The Last Sister

The Last Sister

by Kendra Elliot


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Three sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.

Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.

When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542006729
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 01/14/2020
Series: Columbia River Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 269,966
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series, as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels. Kendra is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers Award finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born, raised, and still lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her family, but she looks forward to the day she can live in flip-flops. Visit her at

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The Last Sister 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
GraceJReviewerlady 9 days ago
Such a good story! Kept me hooked to the very end and I can't help but think this would transfer easily to the big screen . . . With the discovery of not one, but two murdered bodies, Emily Barton is plunged right back in time to a previous similar crime; one which impacted on her family more than most. When FBI agents begin investigating, they soon work out that there are hidden secrets lurking in the town. Can they solve their case? This is a highly skilled novel, beautifully created. Without even realising it, I found myself drawn into the story and really caring about the characters. I never saw the ending coming; there is so much happening with the story developing all the time that I really didn't have a moment to think about it. Superb suspense! An absolutely terrific novel and one that really got under my skin - and the ending? Perfect, just perfect. I couldn't find fault with this even if I wanted to. Not my first Kendra Elliot book and most definitely not my last. Totally worth all five sparkling stars.
Nursebookie 14 days ago
This was my first Kendra Elliott read and I am now a fan of this amazing and exciting fast paced murder mystery police procedural read. This read was so satisfying for me for the brilliant plot, suspenseful storyline and not so predictable mystery. Nothing like a small town murder mystery that makes the story more captivating and intensely unputdownable. The characterization and complex plot lines are what sold me. I really loved and enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.
Cutiefulpink 16 days ago
The Last Sister is a great example of contemporary mystery done right. This book paced paced beautifully, with a slow enough build to proudly be called a mystery novel and a few dramatic thrills to grab the readers attention. Add to that the hint of romance sprinkled throughout, and this is an almost perfect read. Some readers might classify The Last Sister as romantic suspense, but I hesitate to use that classification only because it tends to denote a more steamy book. Here, there is only a hint of romance, with a few stolen kisses and intense attraction. Some would call it clean romance, but I'm not a fan of that term. I loved the mystery in all kinds of ways, but particularly liked how the past unsolved crimes collided with the present to create a decades old case. I didn't know who to trust from one moment to the next, so the writing was perfect. I honestly didn't know who done it. After reading so many mysteries and thrillers, I am rarely stumped. I had some guesses to who didn't do it, but who did came out of nowhere. The Last Sister is a perfect winter read to curl up with. Grab a glass of wine, snuggle up, and get comfortable, because you won't want to put this down until you finish.
BillieW 16 days ago
Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed. Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past. When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her. This is a brilliant read. Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start. Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable. Great suspense and action with wonderful world building that adds so much to the story. Can't wait to read more of these. Recommend reading. I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. This is my own honest voluntary review.
Anonymous 16 days ago
A super crime novel. A young couple are brutally murdered and, with suggestions that it might be a hate crime, Zander Wells of the FBI is sent to investigate. He soon discovers that the murders may have some link with a hanging many years earlier. The plot is well constructed and the pacing is excellent. A story begging to be put on screen, with a range of interesting, dangerous and engaging characters. Family secrets, dark pasts and even an understated romance, with a tense denouement. Excellent. (I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
MJHughes12 18 days ago
This is my first Kendra Elliot book and she certainly delivered a story full of mystery, suspense, intrigue, and just a hint of romance. This book had a darker edge to it due to the subject matter and I really felt that the it matched the Pacific Northwest setting perfectly. Right from the start I was pulled into the mystery surrounding the double slaying in the quiet Oregon logging town. As characters are introduced, it was clear that there was a mystery that runs deep and there are people who just wanted this case closed. And when it looked like there may be a connection to events of the past, things really started to get interesting…and dangerous! There are multiple threads to the story line, and I loved how everything came together at the end to tie up the mysteries from the current day and the past. There’s a hint of romance/attraction between Zander, the FBI agent, and Emily, the main witness, and I liked that the romance was kept at just an attraction level until the mystery was solved. Although there was a lot to keep track in this book, Ms. Elliot does a great job of organizing the plot to make it easy to follow along with what is going on and keeping track of who is who and how they tie into the story. Although I had ultimately figured out the biggest part of the mystery fairly early (lucky guess on my part!), there were twists and turns and a lot of other little things that took me by surprise and wrapped things up nicely. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the past history of the town and its residents and look forward to seeing where this series goes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery/crime thriller!
