by Michael Koryta
Ten years ago, Sarah Martin, a teenage girl from Garrison, Indiana disappeared inside a rural Indiana cave. Her boyfriend swore she was right behind him, but can’t recall what happened in the inky darkness and ultimately, only one teen emerged that day. No one is able to find her except for Ridley Barnes, a seasoned explorer who surfaced with her lifeless body a few days after the incident. Barnes has no memory of where or how he found her and everyone in the small town believes he’s responsible for her death. But with no evidence to prove his involvement, the Garrison police department has no choice but to release Barnes.
Markus Novak, a private investigator from Florida, is sent to re-open the case and see if he can solve the ten-year-old mystery of Sarah Martin’s death. He’s not particularly interested in a case that’s gone cold, but his job is on the line and if he can’t prove to his boss that he can work on something other than his own wife’s death, he’ll likely lose his job. But the people of Garrison seem to distrust Novak even more than Barnes and it’s not until Novak himself gets trapped in the cave that the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together.
Bloomington, Indiana and IU graduate Michael Koryta’s latest effort is a suspenseful and engrossing read that will appeal to fans crime mysteries. At the age of 32, Koryta’s storytelling abilities are impressive and his characters complex – the mystery is not easily solved which keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages to the very end. Most lose ends are neatly wrapped up with the exception of one subplot that sets up Koryta’s next novel (or possibly a new series) and continues the story of Markus Novak’s wife’s death – an intriguing mystery readers will want to see solved.
Hoosier natives will also enjoy the local setting and attempt to figure out where the events in the book are taking place.
With multiple New York Times Bestselling books already under his belt, Koryta isn’t a rising star – he has already arrived. Nine of his books have been optioned for film or television and his literary work has been praised by notable authors Stephen King, Harlan Coban and Lee Child.
One of the best mystery novels of 2015, Last Words should be at the top of your “To-Read” list.