Last Words by Michael Koryta is an interesting thriller. Markus Novak, an investigator working for a firm that defends wrongly jailed criminals, is asked to find out who killed a young girl some twenty years ago. The man who asks Novak to investigate the crime is not sure if he is as guilty of the crime as everybody says he is.
The whole story revolves around Trapdoor cavern. Sarah Martin worked there as a guide twenty years ago and disappeared. Expert spelunker and local crazy Ridley Barnes broke off from the search party and brought Sarah Martin's body back to the surface. All he remembers is something about a dark man.
Much like Trapdoor cavern, this story has a lot of meandering passages that may or may not lead to a worthwhile discovery. The characters, most of all Riidley Barnes, are original and quirky enough to keep the reader interested. However, I would not be surprised if many readers skipped a few pages here and there.
As for the title, it refers to the last words Mark Novak told his wife before she was murdered. Somehow, this (officially) unsolved murder is what motivates Novak to keep trudging along in the Sarah Martin case. You never do find out what really happened in the case of Novak's wife.
Last Words makes for a good read if you are a patient reader. As for being a summer or airplane read, it is not light enough nor fast-paced enough for that.
Other Michael Koryta Reviews
So Cold the River: suspenseful, mysterious, and well-written story
The Cypress House: Supernatural mystery. Once it gets to you, it is hard to put down.
The Ridge: set deep in the Kentucky woods where mysterious happenings surround a misplaced lighthouse
The Prophet: a must read for Koryta fans and mystery lovers
Rise The Dark: those who like novels sporting a touch of the supernatural, and characters who are willing to make momentous sacrifices for the greater good, will enjoy this novel.