‘The Last Good Girl’ by Allison Leotta: Gripping crime novel

last good

Rating: 4 stars

In “The Last Good Girl,” Allison Leotta continues the story of Anna Curtis, an Assistant United States Attorney, who is in Michigan living with her sister, her sister’s newborn baby, and her boyfriend, Cooper. Back in Washington, DC are her job and her former fiancee and boss, Jack Bailey.

Leotta’s thrust in this fifth novel is about college rape; how prevalent it is and how much it is covered up. Women will be furious to read about how college girls who are raped are treated. True facts from the book include: 6% of young men commit 90% of rapes on campus; 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their college time; over 80% of rape victims don’t report it — making rape the most under-reported crime in America; men who join fraternities are 300% more likely to rape women than other college boys.

Emily is a college freshman who is raped her first week on campus by a very entitled, wealthy frat boy. She is not the first girl he has raped (with the help of drugged “punch” he serves his intended victims), and she won’t be the last. He is one of the 6% who will do this over and over until he is stopped.

Curtis becomes involved in the case when Emily disappears, and Dylan, the rapist, is the suspect. Of course, no one knows that he’s a rapist except Emily, and Leotta cleverly shares Emily’s point of view through transcripts of her vlogs (video blogs) over the course of her freshman year.

Curtis is drafted to work on the case and also works to help find Emily. Cooper, a veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan, also suffers from PTSD. He has a dog to help him, and he farms on the outskirts of Detroit. He gathers his community friends to help with the search. Curtis must choose between going back to Jack and his young daughter or staying with Cooper in Detroit. Jack means a life of comfort in DC with a beautiful house and a ready-made daughter, while Cooper is new and beginning his life of farming in the city.

The different story lines make the book a difficult one to put down. The characters are real and likable, the action exciting, and the dialogue authentic. While it’s certainly better to have read previous Anna Curtis books, this book can stand alone. This reviewer began the series with the second book without any loss of story line.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Touchstone, for review purposes.