ABOUT THE BOOK:
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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The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Last Woman in the Forest Diane Les Becquets is a 2019 Berkley publication.
A beautifully written, purely intellectual, psychological thriller!
Marian Engström works with rescue dogs to help protect endangered species. Stationed in Alberta, she falls in love with Tate, her mentor. However, her happiness is short-lived when Tate dies tragically.
Her grief soon turns to fear, as evidence surfaces that suggests Tate could be a serial killer. Torn between needing to know the truth and needing to believe Tate is the man she thought him to be, she seeks advice from retired Forensic Profiler, Nick Shepard.
Is it possible the man she loved was a murderer? Was Tate guilty?
I found the book to be very suspenseful, just not in the traditional way most thrillers are designed. In many ways this plot device reminded me of ‘The Pilot’s Wife’, where after a significant other becomes a possible suspect, scenes from the past suddenly develop new connotations. Memories surface in which the clues one should have picked up on, are either explained away, ignored, or passed by unnoticed. It’s an effective approach, if done with careful planning and in moderation.
Marian is looking back over her relationship with Tate, seeing things through a different lens, that of hindsight. No, this is not an action- packed nail biter, with loads of plot twists. It’s more subtle, cerebral, and psychological. Marian and Nick are both analyzing Tate- but from different angles. Nick is experienced, clinical, and is not as emotionally invested in the findings the way Marian is.
Marian, however, is relying on her personal experiences with Tate, looking at possible alternate suspects, while questioning her own judgment.
Adding to the story is the atmosphere that the landscape and vivid scenery provide. It’s invigorating, but very dangerous, and makes the perfect backdrop for this story. I was able to put myself in this environment, which helped me experience things the ways Marian did.
It was quite unnerving, to be honest. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes, thinking I had been close to such a cunning, cold blooded murderer, and might have narrowly escaped the same fate as Tate's alledged victims. I’d also want to find some evidence that my suspicions were wrong, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.
As Nick’s insights penetrate, so do questions about Nick, his health, his past, and his ability to read Tate. His findings are interesting, and as Marian's awakening slowly mounts, so does the suspense.
While I was busy thinking and rethinking all the angles, a huge turn of events in the last few chapters of the book took me completely off guard!!!
Once I finished the book and my pulse returned to normal, I had one more surprise in store, via the author’s note at the end. Be sure to read that note because it explains some things in the book, once again causing one to reflect on things in hindsight.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It is a different approach for a crime novel. . It is a very well-written book, and although the pace is a little slower than most thrillers, the payoff is worth your patience
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Diane Les Becquets is the author of the national bestselling novel BREAKING WILD, published by Berkley/Penguin Random House, which was the winner of the Colorado Book Award in general fiction and the New Hampshire Outstanding Fiction Award. The novel was also shortlisted for the Reading the West Book Award in fiction and was an Indie Next Pick. For more information, visit lesbecquets.com