The Last is a murder mystery cloaked in a post-apocalyptic thriller. American Jon Keller is stranded in a Swiss hotel along with 20 others after nuclear explosions destroy much of the United States. As weeks pass, Keller chronicles the group's struggle in a journal he cannot know will ever be read. Then, on the 50th day, the body of a young girl is discovered in a rooftop water tank. Keller becomes obsessed with her death and decides to uncover the murderer, who must be among them. The Last is elevated from a typical closed-room murder mystery to something more existential. As time goes by, the once orderly group begins to disintegrate, and individual survival is paramount. This tightly plotted dystopian murder mystery asks how far individuals are prepared to go to survive in post-apocalyptic times.
-Cindy— From Cindy's Recs
For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.
Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.
Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.
As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?
About the Author
Hanna Jameson is the author of the London Underground mystery series the first of which, Something You Are, was nominated for a CWA Dagger Award. She lives in London.
“An unusual thriller in which Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None collides with Stephen King's The Shining and Nevil Shute's apocalyptic chestnut On The Beach. . . . The Last tells a story readers will get lost in.”
— Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
“A brilliantly executed novel…the questions Jameson poses—who will be with you at the end of the world, and what kind of person will you be?—are as haunting as the plot itself. This is a chilling and extraordinary book.”
— Emily St. John Mandel, bestselling author of Station Eleven
“A clever, original, scarily plausible white-knuckle read.”
— Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
"The Last is impossible to put down. Nuclear apocalypse meets murder mystery, with an amazing cast of characters. It's Stephen King meets Agatha Christie, in this fantastic and highly original novel that I'll be recommending to readers for a long time to come. I loved every second of it! This is *the* book of 2019."
— Luca Vesta, author of Dead Gone
"Ms. Jameson writes about the end of the world with the authenticity of one who has witnessed it and come back to tell the tale. Her characters are complex and compelling, and she depicts group and survivor psychology with deft and empathetic detail. The plot is gripping, and thoroughly and frighteningly believable. I could not put this book down."
— Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters
"Dark, original, compelling."
— CJ Tudor, author of The Chalk Man
"Reminiscent of The Shining. Jameson delivers an eerie and unsettling tale, made even more so by its frequent mundanity. . . . Propulsive reading. . . . A thoughtful page-turning post-apocalyptic tale."
— Kirkus Reviews
"[An] engrossing post-apocalyptic psychological thriller. . . . Jameson asks powerful questions about fear, community, and self-interest while exploring human interactions that range wildly from the tender to the brutal to the purely mercenary. She succeeds in evoking a palpable, immanent sense of tension in a story that’s equal parts drama and locked-room murder mystery."
— Publishers Weekly
“This genre-bending novel neatly embraces dystopian fiction and murder mystery, with the Omega Man starkness of the former and the requisite twists and turns of the latter.”
— BookPage, Top Pick
“Part mystery, part apocalyptic, The Last is a mind-bending reading experience. Jameson writes a quiet kind of suspense, where tension ebbs-and-flows between mild discomfort and heart-pounding terror.”
— The Brazen Bull