When a scandalous small-town crime goes viral, a teen girl takes center stage in Rosecrans Baldwin's story of a 21st century Puritan witch-hunt
The Last Kid Left begins when a car smashes into a sculpture of a giant cowgirl. The police find two bodies in the trunk. 19-year-old Nick Toussaint Jr. is arrested for murder, and after details of the crime rip across the internet, his 16-year-old girlfriend, Emily Portis—a sheltered teen who’s been off the grid until now, her first romance coinciding with her first cellphone—is nearly consumed by a public hungry for every lurid detail, accurate or not.
Emily and Nick are not the only ones whose lives come unmoored. A retired police officer latches onto the case. Nick’s alcoholic mother is thrust into an unfamiliar role. A young journalist who left her hometown behind is pulled into the fray. And Emily’s father, the town Sheriff, is finally forced to confront a monstrous secret.
The Last Kid Left is a bold, searching novel about how our relationships operate in a hyper-connected world, an expertly-portrayed account of tragedy turned mercilessly into entertainment. And it’s the suspenseful unwinding of a crime that’s more complex than it initially seems. But mostly it’s the story of two teenagers, dismantled by circumstances and rotten luck, who are desperate to believe that love is enough to save them.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A double homicide in a small New Hampshire town unleashes a mess of gossip, social media shenanigans, and media spin in Rosecrans Baldwin’s page-turning novel. We tore through this ambitious story, which pivots among multiple characters and viewpoints—as well as emails, texts, and news articles—to make a modern American gothic. The Last Kid Left is smart, shocking, and insightful about everything from portrayals of female sexuality to the strain of adult parent-child relationships.
When Martin Krug, chief of the Eagle Mount, N.J., PD and the hero of Baldwin's well-crafted mystery, responds to an automobile accident call, he doesn't expect to find 20-year-old Nick Toussaint Jr. in the driver's seat with two dead bodies in the trunk. Nick confesses to the murders, but the sheriff has his doubts. Since the murders happened at the victims' house in Claymore, N.H., Krug has no jurisdiction. When Krug retires a few days later, he decides to join the Claymore public defender in charge of proving Nick's innocence. The suspicious connection between Claymore's sheriff and Nick namely, that the sheriff's daughter, Emily, is Nick's girlfriend is just the beginning of a newsworthy scandal, to which the leaking on the internet of nude photos of Emily, meant to comfort Nick in jail, adds fuel. Baldwin (You Lost Me There) relegates the actual murder and investigation to the background, but readers who like plenty of character analysis in their crime fiction will be satisfied.
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intense, realistic thriller
Brought this book to the beach and really loved it. It's an intense thriller with hints of realism (probably because it was based on a true story but updated for today). I could see Tommy Lee Jones has the main policeman in the inevitable movie adaptation!