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.
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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!
I couldn't put this down
The plot is juicy and compelling, and would be enough on its own. But Baldwin uses a murder mystery as a jumping off point to explore big themes – how family shapes identity, how that identity can be warped or straightened by public perception, and the transformative – for good or bad – power of love. I'm really impressed by the scope of the novel, as well as Baldwin's unflinching rendering of his characters.