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The Last Word by Taylor Adams

The Last Word

Repeat author

Taylor Adams is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include No Exit.

by Taylor Adams

Quick take

While house-sitting, Emma Carpenter starts encountering eerie things after posting a negative review of a horror novel.

Good to know

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    Fast read

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Writerlife

    Writer's life


After posting a negative book review, a woman living in a remote location begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror from the critically acclaimed author of, No Exit.

Emma Carpenter lives in isolation with her golden retriever Laika, house-sitting an old beachfront home on the rainy Washington coast. Her only human contact is her enigmatic old neighbor, Deek, and (via text) the house’s owner, Jules.

One day, she reads a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel by the author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that drags her into an online argument with none other than the author himself. Soon after, disturbing incidents start to occur at night. To Emma, this can’t just be a coincidence. It was strange enough for this author to bicker with her online about a lousy review; could he be stalking her, too?

As Emma digs into Kane’s life and work, she learns he has published sixteen other novels, all similarly sadistic tales of stalking and murder. But who is he? How did he find her? And what else is he capable of?

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Content warning

This book contains mentions of suicidal ideation.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Last Word.

Why I love it

Every author gets them. The dreaded one-star review, often accompanied by a line or two of snark. (My most memorable: a simple, brutal “LOL no.”) Most of us try to ignore them. Many of us fixate on them anyway. And in the relentlessly paced The Last Word, one scathing review ignites an online feud that spills over into real life. The twist? The critic is the hero—and the author just might be a psychopath.

The amateur reviewer is Emma Carpenter, a woman going through a rough patch who opts out of society by house sitting on the Washington coast. The author is H. G. Kane, whose violent and sadistic fiction hints at a real-life cruel streak. Oh, and he hates getting bad reviews. When Emma gives his latest book one star, it makes him angry enough to track her down in her remote beachfront cottage and force her to change her opinion. (Between this and Megan Miranda’s The Only Survivors, it’s been a banner spring for thrillers set in isolated beach houses.)

What happens next is so diabolically clever that to give away any more plot would risk spoiling the delicious surprises lurking inside The Last Word. Because this is a book by Taylor Adams, whose No Exit sent everyone’s heads spinning, you can expect a doozy. Or two. Or twelve. There’s also dark humor, nail-biting suspense, and a heroine worth rooting for. My review: LOL yes.

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Member ratings (23,693)

  • Christi M.

    Gray, GA

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s been a while since I finished a book in a day, but I couldn’t put TLW down! Emma is a badass MC and the twisty plot is absolutely riveting. Some say over the top, I say just enough!

  • Lenna M.

    Kansas city, MO

    At first I thought I had this book figured out. But I was far from it. At the end I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough, between the two perspectives definitely kept me on my toes. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Carey O.

    Medina, OH

    I knew I was in for a wild ride with this one. There were many times where I thought I had it figured out, then NOPE! It kept me guessing the whole time and I was not disappointed ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!!!

  • Nicole S.

    Lochubuie, CO

    Such a good book. Though there was a bit of corniness to one of the characters. It was a gripping story from the start and kept me hooked. Would highly recommend for true crime fans. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Stephanie D.

    Norfolk, VA

    Twist after twist after TWIST! This one didn't hold back! He really had me going for a minute there but the real, true ending brought me to tears. Taylor Adams never disappoints! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️