The Only One Left

Dutton. Jun. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780593183229. $28. THRILLER
It’s been 54 years since Lenora, bloody and screaming, was found at Hope’s End mansion. Her parents slaughtered, her sister hanging. No one knows what happened, and Lenora isn’t talking. Flash forward to the ’80s: Kit is fresh off a scandal of her own, in desperate need of a job. When her employer comes back with a last-chance offer as a caretaker, there are strings attached. The client is Lenora, now elderly, paralyzed, and unable to speak. And Lenora’s previous caretaker? Disappeared. Can Kit work for a woman who may or may not be a murderer? Or will she give up everything, resigned to living with her father? Almost immediately, the tense atmosphere steadily, if slowly, builds, soon bringing a palpable sense of unease. The crumbling, gothic setting heightens Kit’s urgency to find the truth about Lenora, even as her own scandal slowly comes to light. Interspersed within the story is Lenora’s painstakingly typed account of her family’s murders, teasing information to come. While readers may find the final reveal too coincidental for belief, even avid Sager (The House Across the Lake) fans are unlikely to see it coming.
VERDICT A solid addition to Sager’s oeuvre.
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