ARC Review

The Last Word By Taylor Adams

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

After posting a negative book review, a woman living in a remote location begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror from the critically acclaimed author of No Exit and Hairpin Bridge.

Emma Carpenter lives in isolation with her golden retriever Laika, house-sitting an old beachfront home on the rainy Washington coast. Her only human contact is her enigmatic old neighbor, Deek, and (via text) the house’s owner, Jules.

One day, she reads a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel by the author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that drags her into an online argument with none other than the author himself. Soon after, disturbing incidents start to occur at night. To Emma, this can’t just be a coincidence. It was strange enough for this author to bicker with her online about a lousy review; could he be stalking her, too?

As Emma digs into Kane’s life and work, she learns he has published sixteen other novels, all similarly sadistic tales of stalking and murder. But who is he? How did he find her? And what else is he capable of?

ARC provided by William Morrow via NetGalley for an honest review.


This is probably going to be a very short review, because I am not sure I can talk about this book without spoiling it, but I am certainly going to give it a try. This is perhaps the best psychological thriller I have read in a long time. It has so many twists that it made my head spin!

Emma is the main character and she tells the bulk of the story. There are other points of view too, but she is the one that you are going to end up rooting for. Emma is an introvert with some issues, so she has decided to totally isolate herself at this beach house. But she is not without strengths. She is smart, and because she has read and seen quite a bit of horror, she knows how to deal with some of the situations that come up, nor does she make the same old tired and stupid mistakes. I really liked her and totally got where she was coming from and why she chose to just be by herself. Her tragic past is slowly revealed over the course of the book and you just end up hoping she will make it through. Plus you have to love someone who will risk everything for their dog.

Although there is some character development, mostly Emma’s, this is a heavily plot driven story. You really need to go into this knowing as little about the plot as possible, so I will try my best not to reveal too much. The main thing is not everyone’s narration is reliable, and at times it is hard to know who’s story to trust. There are lots of twists in this story and most I was only able to figure out right before they were revealed, and there were a couple that I totally did not see coming. The pacing is very fast, once you get past the first 50 or so pages, and it is really hard to put down.

I had one minor little issue with the formatting. There were a couple of times when the point of view switched, but it wasn’t quite clear who it switched to. Which actually made to story scarier, but I just kind of wished that the font was changed so that I knew the pov had changed. It was confusing at times.

If you are into psychological thrillers this is one you really need to add to your TBR. I have loved every book by this author, but I think this is one is by far my favorite. And let this be a cautionary tale to all you reviewers, be kind even when you don’t like the book!

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