Book Review- The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman

Saturday, 25 February 2017
Title: The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman
Author: Mindy Mejia
Published: 9th March 2017
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.
Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .
Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity, about the line between innocence and culpability, about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Quercus Books in return for an honest review.

This novel is a murder mystery set in a small Minnesota town. 17 year old Hattie was an inspiring actress who had plans to move to New York as soon as she could. However, when she is found murdered, its up to family friend and Sheriff Del Goodman to solve the murder.
This novel is told through three points of views. We follow Del as he solves the murder in the present day, and we also read Hattie and her English teacher's perspectives from the months leading up to her death. This split perspectives works well in this novel, the split timeline also leaves the puzzle unsolved for a long time, it takes a large part of the novel before all the pieces fit together.
This novel definitely has elements of the psychological thriller about it. The split perspectives, which create a tension and mystery in the novel, and the mystery around Hattie and her 'true' persona created this feel to the novel, and I have seen this novel compared to Gone Girl, and there are similarities, not in plot but in the thriller aspects.
Hattie is a fascinating main character, because she isn't honest to anyone you never know whether you are actually seeing the 'real' Hattie in her perspectives or not. This unreliable narrator adds another layer to the narrative as you have to take everything you are told with a pinch of salt! Mejia also deserves praise for her excellent writing of a 17 year old girl. Some authors struggle to accurately replicate the voice of a 17 year old, but I think Mejia has got it exactly right in this instance.
If you are looking for an exciting 'who-dunnit' this isn't the novel for you. There are very few suspects from the beginning of the novel, it is more about piecing the events together, and less about the big reveal of the murderer.
This novel also wasn't the quickest read, the first 70% or so was quite slow, the pace of the novel only picked up in the last 30%, and I was a little disappointed that I wasn't drawn further into the story than I was.
Overall I enjoyed this novel, it was an interesting story about a murder in a small town where everyone knows everyone, with some interesting twists and turns within. However it just didn't draw me in, it felt slow paced and laboured at parts.

Happy reading!

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