Cover Image: The Last Close Call

The Last Close Call

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Member Reviews

The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin, is an intriguing, fast-paced, edgy story that conveys danger from beginning to end, making it extremely hard to put down. An exceptional story with lots of twists and turns, and a few red herrings, in this police murder mystery and romance.

Rowan Healy is a forensic genealogist who is burned out after helping investigators track down criminals by using DNA analysis and tracing family trees of criminals. This became quite stressful so she is now trying to focus on helping adoptees find their biological parents. Jack Bruner is an Austin Detective trying to catch the elusive West Campus Rapist, and contacts Rowan seeking her assistance in tracking down this elusive criminal before he finds a new victim. As Rowan and Jack work together on this case, the chemistry between them sizzles and sparks as they fight their attraction as neither wants to pursue more, for their own secret reasons; except, they just may be fighting a losing battle. As the rapist becomes more brazen killing a victim, Rowan and Jack are up against the clock, as the tension mounts and danger grows

Ms. Griffin wrote a wonderful, sizzling and suspenseful story that should not be missed. She provided a tale rich with sizzling chemistry, a dangerous situation, tension, mystery, detective work, a horrifying crime and a race to solve the crimes before there is one more attack. You will want to cheer on the relationship between Rowan and Jack. I highly recommend The Last Close Call to other readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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I really enjoyed this suspense filled story with a bit of romance. I loved all the thrills that Rowan and Jack get into throughout the story. I enjoyed learning some of the process that Rowan went through to help people find their family. I received a copy of the book from the publisher for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

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In The Last Close Call, Laura Griffin once again brings a romantic suspense filled with intrigue and danger, as well as a fascinating look into the lives of professionals who work with the police to solve crime.

It’s a fast-paced story that’s part suspenseful mystery, part police procedural, and part romance.

Rowen is a forensic genealogist who has sworn off the soul-crushing pace of police work for the more fulfilling task of reuniting long-lost relatives and families separated by adoption.

Jack is a violent crimes detective working on a cold case with a trail that just picked up and needs help identifying the perpetrator.

After coaxing Rowen to help with the case, sparks fly between them as the clues and crimes start accelerating.

What I like about Laura Griffin’s novels is that you can count on her for a quick read with a plot that moves forward with every page. Not only does she include police procedures throughout, she also includes scientific or legal aspects that are explained in a way that anyone can understand.

Sometimes the romantic attractions feel a little instant, but does that really matter when you’re working in dangerous situations and need to find a killer before time runs out? No, I think not.

In this case, Jack and Rowen are likable characters who have their own issues keeping them from wanting a relationship. Their chemistry is well-written, feels believable, and the tension simmers throughout much of the story.

If you haven’t tried a Laura Griffin procedural and like reading about crimes solved by science, this one is for you. It’s a standalone, has drama, twists and turns, and a nice romance to boot. Great for a first-timer!

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Jack Bruner has been searching for the West Campus Rapist for years. He’s long believed the perpetrator would escalate his crimes from rape to murder, so when the murder of a young woman matches the WCR’s MO Jack becomes even more desperate to catch him. Unfortunately, this criminal has been very careful about leaving an evidence trail. This is where Rowan comes in. In his desperation, Jack asks her to help find the killer’s identity.

As a forensic genealogist, Rowan can trace DNA back through a particular family tree and pinpoint the killer’s identity. She’s worked with the police in the past, but she was disturbed by the cases, and became burned out. Now Rowan tries to only take private cases where a person is trying to find out about or locate relatives for many different reasons. However, when she finds out that Jack is working to find the West Campus Rapist, she agrees. Rowan attended the college where the WCR attacked and assaulted a fellow student, and the event left a mark.

This case felt true to life, and it’s a crime that’s been committed over and over. Women, of course, are the targets. I was eager for this guy to be caught and brought to justice! I was on the edge of my seat as the story played out worried over the next potential victim!

I loved The Last Close Call! Laura Griffin features exciting new methods of solving crimes in her mysteries, like Rowan’s profession. I find forensic genealogy fascinating, especially since it’s become such an important tool in solving real life crimes like the Golden State Killer. But The Last Close Call was more than just following clues to find a killer. Jack and Rowan were both likeable and relatable characters, thrown together under dark circumstances. Although neither were looking for love there was an immediate attraction, instant chemistry, and I was fully on board with their romance!

I alternately listened to and read The Last Close call and recommend either version! Stephanie Németh-Parker’s performance was a wonderful, both female and male characters. I enjoyed her subtle Southern accent. I listened at my usual 1.5x normal speed.

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I love Laura Griffin’s police procedural novels with romantic suspense elements. Her newest The Last Close Call, delivered an engaging, suspenseful murder mystery with a clever Forensic genealogist. Grab a cup of coffee and see why I devoured The Last Call.

Last Close Call delivers a case involves a sexual predator. Griffin gave us a thriller with plenty of suspense, action and chemistry between Detective Jack Bruner and genealogist Rowan Healy. Set in Texas, fans of procedural novels won’t want to miss this one.

We learn that Austin, Detective Jack Bruner, has been perusing West Campus Rapist for the last five years. When the prep becomes active again, he reaches out to Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy.

Rowan Healy has made a name for herself by helping investigators trace violent criminal family lines using DNA. However, she is interested in stepping away from the criminal aspect and has been helping families, closed adoption children and more. Griffin did her research and gave an authentic tone to the forensics. Fans of CSI will love the vibes.