Jennspenn83 20 days ago
Was great to meet up with Zander and Ava agin! I enjoyed listening to this book! It was great hearing a story about Zander and Ava again. I look forward to more in this new series. And hopefully more about the rest of the group too! The story kept you guessing and the murder as gruesome as it was, was fitting for the story line. So many new characters and new love stories and family reunions. Definitely a must read/listen to that once you start you won’t want to stop!
scambra 22 days ago
The Last Sister is the first in the new Columbia River series by Kendra Elliot. FBI Agents Zander Wells and Ava Callahan are called to investigate a murder that could tie into one 20 years earlier. This thrilling suspense hooked me from the start with engaging characters, twisty mystery, and a bit of romance. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Look forward to more in this series!
whatsbetterthanbooks 22 days ago
Riveting, edgy, and suspenseful! In this compelling first instalment in the Columbia River series, The Last Sister, Elliot has written a tortuous whodunit where cases from the present and the past intertwine, suspects are in abundance, and deep-rooted racism runs rampant. The writing is taut and intense. The characters are vulnerable, persistent, and driven. And the plot is an ominous tale full of twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, corruption, hatred, murder, and a smidgen of romance. Overall, I would have to say that The Last Sister, is an intricately woven, provocative, highly entertaining mystery that’s a promising start for this new series with its nice pace, well-developed characters, and action-packed plot.
Sheremy2627 23 days ago
The Last Sister begins with a murder scene and immediately catches the readers interest. This scene was stumbled upon by Emily, whose father was murdered in a similar manner over two decades ago. As the story unfolds more questions arise than answers. Kendra Elliot has a way of building suspense. As I neared the end of this story I had to only read it during daytime hours because it put me on edge! The twists an unexpected turns led to a satisfying, and surprising, conclusion.
livlife 26 days ago
Who killed Sean and Lindsay ? and what does their death have to do with Emily, Tara and Madison's fathers death? Are they connected? It's up to Zander and Ava to delve into this mystery. There isn't a book that I haven't loved by Kendra Elliot she has the ability to grab a reader from the very start of the book and keep you interested. You get SO involved in the characters of this book that by the end of the book your hoping this is a start to a new series or even one more book! Loved the small town mystery with so many different layers as well as the main character Emily. I definetly recommend reading this book and any book by Kendra Elliot but plan to stay up all night reading because you will be hooked from the very first page!
toReadistoEscape 27 days ago
This was another well-written mystery. At the end of the book, there is a promotion to read the prior book with the story of how the two deceives met. I liked reading The Last Sister, but I didn’t like it enough to read the prior book. I received this galley from NetGalley.
Anonymous 28 days ago
I absolutely loved this book. I am familiar with the author, having read a number of books from her other series so I looked forward to this book and the start of a new series. I was not disappointed. As with all her books, from page one I was drawn in to the story, not wanting to put it down. I find her writing style fluent and articulate which makes it a pleasure to read and the story line was well thought out and intriguing. Emily, as the main female protagonist, is an interesting and likable character who finds the murdered body of her friend and, in a frightening reminder of her father's death, her friend's husband hanging from a tree in the garden. The plot then twists and turns, weaving the mysterious past of Emily and her sisters into the current day aspect of the story. Fascinating and gripping. Read it - you won't regret it!
MauCarden6 28 days ago
The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot succeeds on several levels. First off if gives us an updated look at Ava and Mason even though they still aren’t married. Will summer never come? Then there is the delight in knowing this is the beginning of a new Elliot series, so don’t worry if you haven’t read previous books of the FBI agents. Finally, this is a first rate mystery involving brutal murders, hate crimes, some zany characters and a missing sister. I am saving--at least for prior readers of the Ava Callahan and Mason McLane series--the best for last. This is Zander Well’s story; and what a story it is. Since this is the beginning of a new series, it does not matter is you have read the Callahan and McLane series. It starts with the hanging of a black man and the stabbing murder of his white wife. The woman who discovers the bodies, Emily Mills, also discovered the body of her father hanging from a tree twenty years earlier. Even though there seems to be no connection, Zander finds himself intrigued with both the earlier crime and the resulting tragedies. Emily lives in genteel poverty in a shabby mansion with her sister, Madison, and three zany aunts who are town forces to be reckoned with. Emily and Madison live with giant holes with their parents both dead and their older sister, Tara, missing since their parent’s deaths. Emily can not understand why and how these new tragedies connect with her own even though she is keeping secrets, both old and new that might provide insight if exposed to the light of day. However, Emily works with Zander and Ava to discover why history seems to be repeating itself. The Last Sister contains no red herrings, jaw-dropping events or twists just for the heck of it. This is a straight ahead police procedural and mystery with some surprises, none of which come from left field. They totally make sense and are part of a natural flow. Can you tell I’m not a fan of the big -reveal- just- for –the- heck- of -it books? As usual, Elliot does a terrific job in describing the setting; this time near where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific. I always have the same reaction to her varied Oregon series: I-want-to-go-there. Elliot’s characters always seem so natural to me. People I could be living next door to. People who could be populating any small fading town; except of course for the vicious murders. This is a terrific start to a new series. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
IMM011869 29 days ago
The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot Fast paced mystery with outstanding characters with interesting and unusual circumstances. Looking forward to Zander and Ava's investigative challenges in the future. Very good start to a new series. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
Teri1957 3 months ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No matter what book of Kendra Elliot's you pick up you will not be disappointed. She will calmly take you on the ride of your life as you traverse through the prose. Every one of her books is well written with interesting characters. This story has many secrets to wade through as you progress through the book. By the end you will agree that Kendra Elliot is one of today's most fantastic authors. Enjoy!
