The Last Dead Girl by Harry DolanThe Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan

The Last Dead Girl

byHarry Dolan

Hardcover | May 5, 2016

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A Wall Street Journal Best Mystery of 2014!

David Loogan’s dark past is revealed in this prequel to Bad Things Happen—the critically acclaimed mystery that Stephen King called a “great f***ing book.”

On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter on a lonely road draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. Jana is an enigma: living in a run-down apartment and sporting a bruise on her cheek that she refuses to explain. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie—until it’s too late. 

When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth about Jana, he begins to realize he’s treading a very dangerous path—and that her killer is watching every move he makes.

Harry Dolan is the bestselling author of Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men. He graduated from Colgate University, where he majored in philosophy and studied fiction writing with the novelist Frederick Busch. A native of Rome, New York, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 
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Title:The Last Dead GirlFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.35 × 6.75 × 1.35 inPublished:May 5, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399157964

ISBN - 13:9780399157967

Reviews

Bookclub Guide

1. INTRODUCTIONOn a rainy night in April, a chance encounter draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie—until it’s too late. When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth, he soon learns that Jana’s death may be related to an earlier murder, one that she was obsessed with during the last weeks of her life. And as he retraces her steps, he begins to realize that he’s treading a very dangerous path—and that her killer is watching every move he makes.ABOUT HARRY DOLANHarry Dolan is the bestselling author of Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men. He graduated from Colgate University, where he majored in philosophy and studied fiction writing with the novelist Frederick Busch. A native of Rome, New York, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his partner, Linda Randolph.DISCUSSION QUESTIONSThe Last Dead Girl features many strong women, most notably Jana and Sophie, who both make the first move with David, rather than the other way around. In what other ways are these women similar? How are they different? What does their confidence say about both of them, and how does it shape their stories?Do you think David’s lack of control in his two relationships—both in their beginnings and endings—serves as a catalyst for him to pursue clues in Jana’s case so thoroughly? Or is this curiosity a facet of David’s character?Initially, Gary’s case does not seem to be linked to Jana’s death. Why, then, do you think David researches it so passionately from the start?Angela tells David that’s she’s okay with Gary’s current situation—because he’s not her problem, and she’s not responsible. How do other characters in the book contradict this train of thought, the idea that we only take care of ourselves? Who feels the most responsibility for others in this story? Who doesn’t? Why?Both David and Roger are interested in Jana romantically. After what happened to her, why do you think Jana is so much more comfortable with David, a stranger, than she is with Roger, her admired professor? What do you think of Sophie’s confession, when she ultimately tells David the real reason for her infidelity? Do you think they would have been happy if he’d known before he met Jana? Or do you think that David needed to meet Jana, no matter what?Discuss Angela Reese’s idea of duality. What different sides does each character show throughout the book?Discuss Neil and Gary’s relationship. Do you think they’re both beyond saving, as David seems to think? Do you think there’s any real compassion left, on either end?Why do you think the author chose to tell this story in alternating narratives, and with an irregular timeline? Did it add to the atmosphere of the novel?Most of the characters in The Last Dead Girl have secrets, both good and bad, and no character is purely good. Do you feel this is an authentic portrayal of human nature? Who do you relate to most in this story, and why?

