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Her Last Day by T.R. Ragan

Her Last Day is the first book in a new series featuring Private Investigator Jessie Cole. It was my first experience reading a TR Ragan book and while I enjoyed it enough to read more from this author, I ultimately found Her Last Day to be just ok.
The book contained, what I would consider, three main storylines.

  1. Jessie shoots a prominent lawyer in self-defense and faces the threat of jail time if she can not prove she was the attacked and not the attacker.
  2. Ben Morrison, an investigative reporter suffering from retrograde amnesia struggles to piece together his past and determine how he is connected to Jessie’s missing sister.
  3. A serial killer is on the loose in Sacramento and despite the bodies stacking up, the killer has left little behind that could reveal his/her identity.

Needless to say, there was a lot going on and unfortunately, Jessie Cole wasn’t the central focus of 2 out of 3 of those storylines. In addition to each of those elements, the book reveals backstory about a former (and potential?) lover in Jessie’s life, a niece in her custody for the last ten years, and an injured stray dog in need of a good home.

Each plot line is very interesting but could have been more so with fewer other elements splitting readers’ attention. I mistakenly thought that 1 or 2 of those plots would be left open in order to weave future books together with a common thread. However, each was resolved by the end of Her Last Day and the book could be devoured as a standalone.
I was most captivated by the serial killer storyline and can honestly say that the scenes involving the killer were horror movie material for sure! Be warned if you’re afraid of spiders!

The Heartless Killer is also the most well-developed character in the book. He is vicious and takes immense pleasure from torturing people with fear. The physical abuse or injuries he is responsible for are bad enough, but the psychological games he plays with each of his victims are worse. There are spiders, there is blood, there is being locked in a box, and the thrill of getting away, only to be caught again.
In the end, the killer did break a little too easily, but it was exciting to experience the victims fight fire with fire and exploit his painful past to get under his skin.

Unfortunately, Jessie Cole isn’t even the hero of this story. She finds the killer’s location and charges in. Of course, she’s caught. Of course, she is subjected to the same psychological torture as the other victims. It’s a well-timed phone call to Ben Morrison that leads him to the same farm in order to kill the killer and rescue most of the victims, including Jessie.

In fact, it is Ben Morrison who has the most profound journey throughout the course of Her Last Day. He unearths most of the past, finds the body of Jessie’s sister (albeit at the exact same time that Jessie does) and like I said, saves the day! Jessie should be ashamed of herself, jk.