STARRED REVIEW
July 02, 2016

Finding what was lost

By Jane Haseldine

Imagine the guilt and fear you would have to live with if, while you slept, your sibling were abducted from your shared bedroom. Protagonist Julia Gooden has lived with those feelings for 30 years. She was only 7 when her brother was kidnapped, and can’t remember anything from that night other than not locking the outside door because she didn’t want her brother to think she was a baby.

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Imagine the guilt and fear you would have to live with if, while you slept, your sibling were abducted from your shared bedroom. Protagonist Julia Gooden has lived with those feelings for 30 years. She was only 7 when her brother was kidnapped, and can’t remember anything from that night other than not locking the outside door because she didn’t want her brother to think she was a baby. The daughter of an alcoholic mother and a grifter father, she lost her only anchor with her brother’s snatching.

Now a crime beat reporter, Julia calls the investigating officer on the anniversary of her brother’s unsolved disappearance to see if anything has surfaced. He responds kindly, showing his concern for her mental health, but has no new leads. Obsessive and fearful, Julia is abnormally overprotective of her own children, ages 2 and 9, and her marriage is strained to its breaking point.

The horrific kidnapping of Julia’s 2-year-old reignites her feelings of helplessness. But this time, Julia doesn’t give up; as a journalist, she is in a position to investigate her son’s situation. Her emotions are running high as she tries to determine if the kidnapping of her child is related to her brother’s, or if it’s merely a random, unfair coincidence. While many facts makes a plausible case the kidnappings are connected, there is enough mystery and second-guessing in The Last Time She Saw Him to satisfy diehard suspense readers.

Journalist Jane Haseldine’s debut novel rings with authenticity as she, like Julia, is a former crime reporter. This is a harrowing read.

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The Last Time She Saw Him

The Last Time She Saw Him

By Jane Haseldine
Kensington
ISBN 9781496704054

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