Today I am thrilled to share my review of The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman, the first novel by Mindy Mejia to be published in the UK. This is a crime thriller which I had heard great things about so was eager to read it and find out what just what had happened to Hattie Hoffman.
‘I knew exactly who I was – for maybe the first time ever – and exactly what I wanted and what I had to do to get it. It was clarity. Like waking up from a dream where you thought things were real and then feeling he actual world come into focus all around you.’
The focus of this story is teenager Hattie Hoffman, who is found brutally murdered on the opening night of her high school play. And growing up in a small town in Minnesota where everybody knows everybody, Hattie is certainly a familiar face. Everyone knows of Hattie, and she is a girl who seemingly has it all – doting parents and close friends along with being academically gifted and securing the lead role in the school plays. But when Hattie is found stabbed to death, it becomes apparent that people may not know anything about her at all. This novel recounts the events leading up to her death and the narrative alternates between three voices – Hattie, Peter and Del (the investigating officer). I enjoy novels told using different points of view and this worked really well here in helping piece together the mystery surrounding Hattie’s demise.
‘Sometimes acting is a disease, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t know what it’s like to be healthy.’
I really enjoyed this book having been gripped from the start and I managed to finish it in just a couple of sittings. The novel opens with Hattie’s version of events where we discover she is running away which immediately raised lots of questions as to what she could be running away from. And as the story switched between the different narrators, more little pieces of information were revealed at just the right time to enable the reader to piece together Hattie’s story. I thought this was really well structured and paced and the gradual reveal of information was expertly done. It is difficult to describe the story without venturing into spoiler territory but I can say that Hattie’s’ relationships are key, and the complicated nature of certain relationships has a wider affect within the small community. As a result there were a few potential suspects and I found myself changing my mind a few times along the way as I tried to deduce who was responsible. This intrigue built up to a gripping conclusion, and by the time I reached the closing chapters I was desperate to uncover the truth about Hattie, and the person who took her life.
‘You say you’re just acting, but you’re fracturing yourself into a thousand pieces, and every time I see another piece, you’re gone again. You turn into someone else a crowd of someone else’s, and it makes me wonder if there is any such thing as Hattie Hoffman.’
The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman is an expertly written thriller that kept me gripped throughout. It is a story which explores themes of love and obsession, of manipulation. And it reveals how those we think we know can hold on to many secrets, concealing a truth that has the strength to tear a community apart. An exciting and atmospheric thriller.
The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman was published on 9th March 2017 by Quercus Books. Many thanks to Olivia Mead at Quercus for providing a copy for review.
This review is written as part of the blog tour for The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman. You can follow the rest of the stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below.