Title: The Last House Guest
Author: Megan Miranda
Published: July 1st 2019
Publisher: Atlantic -Allen & Unwin
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 3.5 stars
Never overstay your welcome …
Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.
Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before she’s branded a killer.
If you place your trust in the master of suspense, Megan Miranda, you will be issued with a riveting and lightning-fast mystery, according to bestselling author Mary Kubica. The Last House Guest is a tale of wealth, class distinctions, friendship, murder and menace. The hooking premise will reel you in from the start, as you negotiate a series of clever twists and turns.
Based in the small coastal town of Littleport, Maine, The Last House Guest highlights a town divided. A popular spot for affluent holidaymakers, the Littleport local community struggles to make an alliance with these vacationers. Two women have defied these odds when they forge a friendship that surpasses the holidaymaker and local resident divide. Year after year, the friendship between Avery and Sadie is strengthened. But things come to a head when Sadie is found dead. While the authorities rule Sadie’s death as suicide, others believe Sadie’s death is definitely suspicious. The blame is shifted to Avery, who must do everything she can to ensure her reputation is not blemished and at the same time, find out what really happened to Sadie.
Megan Miranda won me over when she released All the Missing Girls, a book I recommend highly to thriller and mystery fans. The Last House Guest got off to a very promising start. The opening piece titled ‘The Plus-One Party’ really set the mood for the unfolding story. I was definitely intrigued and I liked the use of the split timeline style of narrative. The Last House Guest moves between the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2018 respectively, to slowly unfurl this puzzling narrative.
The Last House Guest situates itself very well in the central locale, a sleepy coastal town based in Maine. I have never had the pleasure of visiting this part of the world, but Megan Miranda takes care of things in this department. As a result, I developed a strong visual feel for the town of Littleport, its little quirks and the townsfolk that populate this locale. The setting is one of the highlights of this novel, helping to extend on the rocky atmosphere that pervades the bulk of The Last House Guest.
Megan Miranda is adept in the characterisation department. Miranda draws a clear caricature of her lead, Avery, and the victim of the story, Sadie. She also extends this heavy grip on her characters to the support cast. Due to the nature of the characters and the story, it was hard to develop a liking to these protagonists and I did feel like many were just too entitled for me to care about their preoccupations!
In terms of the central mystery around Sadie’s death, in typical Megan Miranda style I was never quite sure where I stood in the department and what to expect. There were a handful of twists, turns, deflections and moments where I was bamboozled. I wasn’t able to guess the final outcome, which I welcomed. I will say that after reading All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, The Last House Guest didn’t have quite the same pull as its predecessor, but it still provided an evening of entertainment for this reader.
The Last House Guest is an enticing mystery novel that puts the spotlight on class differences, long standing friendships, innuendo, secrets and conflicts. The Last House Guest is one that will keep thriller and suspense fans content.
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda was published on 1st July 2019 by Atlantic – Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Last House Guest, Megan Miranda, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.