Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
The Last Con, a suspense novel by author Zachary Bartels, deals with some pretty dark themes, but the book manages not to feel overly dark, particularly where bits of humor are mixed in. Fletcher Doyle, a Christian and a former con man now on parole, needs all the skill he once wielded in the game to handle a new con job he’s been blackmailed into, especially when the safety of his wife and daughter are put at stake.
Speaking of the daughter, Ivy, she turned out to be my favorite character. It’s easy to make a child or preteen no more than a cute and crying victim when she’s put in a dangerous situation. Still, though Ivy isn’t invincible, she has spunk and uses her brain. Andrew, Happy, and Dante are more interesting characters in this spinning web where the reader is likely to be just as unsure as the characters are about who to trust. Some of the characters’ personal faith journeys are weaved in well, though in the end, I was more convinced about one character’s potential life changes than I was about Fletcher’s. The last fifty pages or so had me the most captivated.
Fletcher and Dante’s introduction to each other confused me somewhat. The narrator indicates that “Fletcher had never come across” Dante before once meeting him praying alone in church, but the two did indeed come across and speak to each other at a women’s shelter before that. I eventually took that to mean Fletcher didn’t recognize Dante when he saw him the second time. While I found the historical thread of the novel intriguing, I did get bogged down in some of the historical details filling the present-day characters’ conversations.
Also, there’s a bit of a “bad guy explains it all to them” technique used, which can be an easy way to tie up the loose ends of a mystery when the other characters couldn’t or didn’t otherwise figure the mystery out for themselves. However, while the villain does fill the others in on important details, I’m glad it didn’t turn into an all-out monologue.
Bartels is a new-to-me author I’d certainly read again.