The Last Thing I Told You
From the acclaimed author of The Evening Spider and The Broken Teaglass comes this psychological thriller about the murder of a psychologist in a quiet New England town and his former patient whose unreliable thread will keep readers guessing until the shocking end.
I hear myself whispering. Not again. Not again.
Why did I ever come back here? Surely because of you. Because I thought of something I’d always meant to tell you. Because you were the only one I ever really wanted to tell it to…
Therapist Dr. Mark Fabian is dead—bludgeoned in his office.
But that doesn’t stop former patient Nadine Raines from talking to him—in her head. Why did she come back to her hometown after so many years away? Everyone here thinks she’s crazy. And she has to admit—they might have good reason to think so. She committed a shockingly violent act when she was sixteen, and has never really been able to explain that dark impulse—even to Fabian. Now that Fabian’s dead, why is she still trying?
Meanwhile, as Detective Henry Peacher investigates Fabian’s death, he discovers that shortly before he died, Fabian pulled the files of two former patients. One was of Nadine Raines, one of Henry’s former high school classmates. Henry still remembers the disturbing attack on a teacher that marked Nadine as a deeply troubled teen.
More shockingly, the other file was of Johnny Streeter, who is now serving a life sentence for a mass shooting five years ago. The shooting devastated the town and everyone—including Henry, who is uncomfortable with the “hero” status the tragedy afforded him—is ready to move on. But the appearance of his file brings up new questions. Maybe there is a decades-old connection between Nadine and Streeter. And maybe that somehow explains what Nadine is doing in Fabian’s office nearly twenty years after being his patient. Or how Fabian ended up dead two days after her return. Or why Nadine has fled town once again.
But as Nadine and Henry head toward a confrontation, both will discover that the secrets of people’s hearts are rarely simple, and—even in the hidden depths of a psychologist’s files—rarely as they appear.
The bludgeoning murder of therapist Mark Fabian in Campion, Conn., drives this tense-if-flawed blend of police procedural and psychological drama from Arsenault (The Evening Spider). Det. Henry Peacher's investigation hinges on Fabian's cryptic notes and two old patient files he pulled just before his death in particular, that of Nadine Raines, who stabbed a teacher with a box cutter when she and Henry were in high school together in Campion. Years later, Nadine has returned to the small town to visit Fabian. Indeed, she's present at the crime scene, which she later flees, but is she the killer? Nadine is a richly imagined character, and her notes made as a teenager and internal monologues retrospectively addressing her unresolved issues about adult men feel creepily authentic. But Henry's pursuit of the explanation for Fabian's death and eventually of Nadine is unevenly paced, plodding at first but too fast as the pieces fall together into an unsatisfying twist ending. Hopefully, Arsenault will return to form next time.
A really well written book, really keeps you guessing.