REVIEW: The Final Child by Fran Dorricott

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Read this book for: serial killer, abduction thriller, kidnapping, amateur investigation, woman-led, psychological thriller

Quick Review: An interesting twist on a familiar premise, you’ll want to know how this one ends!

He won’t forget her…

Erin and her brother Alex were the last children abducted by ‘the Father’, a serial killer who only ever took pairs of siblings. She escaped, but her brother was never seen again. Traumatised, Erin couldn’t remember anything about her ordeal, and the Father was never caught.

Eighteen years later, Erin has done her best to put the past behind her. But then she meets Harriet. Harriet’s young cousins were the Father’s first victims and, haunted by their deaths, she is writing a book about the disappearances and is desperate for an interview with the only survivor. At first, Erin wants nothing to do with her. But then she starts receiving sinister gifts, her house is broken into, and she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After all these years, Erin believed that the Father was gone, but now she begins to wonder if he was only waiting…

THE FINAL CHILD is a psychological thriller about a serial killer who has taken children — from the perspective of someone who survived the ordeal but has yet to confront it.

This is Fran Dorricott’s second novel; her first, AFTER THE ECLIPSE, and some of the same elements that made it great are present in this book. She shows the same sensitivity to unstable mental states, has a female journalist character leading an amateur investigation, and that wish to leave a few questions open.

One of the things Dorricott does well is taking an interesting approach to a common premise. In this case, she tackles the serial killer/abduction premise… but the abductions happened long ago, and the lone survivor doesn’t remember what happened to her. Now, decades later, she is dragged back into the past by strange happenings.

This type of story, and her approach to it, relies heavily on the ability to portray nuanced mental and emotional states in the characters, and Dorricott does it well. The characters’ uncertainty, conflicted feelings, and deep terror come across very clearly throughout the novel, and the emotional engagement really helps pull the reader in, and keep them turning pages.

The plot, in the end, is not overly complex, but is reasonably satisfying to watch unravel. As is usually the case with serial killer thrillers, there’s a bit of a forced feel to pieces of it, but Dorricott’s tendency toward a simpler plot with a few more vague elements helps to smooth over the major points of disbelief.

If you are looking for a bit of a different take on the genre and an emotionally engaging read, THE FINAL CHILD is a story you should consider picking up!

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