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The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Thriller

The Last Thing He Told Me

Repeat author

Laura Dave is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Eight Hundred Grapes.

by Laura Dave

Excellent choice

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Quick take

The propulsive story of a new wife and stepmother who must unravel the mystery left behind when her husband disappears.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action

    Action-packed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle

    Puzzle

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MamaDrama

    Mama drama

Synopsis

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.

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The Last Thing He Told Me

Prologue

Owen used to like to tease me about how I lose everything, about how, in my own way, I have raised losing things to an art form. Sunglasses, keys, mittens, baseball hats, stamps, cameras, cell phones, Coke bottles, pens, shoelaces. Socks. Lightbulbs. Ice trays. He isn’t exactly wrong. I did used to have a tendency to misplace things. To get distracted. To forget.

On our second date, I lost the ticket stub for the parking garage where we’d left the cars during dinner. We’d each taken our own car. Owen would later joke about this—would love joking about how I insisted on driving myself to that second date. Even on our wedding night he joked about it. And I joked about how he’d grilled me that night, asking endless questions about my past—about the men I’d left behind, the men who had left me.

He’d called them the could-have been boys. He raised a glass to them and said, wherever they were, he was grateful to them for not being what I needed, so he got to be the one sitting across from me.

You barely know me, I’d said.

He smiled. It doesn’t feel that way, does it?

He wasn’t wrong. It was overwhelming, what seemed to live between us, right from the start. I like to think that’s why I was distracted. Why I lost the parking ticket.

We parked in the Ritz-Carlton parking garage in downtown San Francisco. And the parking attendant shouted that it didn’t matter if I claimed I’d only been there for dinner.

The fee for a lost parking ticket was a hundred dollars. “You could have kept the car here for weeks,” the parking attendant said. “How do I know you’re not trying to pull a fast one? A hundred dollars plus tax for every lost stub. Read the sign.” A hundred dollars plus tax to go home.

“Are you sure that it’s lost?” Owen asked me. But he was smiling as he said it, as if this were the best piece of news about me that he’d gotten all night.

I was sure. I searched every inch of my rented Volvo anyway and of Owen’s fancy sports car (even though I’d never been in it) and of that gray, impossible parking garage floor. No stub. Not anywhere.

The week after Owen disappeared, I had a dream of him standing in that parking lot. He was wearing the same suit—the same charmed smile. In the dream he was taking off his wedding ring.

Look, Hannah, he said. Now you’ve lost me too.

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Why I love it

I love a fake identity plot. Maybe it’s all the spy shows I’ve been watching in quarantine, maybe it’s my longtime fondness for scam stories, but hand me a book about someone who’s stolen a dead person’s social security number and I’ll blister through those pages like the FBI is chasing me.

Sure enough, I devoured The Last Thing He Told Me, a gripping thriller about a newlywed who discovers her husband’s entire identity is a lie. Owen Michaels is about to be arrested for securities fraud when he vanishes, leaving his new wife Hannah in charge of his teenage daughter, Bailey. When Hannah tries to track him down, she learns that “Owen Michaels” has never existed. She’s been married to the guy a whole year, and she doesn’t even know his real name.

Spousal betrayal is a common theme in thrillers, to say the least, but what makes this book stand out in a crowded field is the relationship between Hannah and Bailey. I loved watching their awkward rapport evolve into a genuine bond as Hannah goes to ever greater lengths to protect her stepdaughter from Owen’s dark past. This is a novel about lying husbands and fake identities, but it’s also a moving testimony to the power of chosen family. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, twisty thriller that packs an emotional punch, this is the book for you.

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Member ratings (60,801)

  • Teresa L.

    Lake Elsinore, CA

    ???????????????? ????????????????????! ???? ????????????????????????’???? ???????????????? ???????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????? ???????????????? ???????????? ???????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????????? ????????????????!⁣

  • Samantha C.

    Oak Harbor, OH

    SUCH A GOOD BOOK. Grabs you from the very first page and won’t loosen the grip for even a second. Love the thriller w/the family backdrop—especially encouraging to us bonus moms out here! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Patricia R.

    Bronx, NY

    The mystery of your husband disappearance and having to deal with his teenage daughter in the aftermath is what kept me wanting to know more. All for his daughter’s safety and sanity…⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Saliyah P.

    Austin, TX

    This book kept me on my toes and I truly didn’t figure it out until the end! The end, though, the end….❤️❤️❤️ I truly loved that last little moment and they way Laura Dave set it up was flawless.

  • Valeria B.

    Buffalo, NY

    I can’t believe the rollercoaster of emotions this book put me through. “The plot thickens” doesn’t begin to cover it, surprisingly enough, it is the concept of “love” that I find myself dwelling on.

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