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The Last Good Girl: A Novel
     

The Last Good Girl: A Novel

4.1 10
by Allison Leotta
 

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From Allison Leotta, the “highly entertaining storyteller” (George Pelecanos) who writes “in a style that’s as real as it gets” (USA TODAY), a ripped-from-the-headlines novel featuring prosecutor Anna Curtis at the center of a national story involving campus rape and the disappearance of a young woman.

It was her word

Overview

From Allison Leotta, the “highly entertaining storyteller” (George Pelecanos) who writes “in a style that’s as real as it gets” (USA TODAY), a ripped-from-the-headlines novel featuring prosecutor Anna Curtis at the center of a national story involving campus rape and the disappearance of a young woman.

It was her word against his...until she disappeared.

Emily Shapiro has gone missing. A freshman at a Michigan university, Emily was last seen leaving a bar near Beta Psi, a prestigious and secretive fraternity. The main suspect is Dylan Highsmith, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. At first, the only clue is pieced-together surveil­lance footage of Emily leaving the bar that night...and Dylan running down the street after her.

When prosecutor Anna Curtis discovers a video diary Emily kept during her first few months at college, it exposes the history Emily had with Dylan: she accused him of rape before disappearing. Anna is horrified to discover that Dylan’s frat is known on campus as the “rape factory.”

The case soon gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. Anna has to find something, anything she can use to discover Emily alive. But without a body or any physical evidence, she’s under threat from people who tell her to stop before she ruins the name of an innocent young man.

Inspired by real-life stories, The Last Good Girl shines a light on campus rape and the powerful emotional dynamics that affect the families of the men and women on both sides.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/21/2016
A missing person’s case preoccupies Anna Curtis in Leotta’s unconvincing fifth thriller featuring the Washington, D.C., federal prosecutor (after 2015’s A Good Killing). While on a trip to Michigan to see her sister, Anna learns that college student Emily Shapiro, whose father is the president of Tower University, has disappeared, last seen on video in a confrontation with fellow student Dylan Highsmith, who also has a high-powered father, Michigan’s lieutenant governor. Alison had accused Dylan of rape. Dylan, the epitome of sleaze, inappropriately touches Anna when she visits his fraternity house with her FBI agent friend, Samantha Randazzo. One of Dylan’s frat buddies turns out to be the younger brother of Anna’s new love interest, Cooper Bolden. Sections transcribed from Emily’s video log slow the pace, and jarring improbabilities—a nurse at a rehab facility freely provides details of a student’s treatment to Anna, who doesn’t even have to show the nurse an ID—don’t help the suspension of disbelief. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (May)
From the Publisher
Praise for THE LAST GOOD GIRL:

"A timely look at a subject that's making headlines across the country...entertaining." —Kirkus Reviews

“Fast paced with strong, vivid characters, this installment succeeds as a stand-alone, so readers new to the Anna Curtis series can easily follow. With a focus on a timely, important issue, this will be high on the to-read list of readers who appreciate the works of Lisa ­Scottoline, Linda A. Fairstein, and Gillian Flynn.” —Library Journal (starred review)

Praise for A GOOD KILLING

A “Best of the Best Summer Books” pick by O, the Oprah Magazine

"A perfect 10 . . . It's too good to miss." —Romance Reviews Today

"Leotta is one of the very best crime writers today." —Linda Fairstein

"A delicious tale of suspense that will have readers hurrying to find out what happens but at the same time wanting to savor each page. This highly entertaining thriller shouldn’t be missed." —Library Journal (starred review)

Praise For Allison Leotta

“[Leotta is] a writer exceptionally well-informed about crimes against women ... these are smart, tough-minded tales, well worth a look.” —The Washington Post

"Leotta pens romantic suspense detailing street crime in a style that's as real as it gets." —USA Today

“A female John Grisham.” —The Providence Journal

“An assured and authentic voice, and a highly entertaining storyteller.” —George Pelecanos

