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The Last to Vanish

July 2022

Each time I picked up THE LAST TO VANISH by Megan Miranda, I immediately found myself caught up in the town of Cutter’s Pass, North Carolina, which sits along the Appalachian Trail. I felt the small-town vibe where everyone knows everyone and their history. Show up new to work in town and people take notice. In the summer, this quiet place comes to life as tourists go there to hike the trails, raft and commune with nature. If they find themselves staying at The Passage Inn, they will meet the manager, Abigail Lovett, who has been there for 10 years. It’s one of those places with a cozy lobby where you can grab breakfast and the staff is always ready to share a great spot for you to visit, a little nugget that will make your vacation memorable.

I start with the setting here since Megan sets up a vibe to the place that is both cool and sinister. Everything from how Abby’s bedroom is located in a locked-off area accessible only to employees, to the trails that have their own sense of foreboding, works to make this happen. What kind of a trail can you handle? Really?

This is a thriller --- and it does thrill. While the inn has its charms, it also has its secrets. Seven guests have disappeared during their stay: four fraternity brothers, coined the Fraternity Four, in 1997; Alice Kelly in 2012; Farrah Jordan in 2019; and, in 2022, Landon West, a journalist who was investigating the disappearances on the trail. The story of each disappearance is told backwards, starting with Landon. His story collides with that of his brother Trey, who has come to town wanting answers about what happened to Landon.

The book is told through the first person narrative lens of Abby, and she walks us through its five parts, each outlining a different disappearance. The storytelling amps up right from the start as Landon begins to investigate, while Abby both fights to protect the place she loves and collects clues.

THE LAST TO VANISH is definitely one of my favorites from Megan Miranda. Once I finished it, I wanted to go back and see what I might have missed. She’s pretty sly, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to see what she did to tell such a big story so well.

The Last to Vanish
by Megan Miranda