Book Reviews

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda

Expected publication July 26, 2022 by Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books.

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda returns with a gripping and propulsive thriller that opens with the disappearance of a journalist who is investigating a string of vanishings in the resort town of Cutter’s Pass—will its dark secrets finally be revealed?

Ten years ago, Abigail Lovett fell into a job she loves, managing The Passage Inn, a cozy, upscale resort nestled in the North Carolina mountain town of Cutter’s Pass. Cutter’s Pass is best known for its outdoor offerings—rafting and hiking, with access to the Appalachian trail by way of a gorgeous waterfall—and its mysterious history. As the book begins, the string of unsolved disappearances that has haunted the town is once again thrust into the spotlight when journalist Landon West, who was staying at the inn to investigate the story of the vanishing trail, then disappears himself.

Abby has sometimes felt like an outsider within the community, but she’s come to view Cutter’s Pass as her home. When Landon’s brother Trey shows up looking for answers, Abby can’t help but feel the town closing ranks. And she’s still on the outside. When she finds incriminating evidence that may bring them closer to the truth, Abby soon discovers how little she knows about her coworkers, neighbors, and even those closest to her.

Megan Miranda brings her best writing to The Last to Vanish, a riveting thriller filled with taut suspense and shocking twists that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada/Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been on a total mystery/thriller binge. Like, that’s practically all I’ve been reading. So, of course, Megan Miranda was a name I came across while diving headlong into the mystery/thriller genre. One I kept coming back to again and again, in fact. So, you can imagine my delight when I saw her latest novel, The Last to Vanish, was coming out soon!

The Last to Vanish tells the story of Cutter’s Pass, a small, mountainside town infamously known for the string of disappearing visitors spanning back decades. The protagonist, Abby Lovett, is a relatively new resident to Cutter’s Pass, or that’s what it feels like to her anyways. Despite having lived there for the last 10 years, Abby still feels like an outsider – and like the rest of town is keeping their secrets from her.

But the most recent disappearance, that of Landon West, a reporter investigating the town of Cutter’s Pass, takes the entire town by surprise, Abby included. When Landon’s brother, Trey West, shows up, trying to uncover what led to his brother’s unlikely disappearance, things hidden in Cutter’s Pass begin to shake loose. And it seems like Abby, both insider and outsider, may be the only person able to put all the clues together…

As someone who has read a number of Miranda’s previous novels, I have to say that The Last to Vanish might just be my favorite one! One thing Miranda always does incredibly well is craft the perfect location for these sorts of stories, and The Last to Vanish is no exception. Cutter’s Past is the perfect juxtaposition where this picturesque, touristy town hides a shadowy web of dark, unspoken secrets interwoven just beneath the surface.

I always love how miscommunication plays such an integral role in all of Miranda’s mysteries, it feels realistic and authentic, taking something so common and showing how it can become twisted when faced with the unthinkable. Abby has to parse the true facts from the fictitious tales that have grown in the absence of the missing hikers. This involves questioning the motives for things that have always been taken at face value in Cutter’s Pass – and stepping on many of the locals’ toes.

The twists in this one were fantastic, and I completely did not see them coming! Between the foreboding atmosphere, the unexpected plot twists, and the intriguing premise, The Last to Vanish is the perfect read for anyone craving a solid mystery/thriller. The only aspect of this story that kept me from giving it the full 5 out of 5 stars was the pacing. It did feel like it dragged a little in the middle and took its time to really start to unravel the mystery. Once it did, it was definitely worth the wait! (But I could have done with some of the rising action being slightly abbreviated.)

Have you read any of Megan Miranda’s thrillers?

What did you think of them?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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