USA Today
"Leotta pens romantic suspense detailing street crime in a style that's as real as it gets."
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Praise for A GOOD KILLING
"Anna Curtis is one of my favorite fictional protagonists. . . . Leotta's a star, and this book has all the evidence to prove it." —Linda Fairstein

"A perfect 10 . . . It's too good to miss." —Romance Reviews Today

"Dark secrets, a small town, and one supercharged trial . . . [Leotta] scores big." —Kirkus Reviews

“Former prosecutor Leotta, who clearly knows her way around a courtroom, explores the bonds between women in this suspenseful tale with surprising twists and an ultimately satisfying conclusion.” —Booklist

"Leotta spins a delicious tale of suspense that will have readers hurrying to find out what happens but at the same time wanting to savor each page. This highly entertaining thriller shouldn’t be missed." —Library Journal (starred review

.
Praise for A GOOD KILLING

A “Best of the Best Summer Books” pick by O, the Oprah Magazine

"A perfect 10 . . . It's too good to miss." —Romance Reviews Today

"Leotta is one of the very best crime writers today." —Linda Fairstein

"A delicious tale of suspense that will have readers hurrying to find out what happens but at the same time wanting to savor each page. This highly entertaining thriller shouldn’t be missed." —Library Journal (starred review)

v
Praise For Allison Leotta

“[Leotta is] a writer exceptionally well-informed about crimes against women … these are smart, tough-minded tales, well worth a look.” —The Washington Post

"Leotta pens romantic suspense detailing street crime in a style that's as real as it gets." –USA Today

“A female John Grisham.” —The Providence Journal

“An assured and authentic voice, and a highly entertaining storyteller.” –George Pelecanos

Library Journal
★ 04/15/2016
In Leotta's fifth series entry (after A Good Killing), Washington, DC, sex crimes prosecutor Anna Curtis is visiting her sister in Michigan when Jack, her ex-fiancé, asks her to help out on a task force investigating assaults on the state's college campuses. Freshman Emily Shapiro, whose father is the university president, has gone missing. Circumstances surrounding her disappearance implicate Dylan Highsmith, a popular fraternity member and the son of Michigan's lieutenant governor. Emily's video diary purports she was raped earlier in the semester and even details Dylan's disciplinary hearing at which Emily testified. As Anna and Jack probe the case, they uncover a corrupt academic system, complicated family dynamics, and crime scene evidence that isn't necessarily what it seems. VERDICT Fast paced with strong, vivid characters, this installment succeeds as a stand-alone, so readers new to the Anna Curtis series can easily follow. With a focus on a timely, important issue, this will be high on the to-read list of readers who appreciate the works of Lisa Scottoline, Linda A. Fairstein, and Gillian Flynn.—Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Lib., Macon, GA
School Library Journal
09/01/2016
When Emily Shapiro attends her first frat party as a college freshman, she is raped. She believes fraternity president Dylan put something in her drink, but no one believes her. He is the son of Michigan's lieutenant governor and a campus do-gooder, while she is the university president's daughter. Months later, an argument between Emily and Dylan is caught on security footage and Emily goes missing. Luckily, assistant U.S. attorney Anna Curtis is visiting her hometown and agrees to prosecute the case against Dylan as part of a Department of Justice task force investigating sexual assaults on college campuses. With the help of FBI Agent Samantha Randazzo and the rest of her team, Anna fights small-town corruption, college donor privilege, and campus sexism to find justice for the young women who have been hurt by the fraternity known on campus as the "rape factory." While this book is the fifth in the series, it can also be read as a stand-alone. Teens will identify with Emily—she has such high hopes for her freshman year at a school she's always loved. Teens will vilify Dylan, too, and they'll root for Anna to take him and the fraternity down. VERDICT Teen fans of Jodi Picoult's novels and Jon Krakauer's Missoula will speed through this riveting tale about campus rape.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon IL
Kirkus Reviews
2016-03-17
Leotta's spunky heroine, federal lawyer Anna Curtis, takes on the timely topic of rape on college campuses and discovers an ugly underbelly in the academic system. Anna moved home to the Detroit area to help her sister, Jody, who now has a baby of her own. The sisters are living with Anna's friend Cooper and his PTSD dog, Sparky, on an urban farm in Detroit. Anna's conflicted, though, because she's broken her engagement to handsome federal prosecutor Jack, and she's not sure of her feelings for Cooper, who was badly wounded while in the service. But she has to put her personal life on hold when college student Emily Shapiro goes missing soon after accusing a fraternity boy, who also happens to be the son of the state's lieutenant governor, of raping her. Dylan Highsmith is both wealthy and without shame when it comes to his exploits with women. When Jack recruits Anna to work on a task force investigating Emily's disappearance, she's reunited with her FBI buddy, Agent Samantha Randazzo. Together, the two women race against the clock to find the missing girl and stop college officials from shoving the issue under the carpet. Anna has become a better-rounded and more interesting character since Leotta (Speak of the Devil, 2013, etc.) moved her back to the Detroit area, and while this book is a timely look at a subject that's making headlines across the country, it's a bumpy read. The college boy, Dylan, is almost a parody of a rich bad boy, Emily's parents are unbelievable in their reactions to their daughter's disappearance, and former love Jack's sudden emergence in Detroit come across as contrived. The book is also dotted with information about rape on college campuses that makes it feel like the author's simply slotting in Internet search results instead of prose. Billed as "ripped from the headlines," Leotta's latest proves entertaining enough but feels more like a book that's ripped from Google.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476761138
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
05/03/2016
Series:
Anna Curtis Series , #5
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
9,652
File size:
2 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Last Good Girl


