The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman – Mindy Mejia

About the book: Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives, Del’s, Hattie’s high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the Hattie behind the masks, and what happened in that final year of her life. . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity; about the line between innocence and culpability; about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.

About the author: My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favourite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss.)

Note:  Book previously published as Everything You Want Me to Be.

My Review:  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as the reviews are pretty mixed but as it’s been sitting on my kindle for the past year I thought I should read it anyway.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman (or Everything You Want Me to Be as it was originally published by) is a very atmospheric and slow burning thriller.  Set in a small town in America, 18 year old Hattie Hoffman appears on the outside to have it all, she’s popular, beautiful, intelligent, witty and a talented actress who has just been given the lead role in the school play.  When she is discovered stabbed to death on the opening night of the play, the town is sent spiralling into shock and disbelief.

This book is narrated by the three main characters; Hattie who slowly reveals her true self to the reader and recounts the final year of her life; Sheriff Del Goodman, the police officer who discovers Hattie’s body and is a close friend of the family and Peter Lund, the new High School English teacher who has transferred from the City to this small town for his wife and her ailing mother.

Throughout the book I was constantly double-guessing and even treble-guessing who killed Hattie and why.  There were so many moments I was sure I had cracked it and worked out the truth behind this crime and each time I was completely WRONG.  The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is, in my opinion, an extremely atmospheric and suspenseful thriller which kept me turning the pages and utterly gripped.



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