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About The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets

Marian Engström has found her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta, where she falls in love with her mentor, the daring and brilliant Tate. After they’re separated from each other on another assignment, Marian is shattered to learn of Tate’s tragic death. Worse still is the aftermath in which Marian discovers disturbing inconsistencies about Tate’s life, and begins to wonder if the man she loved could have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.

Hoping to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.…

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Review of The Last Woman in the Forest

My first review impressions of The Last Women in the Forest: Great story. Creepy. Hindsight. What do we overlook in the people we love?

Before I go on, there may or may not be spoilers in this review. This book is difficult to review without revealing a few things. Though I think the book blurb does automatically lead to you suspect Tate. And not far into the book, when Marion contacts Nick, the forensic profiler, you know that she suspects Tate. So, because of the way the story was laid out, there were no surprises. Any reader of suspense will anticipate many of the events up to and including the ending. At a certain point in the story (about one-half to two-thirds), I just want to be done to see if I was right. I was.

Before that point, I admired the detail presented from Marian’s viewpoint and from Nick Shepard’s viewpoint. Each had their own perspective. Marian as Tate’s former girlfriend, and Nick as a profiler who has studied the victims and perpetrator of the Stillwater murders for years. Marian loved Tate, but there was something about him that made her begin to doubt Tate. That prompted her to contact Nick. This makes my skin itch with suspicion. I think the author intended that way. Every time a suspicious Tate incident is described, the reader nods her head thinking, yep, bad guy. Even though Marian does not realize it. She loves him and is therefore prone to believe his excuses and even to make excuses for him. Her co-worker, Jenness, repeatedly warned Marian to be careful, but Marian ignored her.

It is Nick’s descriptions of the perpetrator that drive home the creepy tendencies of this serial murderer. Manipulative with a capital ‘M’. That is what I take from this. And that is exactly what Tate was – manipulative.

I give The Last Woman in the Forest 4 stars, losing one star for predictability. I anticipated the last two victims way too early. Maybe I was supposed to. I’m not sure. I prefer not to know how it will end. The discovery of the bad guy is irrelevant, as long as he is discovered. Everything up to that point is better if it is a surprise.

The review quote on the cover from Fiona Barton said “Beautifully paced and twisty.” Yes, to beautifully paced and yes to twisty. But not twisty as in unexpected turns in the plot. Twisty because serial killers are twisted.

I won an advance copy of this book in a contest. Thanks to Berkley Publishing for that contest.

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