Prather’s Pick: ‘One Last Breath’ a mystery with a twist
This week’s suspense-filled novel was written by bestselling authors Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush. The authors, who are sisters, have written several standalone novels on their own, but they teamed up for this newest (2018) book. “One Last Breath” is published by Kensington Books, and it has a not-to-be-expected ending.
The plot begins on Rory’s wedding day. The redheaded beauty is dressed in a designer wedding gown, waiting for Aaron, her stepbrother, to walk her down the aisle in the hotel garden. The problem is she’s a little late. Husband (they have been married for two months) Lian nervously shifts from one foot to the other.
The reason for the wedding is “all for show,” planned at the insistence of Lian’s mother, Stella. (Even Lian doesn’t know Rory is pregnant.) It’s the event of the season, funded by Bastian money, and most of the guests are Bastian family and friends. Rory’s mother, Darlene, who is also matron of honor, and Aaron are the only people from Rory’s side. Geoff, Lian’s father, does not approve of Rory, thinking of her as a “no-class, no-nothing girl.”
So, the guests move around nervously. The organist waits to play the wedding march. The preacher stands with an opened Bible in his hands. Derek, best man and Lian’s half-brother, wonders if he shouldn’t g check on Rory, but Lian tells him to wait.
Meanwhile, Rory waits for Aaron. That’s who she’s expecting when there’s a knock on the door, but all she sees when she opens the door is a huge bouquet of white, black, and silver helium-filled balloons. When she whacks the balloons she finds a man in a ski mask behind them. He threatens Rory and says he will kill the baby. Rory wonders at this, because nobody knows about the pregnancy.
The mystery man has a knife, but Rory is too quick for him. After a struggle, she takes the knife and plunges it into his ring finger. His blood is everywhere, even on her gown, and her veil is ripped. After a struggle with her assailant, Rory runs to the hotel’s overnight parking garage and gets away.
Attention turns to the garden, where the guests are waiting. Shots are fired, and there’s bedlam. People scream and try frantically to get away. Aaron is shot and killed. Geoff Bastian and some guests are injured. Even Lian is injured.
Of course, there is an investigation, but the shooter isn’t found. Rory isn’t found, either. She changes her name to Heather Johnson, and her daughter, Charlotte, is 4 years old as the second part of the novel begins. Heather and Charlotte live in Point Roberts, Washington. Detective Mickelson, who worked with the police force at the time of the crime, is now a private investigator who has all kinds of theories about the wedding day happenings
Lian has been dating Bethany Van Horne, a woman the Bastians believe is suitable for their son. And then, one day, Lian spots Heather (Rory).
This is a “complicated” mystery, and the ending is quite unexpected.
You can find this book, with new books, at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries or you can purchase it for $27.95 in hardcover.