As Lauren digs deeper into her family’s history, she uncovers things that leave her questioning everything she thought she knew about her father’s family. Stone gradually reveals her multifaceted characters’ secrets as the intricate, fast-paced plot builds to a surprising conclusion. Fans of dark, twisted tales of dysfunctional families will be satisfied. [em]Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, Meridian Artists. (Mar.) [/em]