- Written By: Kimberly Belle
- Published By: Harlequin MIRA, September 30, 2014
- Length: 384 pages
- Source: E galley via Net Galley, permission by publisher in consideration of a review.
Summary: Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It’s the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia’s father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he’s come home to die of cancer, and she’s responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt.
Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town’s most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope.
As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated…
My Thoughts: As I began reading the Prologue to this book I was hooked, it was totally gripping and horrifying. Ella Mae was being murdered, and we the reader learn she knows her attacker.
The book is brilliantly told in the voice of Gia, the youngest daughter of Ella Mae and Ray, and in the third person view of her mother and what events lead up to her murder sixteen years in the past. Gia is the only one of her siblings that willingly comes to their childhood home when their father comes home. Their father who was convicted of killing their stepmother is now dying, and he’s been permitted to die at home. Along with her Uncle Gia awkwardly agrees to be with her father. A hospice nurse has been hired. The media and the angry protesters make for a less than idyllic scene.
Gia reaches out to her sister and brother, both in denial. In reality none of the siblings have really dealt with the murder, the conviction or how to now forgive their father, because they all believe he is guilty….but is he? The reader learns much more was going on with Ella Mae prior to her murder. What will Gia uncover? Will the truth give her the peace she seeks?
In an enjoyable aside Gia meets and begins a hot sexual liaison with a local restaurant owner. Jake isn’t a local to her hometown, but here he is, serving up unique food and drink, and looking fine. I will admit I didn’t see his role in the book for many chapters, but their trysts were a nice break from adultery, murder, and family turmoil. Well written Ms. Belle.
I enjoyed The Last Breath very much. It is such a good day when I find a new author who captures my attention. I look forward to much more from Kimberly Belle. You can follow her on twitter and facebook, and on her website.