An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
By: Allison Leotta
Anna Curtis, #5
Publication Date: 5/3/2016
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
A special thank you to Touchstone and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Allison Leotta, former D.C. federal sex-crimes prosecutor, returns with her riveting mystery series, (Anna Curtis #5) THE LAST GOOD GIRL a sensitive case, a freshman girl at a prestigious university goes missing, two powerful families, a monster, and Anna, an unstoppable federal prosecutor-- who has prosecuted congressmen, street gangs, serial rapists----and now, frat boys.
Set in Michigan, Emily Shapior, a freshman at a Michigan University (fictional) —she goes missing, after filing rape charges against Dylan. Emily’s father is the president of Tower University, Dylan Highsmith (third generation legacy at Tower University--belongs to a popular college fraternity--four US presidents were alumni, along with countless senators, and CEOs). The big boys.
Anna Curtis, sex-crimes prosecutor is on the case—a missing girl; warned to handle with care, and watch her back. A hot topic: "College campus sex assault."
Emily had waited her entire life to become a student and enjoy the entire college experience. Her dreams had turned into a nightmare. In addition, there were parent issues with divorce, etc. Betrayal. She was brought up to be the good girl. Attend the right schools and the right people. Appearances. Bury the ugly.
For a class assignment, freshman students were assigned to record at least one video a week, to describe their college experience. A log of time known as a vlog, to be continued throughout the year. BlueTube. (like YouTube), but just for Tower University stuff.
A secret. A party. Frat boys. Sexually assaulted by high-profile Dylan. Drugged. Black out. Dylan takes what he wants and does not know the meaning of “no”. He is protected by his family, frat brothers, followers, and a high powered team of attorneys. Power was on his side.
Beta Psi had three rules: (1) Trust the brotherhood (2) what happens in the house, stays in the house (3) trust the brotherhood. Dylan was the brotherhood. Known as the Rape Factory. Secrets, crimes, skeletons—Underground. Wealth and power.
A recording. Six months prior. A statistic. One in five. A diary. Raped. A mom wants her to go to the police. Her mom wants to get back at her dad for ruining her own life. A father falling for a woman half his age. She does not want to hurt her father. She is not planning on posting; however, talking about her family on the vlog is therapy. She is the only one who can figure it out.
She knew it would be hard to face Dylan, his frat brothers, her classmates. Afraid of being judged, blackballed, laughed at. But being slapped down the school which is supposed to protect. A surprise.
Together, Anna and Samantha Randazzo, FBI make their way through politics, going up against the University, stonewalling as they hammered out a plan. Inside the modern amenities and the historic architecture, there was sex, a part of college life. Other women. Victims.
Two days prior to the time Emily goes missing, something happened. Something changed. There previously had been a disciplinary case. What happened? Emma’s disappearance gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. On a personal note, she turns to Jack for help. She was just getting over him—however, Anna is desperate to find the girl before it’s too late.
The Highsmith’s always seem to be one step ahead. Things turn very personal. Anna could lose her license, her job, and her reputation. It is down to the wire. Anna needs a break. Is Emily still alive? Where is she? Dylan was the last to see her alive? Can they get the girls to talk? Psychological damage. Victims.
Inspired by real-life stories, a need for justice, The Last Good Girl is a perfect example what goes on throughout our campuses today; the politics and power---leaving victims sometimes powerless to fight for their rights. As though they have been assaulted all over again. Sadly, often by the college.
Wow, this was intense, evil, sinister—debutantes versus prostitutes? Compelling- lots of unexpected twists, turns and red herrings. Just when a victim seems to think they have justice; things turn in a different direction. Well-developed and timely, combined with the author’s vast legal and crime expertise, she brings critical insights to the powerful and emotional highly-charged topics, ripped from today’s headlines.
From fast action, and corruption--the suspense is high, keeping you page-turning. Leotta creates stories (real life experiences) that both entertain and teach about the way the criminal justice system works – and doesn’t work. Weaving statistics, true facts with fiction--a nice mix with likable characters and enough wit, to balance out the heavy subjects.
Since this was my first book by the author, (would enjoy reading the previous books) however, the author gets you up to speed.
Anna’s life in Michigan. She is currently living with an old friend, Cooper, (new love interest) PTSD, and her sister Jody (gives her plenty of advice), and Jody’s baby. A nice tie in with the men in her life. Anna thinks Jody would make a great detective. She has been working remotely for the US Attorney’s office as prosecutor, after taking time away to defend her sister in a trial (plus the breakup with Jack). Should she stay with Cooper, or could there be a chance with Jack back in DC?
I enjoyed the characters, (especially Anna) and Sam; infused with Anna’s personal and career life, as well as the usage of Emily’s personal blog (vlog) accounts which delves into the raw feelings and challenges in dealing with rape.
Since legal and crime - my favorite genres, delighted to discover this exciting talented author! For fans of Lisa Scottoline, Mary Louise Kelly, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Marcia Clark, Lisa Gardner and Laura Lippman.
A nice mix of legal, psychological, crime, suspense, mystery, cop procedural, and thriller--with a touch of romance. An ideal read for adults, parents, teens and college students, as well—a cautionary tale. Especially those with teens headed off to college.
Read the Author's Blog College Decisions & Campus Sex Assaults