Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Want a Rollercoaster Ride????


TITLE: The Last Word
AUTHOR: Taylor Adams
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUBLISHING DATE: April 25,2023
PAGES: 340   
SOURCE: Library


After posting a negative book review, a woman living in a remote location begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror from the critically acclaimed author of No Exit and Hairpin Bridge. 
Emma Carpenter lives in isolation with her golden retriever Laika, house-sitting an old beachfront home on the rainy Washington coast. Her only human contact is her enigmatic old neighbor, Deek, and (via text) the house’s owner, Jules. 
One day, she reads a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel by the author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that drags her into an online argument with none other than the author himself. Soon after, disturbing incidents start to occur at night. To Emma, this can’t just be a coincidence. It was strange enough for this author to bicker with her online about a lousy review; could he be stalking her, too?
As Emma digs into Kane’s life and work, she learns he has published sixteen other novels, all similarly sadistic tales of stalking and murder. But who is he? How did he find her? And what else is he capable of? 

MY THOUGHTS: I can't really remember back to when I read a more frustrating book!  Emma and her Golden Retriever, Laika are house-sitting on the Washington coast.  Emma is clearly running from something in her past and she is content to spend her days alone with only Laika and her books for company.  Although there is a reclusive neighbor whom Emma communicates with via notes back and forth on a white board with both parties using binoculars to read the messages.  One day, Emma downloads and reads a horror novel from a little-known author and leaves him a 1-star review.  This leads to an online argument with the author and eventually escalates to a game of cat and mouse where Emma has very few people to rely on.

First and foremost, the dog lives.  I had to look up that spoiler before I even started the book, but I will tell you, there were times reading when I felt like I had been lied to and that poor Laika was sure to meet her demise. Throughout the novel, the readers get some brief flashbacks from Emma which provide clues as to why she has basically shut herself off from the outside world, but the majority of the book is Emma trying to outsmart the disgruntled author.  

So up until about the last 15% of this book, I was pretty sure I myself would be providing a poor rating for The Last Word.  I felt such anxiety worrying about Laika, or Space Dog as Emma often refers to her, that I didn't think I could continue reading. I also found the book somewhat predictable at times, and at other times such a hot mess that it was hard to predict anything.  Then I reached the last 15% and my anticipated rating bounced around so much I felt like I was riding a rollercoaster.  It went from 2 stars, to 1 star, to a brief moment where I was contemplating 4 stars and even now, I'm not sure what to give it.  And overall, I'm not sure it really matters.  I'm not sure if Adams is the author for me though.  I really enjoyed No Exit, but this one and Hairpin Bridge kind of fell short for me. If you like thrillers with lots of twists and turns, this might be the one for you.


The BEST part of the whole book!


  1. As I was reading the description I was thinking "hot mess" lol. It's clearly a timely topic, but odd that someone would write a story about a woman leaving a one star review and then arguing with the author. It sounds more like something you would read on Twitter. But yay for the dog!

  2. At least the dog lives in this one! That does sound like the best part. ;D

  3. After reading your review, I feel like the that the dog lives is the most important part — I’m sorry this was so uneven, the blurb sounded like an exciting read. - Verushka at Pop. Edit Lit.

  4. Remember a few years back when that psycho author went to a book blogger's home because of a bad review? 😯

  5. I have had No Exit on my shelf for years. I do want to read that one but I will have to think about this one.