The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
On their houseboat in Sausalito, California, Hannah receives a cryptic note from her husband Owen. All it says is “Protect her”. Her 16-year-old stepdaughter Bailey gets a longer note and a duffle bag full of money in her locker before Owen vanishes. Owen is a coder for The Shop, a technology firm. On the news, Hannah learns that Owen’s boss has been arrested for financial fraud.
Hannah is a talented and successful woodturner, crafting tables and other furniture, but struggles to connect with Bailey, who lost her mother when she was little. Hannah knows how important Bailey is to Owen, and they travel to Texas to follow up on some clues. The story goes back and forth a couple years in time, to show how Owen and Hannah met and fell in love, before Hannah realizes she knows very few facts about Owen’s past.
This is the fifth novel and first thriller by Laura Dave. I enjoyed Eight Hundred Grapes, so I thought I’d try her new bestseller. This was not the suspense book I was expecting, although it definitely lives up to the hype. The compelling story is intricately plotted, and I guessed wrong on a couple of plot twists, but this is primarily a book about relationships and priorities, focusing on resilient, quick-thinking Hannah and how her relationships with Owen and Bailey develop. Readalikes include The Expats by Chris Pavone, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown.