FICTION

The Last Dead Girl

Amy Einhorn: Putnam. Jan. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399157967. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698150676. F
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When 26-year-old David Malone stops to aid Jana Fletcher at an accident scene, his life changes dramatically. He spends ten days, and nights, with the mysterious young law student, and then she is brutally and ritualistically murdered. Naturally, he is a suspect but not yet charged. Jana had been passionately involved in the Innocence Project, seeking to free a local high school teacher convicted of killing his wife. David decides to pursue this case on her behalf. Through "interlude" chapters we learn about Jana's earlier harrowing ordeal, the anonymous killer's mind-set, and more murders.
VERDICT This is a more sober prequel to Dolan's humorous and witty Bad Things Happen, also featuring David Loogan né Malone. There is little connection between the two books except the author's skill with shocking twists, complex plotting, bizarre situations, and striking characters that keep the reader intrigued—and wary of dark places. With just three books (including Very Bad Men), Dolan is already a seasoned pro, worthy of high acclaim—and so is his protagonist.

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