  • The guy had beautiful white teeth and a dimple that appeared when she made him laugh, but all Emily could think was, College is where romance goes to die.

    They stood on prime real estate, belly-up to the bar at Lucky’s, pressed together by the swell of bodies around them. The air was thick with sweated perfume, cheap beer, and the recycled breath of hundreds of young adults in their sexual prime. The boy drained his Bud, set the bottle on the bar, and issued a mating call.

    “Wanna do shots?”

    Translation: Wanna get wasted, get laid, get out of my bed, and never to talk to me again? There were no boyfriends in college. There were only hookups.

    Emily smiled at the boy, tilting her head cutely to the side. To the world, she probably looked like any other carefree girl basking in a Friday night. It made her wonder how many of these girls were just like her. Pretending. Maybe all of them, in one way or another.

    “Sure,” she said.

    The dimple reappeared. The boy turned to wave over a bartender.

    Over the hum of conversation and Pitbull, Emily heard the bells of the clock tower outside, striking midnight. Twelve solemn bongs marking the start of March 24, 2015. She’d heard those bells chiming on the hour, every hour, her entire life. As a girl, she’d lain in her pretty pink bedroom listening to their bass chimes, wondering what it’d be like when she was a college student herself, the adventures and grown-up secrets that would finally be revealed to her like beautiful presents to be unwrapped, one by one. That seemed like a very long time ago.

    Tonight, the chimes meant Dylan and his friends would walk into the bar soon. She had to get out of here.

    The bartender delivered two shot glasses filled with shimmery blue potion.

    “I’m sorry,” she told the boy. “You’re totally nailing the horny-but-caring-frat-boy thing. Maybe put your hand gently on my shoulder when you look in my eyes? Try it on one of them.” She gestured to all the shiny, uncomplicated girls who thought their prince was behind the next $1 pitcher of beer. Emily missed being one of them. “I gotta go.”

    She picked up the first shot glass and downed the blue drink, then shotgunned the second one too. She tossed a twenty on the bar, grabbed her white North Face jacket, and threaded her way through the crowd. Preya and the other girls were somewhere in here, but Emily couldn’t see them.