cherlym 3 months ago
Intriguing, thought provoking excellent mystery. This is **not** like the Mercy Kilpatrick series, Widows Island series nor the Bone series. This is book one in the Columbia RIver series and brings back Ava and Zander from the Callahan and Mclane series, and Mason pops up too. This takes place in Oregon as Emily finds a hanging, bringing back memories of her father's hanging. While Zander and Ava are called (by Emily) to investigate the reader finds out the hanging was of a history teacher, who is black, and married to a white woman, who was murdered the same night, stabbed. This is a true mystery with information from Oregon's actual past woven into the story, the KKK, Shanghai, etc. It's not really a romance, there is a connection, one that fits the book completely, and it is limited. This book shows family connections, interwoven with murder, kkk, and striving to protect loved ones. I was flabbergasted with the culprit. Did you guess who? Thank you Montlake, Kendra Elliott and NetGalley for the arc. I voluntarily leave this review. All opinions are my own and were unsolicited.
dcl55 3 months ago
The Last Sister by author Kendra Elliot is filled with secrets, mystery, and family drama. This is the first in a new series by this author. I have enjoyed each series Kendra Elliot has written and look forward to the Columbia River series. Emily Mills goes to check on an employee who has not shown up for work and is shocked by what she sees in the backyard. A body is hanging from a large tree and Emily is shaken to her core. Twenty years earlier she had seen her father hanging in the same way. The murder of her father was the beginning of her family being torn apart. Soon her mother would be dead and her oldest sister left home and has never returned or called. What secrets lurk in the past for these three sisters, Tara, Emily, and Madison? I won't post spoilers, but this story will grip the readers' emotions as the motives for murder are revealed. Since there is a possibility the murders are a result of a hate crime, the FBI is involved in the investigation. Special Agents Ava McLane and Zander Wells take an interest in finding the answers to the troubling coincidences and links of the current murder with the murder of Emily's father years ago. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and give my review of this book.
D-BookNerd1 3 months ago
Don't start this book late at night, or you'll lose out on sleep because putting it down isn't an option. Wow.. the characters in this book were hiding so many secrets, I had no idea who was the murderer until it was revealed by the author. Special Agent Zander Wells, and Special Agent Ava McLane are trying to solve a double murder, and it's bringing up a murder that is decades old. Add a skeleton into the mix and things are heating up for Zander and Ava. Edge of your seat reading, filled with mystery and intrigue and nonstop action. Absolutely loved my read!
dlvandruff 3 months ago
Emily lives in a mansion with her three great-aunts and her sister Madison. Tara the other sister disappeared on the night their father was hanged and their home burned to the ground. Living is a small town has it's perks, everyone knows each other and it gives a feeling of family. Lately, though that feeling has gone awry. She has discovered the bodies of her friend and her friends husband. Her friend has been stabbed repeatedly and her husband has been hung from a tree. The town has secrets. Secrets that possibly involve the klkk. Nobody wants to admit it but there is dark evil in this town. Hopefully the murderer or murderers will be found before someone is milled. Great book, interesting storyline, strong likable characters!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Just wow. This story starts immediately with Emily, the main character, being plunged into a murder scene of a friend and it bringing up bad memories of her father being killed in a similar fashion in the past. She goes against police orders and brings the fbi in. And more information starts to point to all these cases being connected. It has action excitement and even a little romance. The writing was captivating and characters all were believable and well written. Cannot wait for the sequel. And I totally did not predict who the killer was. At all!! Did not see it coming.
