I have a few tried and true tests that let me know if I am really enjoying a book.....like, if I actually end up running longer than I ever planned, or more often, just so I can read the book I have on my treadmill. Or, as was the case yesterday, I rushed through getting my lessons ready for VBS at church just so I could pull out the book I had hidden in my bag. Yes, I found all kinds of ways to sneak in a page or two of John Hart's newest book, The Last Child. Just like Hart's previous two books, this book is set in the South, is full of suspense, and kept me turning the pages until the very end. I think I reviewed Hart's first book, Down River, on the Des Moines Register book blog and equated him to John Grisham. I take that comparison back. I often find the endings in Grisham's books unsatisfying, which is not the case at all in any of Hart's books.
This latest story centers around Jonny Merriman, a thirteen year old boy whose twin sister went missing a year ago. Jonny is determined to find out who took his sister (and essentially life as he knew it since his father abandoned the family shortly thereafter and his mother is close to a breakdown) and ends up getting in the middle of some very dangerous things that are happening. Hart has a cast of characters, all with their own issues and secrets that he somehow is able to connect by book's end. The few paragraphs I could write to provide a synopsis would be inadequate. Hart's books are worth your time - enjoyable from beginning to end.