Editorial Reviews

Priase for The Last Dead Girl"Absorbing, exciting . . . fast and unpredictable . . . Mr. Dolan's characters are human enough to catch you off-guard, and he makes the actions of even the creepiest ones believable.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal“Dolan has a talent for ingenious, serpentine plots. . . . Dolan is an inventive, offbeat writer who manages to provide an entertaining mystery. . . . His David Malone novels deserve the praise they’ve received. Most likely, we’ll keep learning more about the trouble-prone Mr. Malone for years to come." —The Washington Post "A New Master Mystery Writer Emerges: I hadn’t read Harry Dolan before, for which I’m thankful, as this is a prequel to his previous two mysteries. Now I can read about David Malone, who apparently later changes his name to David Loogan, in chronological order. Dolan’s writing is excellent, and readers can look forward to his future efforts the way millions of us look forward to the ever more superb novels of Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman and Sue Grafton." —Steve Forbes, Forbes"Dolan's seemingly effortless prose sets off dialogue that surprises and delights, and his intricate plot is simply dazzling: a twisting, shifting labyrinth of events, characters, and motivations . . . every bit as good—if not better—than the first." —Booklist"[T]his prequel to 2009's Bad Things Happen puts Dolan's gifts as a storyteller on full display . . . you're in for a suspenseful ride." —Publishers Weekly“A very interesting plot with good characters that lure the reader into a variety of different worlds. Who could ask for anything more?” —Suspense Magazine“One of Dolan's gifts is creating capricious and flawed characters who are nevertheless sympathetic. Jana is so well fleshed out and her life so tragic, her death is deeply felt. The tale is told in a nonlinear manner, with time jumps and interludes; the style is effective because it allows Dolan to keep shocking truths hidden until they're ready to be revealed.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review"Dolan is one of America’s best new crime writers; if you haven’t discovered him, you’re in for a real treat." —Lansing State Journal "As in his first two thrillers, Dolan plays out the complications with a spider's patience." —Kirkus Reviews“[The Last Deal Girl] is one of the greatest novels we have read in while…stellar piece of work…the plot is very gripping, and the author who seems to excel in character development pushes various narratives forward.” —Mystery Tribune "Presenting readers with just the right number of potential suspects, plot twists and turns, this fast-paced tale will sweep you along like a roiling river in spring spate. Don’t plan on figuring out who the really bad guys are, though, because author Harry Dolan just won’t let you. He is a master at creating suspense and, as always, treats his fans to a giant rollercoaster of a ride." —BookReporterPraise for Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men“Great f***ing book, man. I was totally hooked.” —Stephen King“You better believe [Dolan] has a gift for storytelling . . . the narrative comes with startling developments and nicely tricky reversals.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review“One of the ten best mysteries of the year.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal“[T]he novel is as well plotted as Agatha Christie at her best. . . . It’s witty, sophisticated, suspenseful and endless fun . . . the best first novel I’ve read this year.” —Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post“Brilliant.” —Chicago Tribune“Harry Dolan has written an incredibly rich, smart read reminiscent of A Simple Plan or Presumed Innocent—not to mention that it’s just a damn good story.” —Karin Slaughter“A wonderfully moody and atmospheric story reminiscent of the masters of the noir mysteries. Tightly plotted, sophisticated, and engrossing, this is a winner.” —Nelson DeMille“Dolan gets everything right in his debut. . . . Pitch-perfect prose and sophisticated characterizations drive the noirish plot, which offers plenty of unexpected twists. . . . The talent Dolan displays suggests he has a bright future.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Brilliant. . . . I could go on for pages about the amazing amount of trust that Dolan generates from page one, letting us know that he won’t make a false move. But I don’t want to spoil your pleasure.” —Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune“A wonderfully moody and atmospheric story reminiscent of the masters of the noir mysteries. Tightly plotted, sophisticated, and engrossing, this is a winner.”  — Nelson DeMille“Bad Things Happen is a very smart, well-written roller coaster ride that is always threatening to hurl the reader out into roaring empty space.  Go along for the thrill ride!”—James Patterson“Bad Things Happen builds like a Midwestern thunderhead into an atmosphere of darkness, dread, and impending doom. It is a hypnotically readable novel, with richly wrought characters, a corkscrew plot, and dialog worthy of Elmore Leonard. What a breathtaking debut.” —Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence and Blasphemy  Praise for Bad Things Happen:“You better believe [Dolan] has a gift for storytelling . . . the narrative comes with startling developments and nicely tricky reversals.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review“[T]he novel is as well plotted as Agatha Christie at her best. . . . It’s witty, sophisticated, suspenseful and endless fun . . . the best first novel I’ve read this year.” —Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post“Brilliant.” —Chicago TribunePraise for Very Bad Men:“One of the ten best mysteries of the year.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal