When it comes to dependable writers, Lisa Unger is very near the top of the list. While it is impossible to predict what she will write next, readers can always count on it being a gripping narrative with complex characters and plenty of unexpected developments. Her latest, Last Girl Ghosted, is a dark story recounting a tale of online-dating gone bad interwoven with larger concepts such as guilt, fear, and responsibility.
With her job as an advice columnist, Wren is used to helping other people solve their problems – both big and small – but she is less successful at taking her own advice. When her best friend Jax creates a profile for her on the hottest new dating app, she is beyond skeptical. That is until she meets Adam.
Wren and Adam feel a connection immediately and as they continue to date, this bond only becomes stronger. With Adam, Wren is able to forget about her own traumatic past and instead focus on the brighter tomorrows. Adam seems almost too good to be true. Wren feels so comfortable that one night she shares with Adam her most intimate secret. And the next day Adam is gone.
Shortly afterward, Wren is approached by Bailey Kirk – a private investigator researching the history of a man connected to other women on the same dating app that Wren used. These women are missing and the person responsible seems to be “Adam” under a host of different names.
Since this is a Lisa Unger novel, readers should know that this is just the beginning of a twisted story. The structure of this novel is unique in that Unger waits until later in the novel to weave Wren’s past into the narrative. The success of this technique will depend on each individual reader, but the information imparted is vital to the developing plotline.
The way Lisa Unger incorporates the worldwide Covid pandemic is nothing short of inspired. By using the developing impact of this global incident as a backdrop for the actual mystery, Unger ratchets up the tension. Many authors would have been more heavy-handed in this approach, but instead, Lisa Unger allows each reader’s own experience with the pandemic – and the knowledge of the eventual outcome – to elevate anxiety and intermingle with what is happening with Wren, Adam, and Bailey on the written page.
Long time fans of Lisa Unger’s work will be please to see she is able to incorporate her most popular setting – The Hollows – into this work as well. This is an author who is not given enough credit for the clever ways she manages to connect her standalone novels together without ever losing the autonomy of each novel.
Last Girl Ghosted is a dark novel. The subject matter and plot developments feel so authentic that some readers will find themselves hyperventilating. Lisa Unger never goes for gratuitous violence or manufactured shocks, but she also never pulls punches in terms of the emotional toll she is willing to put her readers through. However, the conclusion is cathartic, making Last Girl Ghosted another must-read from this talented author.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.