    Wrapping her silvery scarf around her neck, she pushed out the front door and into the quiet night. She coughed on the cold air. March was Michigan’s ugliest month. Dirty snow huddled at the curb, trapped in the purgatory between white powder and the warm April sun. Across the street, the bell tower shone like a warning as its twelfth chime echoed over shivering trees. The night seeped through Emily’s sweater, pulling goose bumps from her skin. She shuddered, zipped her jacket, and looked down the street—right at what she feared most.

    A raucous bunch of Beta Psi boys rounded the corner. Dylan was in front, of course. He was the alpha dog in any pack of males. Tall and swaggering, dressed in clothes that were both effortlessly casual and painfully expensive, he could be a poster boy for fratty privilege. The other guys clustered around him, vying for position.

    Emily froze a few feet from the entrance to Lucky’s. Its cone of light still surrounded her.

    Dylan’s eyes locked on hers. He smiled, walked over, and stood in her space. Too close. The other boys formed a semicircle around her. She felt unsteady.

    “I don’t want any trouble,” she said.

    “Doesn’t seem that way,” Dylan drawled. “Seems like you’re doing everything you can to stir the pot.”

    “Whore,” said one of Dylan’s minions. The kid snorted, cocked back his head, and spat. His phlegm arced through the air, reflecting the light from the bar’s neon signs, glittering and ugly. Everyone watched the loogie as it hung suspended for a moment at the top of its arc. Then it headed back down and splatted on her boot. The boys’ laughter was loud and vicious. Anger pulsed through her gut, more acidic than any shot at Lucky’s.

    “You’re disgusting,” she told Dylan. “And you can’t even fight your own fights.”

    Dylan frowned at his friends, and they stilled. Their silence was more ominous than their laughter. Emily was keenly aware that she could not control this situation.

    “Head in,” Dylan told the other guys. “I’ll be right there.”

    “You sure, dude?”

    “Yeah.”

    The boys did what they were told. Music pulsed then quieted as the bar’s door swung open and shut. Emily tried to move away, too, but Dylan’s hand clamped onto her arm. They faced each other, a boy and a girl alone on an empty stretch of sidewalk, breathing fog into the night.

    “Have you thought about what you’re doing?” he said. “Like, really thought about it? Because, it’s kinda crazy that this is how you want to play it.”

    “I’m not playing.”

    His fingers squeezed her arm through the puffy coat. “You know what this means for you? You are done.”

    “Oh, Dylan.” She smiled. “I’m just beginning. I’m writing an editorial too. It’ll be in next week’s Tower Times.”

    “Bitch,” he said slowly. “My family will end you.”

    “I know who your family is. And pretty soon they’ll know who you are too.”

    Emily yanked away her arm away and strode off, warmed with the satisfaction that her words had cut him. For a moment, she heard nothing but the sound of her footsteps clacking triumphantly on the pavement. The whisper of wind through trees. A car passing, its tires slicing through salty slush.

    Then footsteps, sharp and angry, behind her. She glanced back. Dylan was following her.

    “Leave me alone!” she yelled.

    He strode faster. His hands were fists.

    On her left were shops, closed for the night—dark. On her right was North Campus Street, then campus itself—darker. Trees, dorms, the library. A little farther in was the president’s house and the pretty pink bedroom of her childhood. None of these places offered safety.

    Ahead, the lights from the shops ended in a yawning stretch of black. It was a block-long hole dug out for construction, surrounded by a chain-link fence. Students called it the Pit.

    She hugged her purse and tried to walk faster, but her ankle-high boots had disastrously high heels. Dylan wore rubber-soled boat shoes. The slap of his footsteps grew louder, closer.

    She broke into a run.

    So did he.

    She looked over her shoulder—he was right behind her. Wind whipped her long brown hair into her eyes. She shoved it back, stumbled, and pushed herself harder. She was running as fast as she could when she felt his breath on her neck.

