Review: The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen


Print Length: 372 pages
Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer (January 1, 2018)

From  The community along Oregon's Deschutes River is one of successful careers and perfect families. For years, up-and-comers Liz and Owen have admired their good friends and neighbors, Carole and David. They appear to have it all--security, happiness, and a beautiful young son, Charlie.

Then Charlie vanishes without a trace, and all that seemed safe is shattered by a tragedy that is incomprehensible--except to Liz.

It took one fleeting moment for her to change the lives of everyone she loves--a heartrending accident that can't be undone. Neither can the second-worst mistake of her life: concealing it. As two marriages crack and buckle in grief and fear, Liz retreats into her own dark place of guilt, escalating paranoia--and betrayals even she can't imagine. Because there's another good neighbor who has his own secrets, his own pain, and his own reasons for watching Liz's every move.

And only he knows that the mystery of the missing boy on the Deschutes River is far from over.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

If I could give this story negative stars I would. If I could scream at potential readers to DNR or DNF this hot mess, I would do that too. 

There is absolutely NOTHING redeemable about this story or the majority of the characters. Let me try and break it down for you, but I warn you now that there will be SPOILERS for this trainwreck, so proceed at your own discretion. 

First up we have Liz, who other than the fact that she already failed to pass her bar test on the first try (and she's married to Owen) we know next to nothing about. When we first meet her she's running around cursing her husband who despite having an important day of his own only woke her up and didn't stay home to make sure she actually got up. Apparently, she had been up all night the night before drinking coffee and popping Adderall in an attempt to study some more for her second attempt at her bar exam. Because she is in a hurry, and not paying attention, she accidentally backs into her neighbor's three-year-old son, Charlie. 

In a panic she checks on the boy, finding him unconscious. But instead of doing what she knows is the right thing to do (aka call for an ambulance) all she thinks about is herself. About how it's going to mess up her life. How she is going to be blamed when they find out about the pills she had taken the night before even though it was quite obviously an accident. So instead of calling for help, she picks up little Charlie, carries him into her garage, and covers him with a tarp before heading out of town to take the bar exam. Which of course she didn't end up doing because of the guilt she was experiencing. 

Next, we meet Carole, who obviously becomes distraught and starts to panic when she realizes that her son is missing. She calls the police and makes numerous attempts at calling her husband (who seems to be missing as he's not at work and he's not answering his phone). The police quickly respond and start looking into all possibilities. We are told that they bring in dogs to try and find the boy, so I am unsure how they did not pick up his scent in the neighbor's yard and lead them right to the garage, but whatever. That was only the first of several plot holes. Our detectives seem like the smart kind, but as the story progresses we find that even that isn't entirely true. 

Eventually, Owen, Liz's absolute narcissist and sociopath of a husband gets home from work. Liz tells him of the horrible thing she has done and after he's done blaming her for ruining HIS life as well as her own, goes into the garage to try and figure a way out of the mess Liz has landed them in. Only to find out, much to his surprise that Charlie is still alive under the tarp! Now instead of staging an accident to make it look like Charlie slipped into their garage as Liz was leaving and somehow fell and hit his head or something fell on him thus taking the blame from Liz and making himself out to be the hero who found the boy (a more plausible reaction I'm sure, but then that would have made for a pretty short book I guess because) Owen decides the only LOGICAL thing for him to do is hold the tarp firmly over Charlie in an attempt to suffocate him. 

The pair then manages to smuggle his body out of the garage in Liz's car where they proceed to take him to another location and leave his body. Owen tells Liz it's fine as they have left him near a fence so someone will find him soon. I guess neither of them cares that the tarp could potentially lead back to them. 

David finally gets home, doesn't seem to care all that much that his son is gone, and just generally acts shady for most of the book. We later find out that his restaurant is going under and he was meeting with a loan officer (and apparently forging his wife's signature on the documents) to "make his own way" instead of telling her about his troubles so she could help him out as she was the wealthier of the two. 

As the story progresses, the detectives seemingly beat their heads against one dead end after another, never really seeming to push people for answers or dig deeper into what they are being told. Carole and David are understandably under a lot of pressure due to Charlie's disappearance, pressure that finally boils over when David (after some goading from Owen) goes and nearly beats a man to death believing that the man had something to do with his son's disappearance, even though the police had already ruled him out and informed David of that fact. 

Liz is a wreck who is barely holding on. She starts drinking heavily, texting, and doing things out of character, and even shows up at her husband's job and causes a nasty scene leading to his co-worker's speculation about her mental health and the state of her marriage to Owen. And Owen, dear Owen, threatens to kill Liz, belittles and berates her over and over for what "she" has done, never mind the fact that it was actually him who killed poor three-year-old Charlie from next door. Of course, it is all Liz's fault for panicking in the first place. Things get so bad for Liz that she actually shows up at the police station to make a statement, fully intending to take the blame for ALL of it so that Owen has no repercussions for his part in things, but of course, Owen finds out and puts a stop to that little plan immediately. 

Now from the time they dropped off little Charlie's body, we know someone has seen them. We also know that (presumably) this same person has heard things that they shouldn't have. But instead of going to the police themselves, or sending threatening messages to Liz and Owen, this person remains silent throughout the entire book. Until - SURPRISE - it is revealed that he is a person from Liz's past who lost his own son in a tragic accident. And not only did he KNOW what Liz and Owen did, but when he went to see what they were dumping that night realized that Charlie was actually STILL ALIVE despite having thought to be killed twice. But again, instead of going to the cops with the boy and the tarp and what he saw, this man decides that it is in Charle's best interest to live with him, in his basement. 

At least until Liz shows up, has an altercation with the man who she ultimately ends up killing in self-defense thereby rescuing Charlie and being hailed as a hero. WAIT WHAT? 

Charle is reunited with his grateful mother, who allows his father to visit with him although she makes it clear that they will not be getting back together. Liz makes up some bullshit lies to get Owen to move out of their home making it clear that their marriage is over as well. Now that she's not only gotten away with all of the horrible things she has done, she's also gotten rid of her horrible husband and now she can begin to make peace with herself right? Nope. Because the good old detectives show up at the last minute to question her (Even though the case is firmly closed) about what she wanted to tell them that day at the station and the book literally ends with Liz saying that she would tell them everything, but first they needed to go next door because Carole needed to hear it as well. 

And that was it. After all of that, we didn't get to see Carole's reaction to finding out what her so-called friend did, we don't find out if Liz told the truth about Owen's involvement or if she continued to protect him, hell we don't even know if she ended up getting punished AT ALL for her part in the events that had taken place. To go through all of that and then walk away feeling like I didn't get any closure where Liz and Owen were concerned was a definite point of contention for me. 

Although, it was my own fault, I was ready to DNF this the minute Liz put a three-year-old in her garage instead of getting help, but I was hoping the author would somehow find a way to make this story better. Instead, they only made it worse. 

                               The Last Thing She Ever Did is available on 
                                          (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited) 

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