Last Girls Alive

A totally addictive crime thriller and mystery novel (Detective Katie Scott Book 4)

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
342 Pages
Reviewed on 03/27/2021
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Author Biography

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. www.authorjenniferchase.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Last Girls Alive is the fourth book in the Detective Katie Scott series by Jennifer Chase, a totally addictive crime thriller and mystery novel that will appeal to fans of sleuthing and crime. The body of a beautiful girl is discovered, half-buried in the area where the former children’s home in Pine Hill Valley used to be. When Detective Katie Scott arrives on the scene, she is shocked — the victim is not Candace Harlan as she had suspected. What is more disturbing is the tattoo etched on her skin of a hunter hunting his prey. The next day, another body turns up by the creek with a similar tattoo on her skin. It becomes evident that someone is targeting the girls of Elm Hill who are still alive. Katie Scott's investigation takes her on a path to uncover the history of the run-down home for lost girls and those connected to it, including workers. But it gets even more complicated with every step she takes, with bodies piling up. Can she solve the mystery before more innocent girls are killed?

Jennifer Chase’s novel is the perfect portrait of a criminal mind and she has written a protagonist that is passionate about her work and intelligent but is deeply flawed as well, and this makes it easier for readers to connect to her. Katie has lost loved ones before and she still suffers from the trauma, and the author is able to translate her inner pain in a way that is vivid. The author’s writing is crisp, captivating, and she has the gift of bringing strong emotions to life. It is hard to draw a full breath while reading Last Girls Alive. The unbelievably twisty nature of the plot and its unpredictability will have any reader racing through the pages. I haven’t read any book in this series, and now I will have to read the complete collection. This is one of the rare crime books that I utterly fell in love with, thanks to the excellent writing, the compelling characters, and the strong plot. It is as disturbing as it is exciting, a real-page-turner.

Viga Boland

“I actually had goosebumps writing the last few chapters,” states author Jennifer Chase in reference to Book 5 (coming soon) of the Detective Katie Scott series. Well, while readers await that release, they will feel goosebumps rising as they follow Katie's latest pursuit of one nasty serial killer, the “hunter/gatherer" in Book 4, Last Girls Alive. Of course, like so many predators, this killer too had been horribly abused by a parent. You’ll get fascinating insights into his past when he reflects in italicized short chapters. But you’ll not suspect his identity until Katie figures it out close to the end. In the meantime, the mutilated bodies of a few young women, former residents of an abandoned foster care mansion begin turning up. Bit by bit, Katie, who specializes in cold cases, uncovers his identity but not before she and her partner come close to being buried alive themselves while locked inside a metal container. Talk about goosebumps!

One of the best things about Jennifer Chase’s books, at least for me, is her ability to move her plot along quickly through exciting and realistic dialogue with just the right amount of descriptive narrative. No wonder her novels are impossible to put down. But what is really impressive about Chase’s stories is her skill in helping us identify with her protagonist. As a female, Katie is warm and loving; as a detective, she is competent and knowledgeable; but, above all, as a human being like all of us, she is subject to doubt and anxiety. She is forever fighting herself to overcome her weaknesses. How can we not relate? Before or after you start Last Girls Alive, you might enjoy a visit to the author’s website. Well worth your time! While you’re there, you can also pre-order her new goosebumpy novel mentioned above: The Fragile Ones.

Susan Sewell

The corpse of a young woman leads investigators to uncover horrifying secrets hidden behind the walls of a closed-down foster home in the fascinating suspense novel, Last Girls Alive: A Totally Addictive Crime Thriller and Mystery Novel (Detective Katie Scott Book 4) by Jennifer Chase. During the demolition of the former girl's home, Elm Hill Manor, the body of a young woman is discovered at the site. The next day, the remains of another previous inmate of the foster home are found. Assigned to the case, Detective Katie Scott and her partner Deputy Sean McGaven uncover some disturbing incidents that occurred while the young women were in the state's care. Also, an elusive man named Ray keeps cropping up, but none of the surviving women will reveal his identity. In addition, both of the deceased women have identical cryptic words engraved into their skin. Are all of these points connected, or are they random? Why is the killer specifically targeting the former inmates from Elm Hill Manor?