Lillian Maddocks-Cummings 3 months ago
Three sisters lost everything that they had when their parents died. Emily & Madison have tried to live their lives but there have always been so many unanswered questions about their father's murder and then their mother killed herself and their older sister Tara just disappeared. Now Emily has been dragged into another death and this time she might not be able to lie to the police. She can't believe that the Fitch's are dead and that Sean was found hanging just like her father all those years ago. She knows that this is a hate crime as they were an interracial couple but who would want to kill them? Everyone liked them but Emily knows that the racism underbelly in her town is very much alive but what are the FBI going to find? So when she is targetted she knows that it has to have something to do with her father's murder but why? FBI agent Zander Wells and Ava McLane are on the case and only because Emily called their office. They both don't agree with the sheriff this looks like a hate crime and when the autopsies are completed they both have their answer but why this couple? Zander knows that he shouldn't become involved with Emily especially as she is a witness and a target. What he knows that he has to keep her safe before he loses her. But who wants her dead? Another murder has just happened as someone is making sure there are no witnesses and old secrets will be revealed that will make sense to Emily & Madison and they will learn that their father wasn't always a nice man but can they move on from their tragic past? Will they be able to make peace with Tara after all of these years and try to mend their broken family? A great read. Most families have secrets but theirs was so sad and it destroyed so many innocent lives hopefully they can all move on now. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & the publishing house in exchange for my honest review.
Mags_louise 3 months ago
I was excited to learn Ms. Elliott was starting a new series after enjoying the Mercy Kilpatrick books so much, and I'm happy to say, The Last Sister is a real winner. As there was plenty of mystery and suspense. Not to mention some great twists and turns. And with a really engaging and varied group of characters, including FBI Special Agent Zander Wells, a terrific small town setting, big secrets and a very intriguing storyline involving hate crime and the KKK, I was easily absorbed throughout. And I would happily recommend it to others. **I was kindly provided with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Ms-Hurst 3 months ago
The Last Sister was good. That is literally all that came to mind when I finished reading it. It was good. It wasn't great. It wasn't bad. It wasn't something I would tell people they had to go and read but if they asked I'd say, sure. The best part are Zander and Ava. I want to know more about them. Ava especially since she barely appeared in this one but there seems like there is a lot there to unpack if you flesh it out. Maybe that was in another book. I may have to go back and read that. The underlying mystery and the connections between past and present are what kept me reading. However, it was the fact that you really do figure out what happened and have to wait a while to confirm it that ruined the ending for me. The OK...the sisters themselves. The younger ones, that is. The aunts? Could have seen more interaction between them. I mean, three old women who are not triplets but coordinate their outfits so they are all wearing the same color? There has to be some great relationship there. And probably some great fights, too. I wished there was more of them. The younger sisters were more cliche. The flighty younger one. The older one responsible for everyone. Seen it. Done it. The most unbelievable part for me was the relationship forming between Zander and someone who basically should have been a murder suspect. You just happen to walk ups on two hangings? Sure. Trust you right away. The interactions between them read as cheesy to me. Like the author was told to put a little romance into it and so they had to get close in a very short time. So, like I said. Good. I would read more of Zander and Ava as a team. Just my little opinion. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and Kendra Elliot for giving me the chance to express it.
booklover- 3 months ago
Emily Mills' father was murdered 20 years ago. She found him hanging from the tree in their backyard. This seems to have set off a chain of events ... her mother eventually committed suicide .... her older sister disappeared and hasn't been seen or heard from since. This night, her friends and neighbors were brutally murdered. The wife was stabbed multiple times, her husband was found hanging from a tree. It's like deja vu all over again. Emily and her sister have tried to forget their childhood plunged in murder, and this brings it all back. FBI Special Agent Zander Wells arrives in this small logging town along with his partner. As avid as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past. What he finds is that the sisters have secrets from everyone ...even each other. Some secrets are never meant to see the light of day. And not everyone is exactly the person they purport to be. This is a nicely paced, highly suspenseful murder mystery that kept me riveted from the very first page. Throw in a little romance and all the boxes got checked for me. The main characters are credible and some of the small town residents are quirky, friendly, fun. The accent is on the suspense, light on the romance. Many thanks to the author / Montlake Romance / Netgalley for the digital copy of this Romantic Suspense. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.