  • Meet the Author

    Allison Leotta was a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington, DC, for twelve years. In 2011, she left the Justice Department to pursue writing full time. She is the acclaimed author of Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing, and The Last Good Girl and founder of the award-winning blog, The Prime-Time Crime Review. Leotta lives with her husband, Michael, and their two sons outside of Washington, DC. Visit her online at AllisonLeotta.com.

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    The Last Good Girl: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Read in one sitting. Everything this author writes is outstanding!!! Highly recommend to all. The other thing is you don't have to read in order, as they will tie in, so no confusion. Buy em, read em, love em!!!!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Kept me intrigued. Will be reading more by this author.
    Anonymous 23 days ago
    KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Anna Curtis strikes again! She is still in Michigan when her DC team comes to her as they investigate the disappearance of a college student who has kept a record of abuse from a senior fraternity boy who has a well known dad who can pull some strings. Emma is just not any college student, she is the daughter of the president of the university, so one would think that the university and her father would back her when she brings charges against this boy, but instead her father is more concerned with the image of his university. I loved this installment although I am ready for them to return to DC! I love that this case felt current and relevant and there was honestly a CNN news story about a female getting kicked out of university as she was bringing charges of rape against a fellow student. This was so such an interesting book because the case was so interesting.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Sits patiently on bed
    Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
    I don’t generally like getting into a series at any point after book one. I like to have a grounding in the character and the history of them. I was unaware that The Last Good Girl was part of a series when I requested it. I loved the synopsis and was intrigued on how the story would play out and did not look to see what else the author had done. I can happily say that I was not disappointed by Allison Leotta and her series, even though I came in at number five. The plot of The Last Good Girl was very much a Law and Order type “from the headlines” story. It worked well as I think everyone is familiar with the very public cases of rape on college campuses from the last few years. The writing of Allison Leotta was, for the most part, gripping. When she spoke of the characters, their emotions and feelings, it was as if I was there with them. unfortunately a few procedural parts were very dry and I would find myself skimming past them. The pacing was very fast and constantly rolled forward. There were a few less than perfect spots where the action bounced around but they did not distract from the whole. The world built was vast. I was a little lost at some points as I think most of the build-up was done in the previous books, but I was able to catch up quickly. The characters were an area I had some trouble with. Since this is book five, the recurring faces were nit well introduced and I had to guess a bit at their connections. The new characters were very well developed, but for the most part unlikable, but they were supposed to be so it was fine. The emotions were great. Between the main story line of the girl who was assaulted and Anna and her sisters love lives, it packed some real depth in. While I was confused by some of the details in the book, as they came from books one through four, I still very much enjoyed the read. The Last Good Girl was twisty and deep and kept my attention the entire read. Allison Leotta has crafted a vast and interesting world in her Anna Curtis series and I am now going to go back and find the others as I really want to know what happened to bring Anna and those around her to this point. Sometimes jumping into the middle works and sometimes it doesn’t and this is one where the majority of the read was successful as Anna was such a strong character and the plot worked well as a standalone. Original review @ 125Pages.com I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I enjoyed this book VERY much! It did follow what the description said. What a bang up review! READ THIS ONE!!
    xokristim More than 1 year ago
    I didn't realize this was the fifth book in the series. Even though I have not read the first four books I took this story as it was and was able to do so very easily. I suppose the first four books give you a better background story of the main character. I wonder if you could read all of the books in the series as standalones. I know that’s what I did with this book and it worked out very well. Allison Leotta is an amazing author. This is the first book I have read by her and I will definitely be reading more. This book made me want to pick up the whole series. The writing style almost reminds me of James Patterson who is one of my favorite authors. It flows very easily and is a quick read. The story is the thrilling and quite a roller coaster ride. From beginning to end I was completely enthralled. (Thanks to Touchstone and Netgalley, I received a copy of this book for free to read and review.)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Really? Did it have to be a protest about EVERYTHING? Bathrooms, trophy wives, frats, etc........So extreme & trite. Didn't finish it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Im here baby