Filled with intrigue, Last Girls Alive by Jennifer Chase is a suspenseful murder mystery. With a heart-rending plot, exciting scenes, and relatable characters, the story is captivating and unforgettable. The villain's character is obscure and hidden until the denouement. His history stands out from the rest of the characters, as his musings are the only sections of the story told in the first person. Although this is the fourth book in the series, it does very well as a stand-alone. I never got lost or confused. However, Katie's background occasionally breaks into the storyline, indicating there is more to her history. Containing dramatic and heartbreaking conflicts, it is an intriguing suspense novel that will delight everyone who enjoys murder mysteries with human interest.

Jose Cornelio

Last Girls Alive by Jennifer Chase is an entrancing mix of thriller, sleuth, and mystery and the fourth book in the Detective Katie Scott series. The story starts with Candice Harlan running away from Elm Hill Mansion. Five years later, a body of a young girl is discovered, buried in the grounds of Elm Hill, an abandoned manor that was once a home for children. Detective Katie Scott, who worked the cold case of Candace, is hopeful that the murdered girl might be Candace. But she is shocked when it turns out to be someone else, and what is more worrisome is the symbolic message left on the body of the victim in the form of a tattoo. When another body of a girl from Elm Hill turns up the next day with a similar tattoo, Katie is sure she is dealing with a murderer whose work is just beginning. Racing against time, she has to find the killer before more bodies turn up. With people linked to Elm Hill not so cooperative, Katie will need better resources if she can save the last girls alive.

This is a mesmerizing novel that can be read on its own. From the start of the narrative, I was gripped by the writing. The separation between Candace and Tanis, with the promise of love and of returning to each other, was captivating. It offered the premise on which the conflict is created and the symbolic character of Elm Hill Manor, built in 1895 but left abandoned for the last two years after Candace ran away. The relationships between the characters are something this author writes masterfully, exploring emotions to their finer details and allowing the humanity of the characters to be grasped easily by the reader. The involvement of Detective Katie in Candace’s case is a strong plot element that places her naturally in the heart of the conflict. The protagonist is not a superheroine and that makes her likable. She has also suffered the loss of her parents, and it is natural for her to feel, at times, depressed and haunted by despair. I couldn’t take my eyes off Katie as she investigates the murders and follows a tortuous path towards an explosive ending. Last Girls Alive is well-paced, brimming with drama and suspense, a perfect read for fans of crime fiction.

Joy Hannabass

At one time, Elm Hill Mansion in Pine Valley, California was a beautiful mansion where families lived but it was later donated as a children's home in the area. Now it is a crime scene. Detective Katie Scott believes the young girl buried on the grounds of the property was a former resident who ran away from the home; Candace Harlan. The next day another young girl is found, and with the similarities to the girl found the day before, Katie thinks the deaths are connected. Could someone be picking off the last six girls who lived in the mansion? And what was their motive? Last Girls Alive, a totally addictive crime thriller and mystery novel by Jennifer Chase has all the answers. This amazing thriller will take you on a wild ride as you follow Katie and her partner, McGaven, searching for the person who took these young girls' lives.

This is one amazing read. Jennifer Chase does a tremendous job of creating characters that play their parts so well, and I enjoyed watching each one develop as the story unfolds. Katie and McGaven work well together as partners and truly have each other's backs. I enjoyed each character's part in solving the case. I enjoyed Katie and Chad, but I do wish there had been more romance between them to make the story more interesting. Meanwhile, there is a lot going on in this story, and tensions are flying high as Katie and McGaven chase the leads they find. And I can't leave out Cisco. I love that very smart dog and the sweet relationship between Katie and Cisco. Last Girls Alive is a nail-biting thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you enjoy thrillers such as this, I encourage you to give this book a try. I hope you enjoy Last Girls Alive as much as I did.

Amelia

I like her books but the formulaic endings are getting boring, she goes off alone, encounters the killer, there’s a physical altercation. Was hoping the third book had more of an unraveling. Won’t be reading any more of the series.