The case was an interesting one. As they edged closer to catching the sadist, the suspense and danger grew. I loved the chemistry between Rowan and Jack. Both tried to ignore it and the anticipation of the fireworks show did not disappoint.

Fans of procedural crime thrillers with a dash of romance will enjoy this standalone.

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Rowan Healy is a talented genetic analyst that used to work for law enforcement but has decided to help track down the families of adopted kids. Being one of the best in her field she gets tracked down by friends and asked for help with their cases, like Austin Detective Jack Bruner. She is unsure if she can trust Jack, but she puts her faith in him because one of her friends was affected by the person they are tracking.

Jack has spent his career tracking down dangerous criminals, except for the West Campus Rapist (WCR)who has not been identified, and rarely makes mistakes or leaves DNA. When Jack makes the connection with the last two victims he knows that the WCR is back and he knows that only Rowan will be able to help him track down the WCR. As they get closer to solving the case the danger and tension grows.

I really enjoyed this book and Laura Griffin manages to always write books that hit home for me. I lived in Austin for awhile and know where most of the places mentioned in her books are located. The first book of this series was directly related to me because of where the crime occurred and where I was living at the time. I cannot get enough of this series and always know I will sit down and get immersed in the world and crime of the book. The main characters of this book are both likeable and realistic. I like how their relationship is built on trust and it doesn't just happen, it builds. I highly recommend this book and this series.

Received ARC in exchange for voluntary honest review from NetGalley.

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*4.5 Stars On My Instagram Account*

"Not all predators show up with a ski mask."

The tension is palpable in the heart pounding The Last Close Call by suspense romance queen Laura Griffin. Reading and listening to this latest standalone from one of my favorite romance suspense authors I alternated between nail biting that the pathetic serial rapist wouldn't be caught before claiming another victim and swooning at the growing sexual tension between the smart nerdy scientist and the rugged handsome alpha cop.

Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy is burnt out from years of hunting down vicious criminals through her unique ability to track them through their genetic family tree; much like how The Golden State Killer was finally caught a few years ago. Just as she is starting her new career helping adopted and estranged families find each other, she is sought out by Detective Jack Bruner begging her to help track the notorious West Campus Rapist, who haunts Jack as the one that got away. He hasn't attacked in a while until now and his violent rage has escalated to a deadly outcome.

As Rowan and Jack work tirelessly to catch him they try to not act on the closeness they are feeling for one another. Jack falls first and you can't blame a girl for falling for a man that just wants to protect and serve. A round of applause to voice actress Stephanie Nemeth-Parker who seamlessly went from vulnerable victims, to a conflicted Rowan and then a determined Jack. She made it real and when Rowan's connection to the rapist is revealed she made this writer's words come alive. Though a standalone, I 'd love for this to be a series and not the last call on Rowan and Jack.

I received a free copy of this book/audiobook from the publishers via #NetGalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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📣 a new release from one of my fave romantic suspense writers!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

📖 tell me one of your lasts! The last time I had ice cream was last night; the last time I blushed was two weeks ago; the last time I finished a book was yesterday.

Sometimes I just want to dive into a story with more danger than usual, more mystery, the highest of stakes, & some kissing to balance it all out.

Laura Griffin has been one of my romantic suspense author mainstays for a while because the heroes are always alpha, the heroines are always smart, intrepid, & determined, they work together to solve the case, & they fall in love somewhere along the way.

Also, because of how many Laura Griffin books I’ve read, I’m proud to say that I am now a qualified forensic detective. (Just kidding. That is 💯 a joke. I am not qualified in any capacity).

Opening with a genuinely creepy beginning, The Last Close Call jumps into the action immediately. The premise of this one is quite jarring: there is a serial sexual rapist who—evidence suggests—appears to be murdering victims now. Detective Jack Bruner approaches genealogist Rowan Healy about helping with some research for the case.

I hadn’t read a genealogist’s perspective on police research before & it was quite interesting, particularly as DNA / genealogy sites remain so popular. I’ve used one myself TBH.

The mystery held my interest, & though I wasn’t totally blown away by the emotional connection between leads, there is eventually more emotional payoff.

In short, The Last Close Call is a solid romantic suspense, & while I wanted more from the romance (more emotionsssss, please), I always recommend Laura Griffin’s books for those of us who want that mix of mystery & kissing.

4 ⭐️. Out now!

CWs: this book includes rape & murder.

[ID: Jess’s white hand holds the ebook in front of a waterfall.]

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I’m really enjoying Laura Griffin’s romantic suspense thriller novels. Just as with her others, The Last Close Call starts with a jolt and the reader is immediately enmeshed in the characters and plot. Rowan’s job researching dna and family trees was a new, interesting view point for a main protagonist and I liked where that line of the story led. The connection between Jack and Rowan did feel a little abrupt, but it matched the quick storytelling and fast-paced investigation so I was able to easily move on from that quickly built relationship.

This was a quick read, which I like when I have only a few hours to read on a weekend filled with errands and activities. The mystery and atmospheric setting of back woods lots gave my imagination full rein to provide a few moments of jolts and thrills. I liked the brooding hero, but I’ll admit that Rowan was what made this book a success for me. Her line of work was really interesting and I liked that she she had skin in the game from her past personal connection 10 years ago. The romantic bits were just icing on the cake of an already interesting story. Each book I pick up by this author just cements a reason to pick up the next one.

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The Last Close Call is a gripping, engaging romantic suspense. Laura Griffin has a writing style that is a perfect mix of the detailed mystery and the romantic suspense that just calls to me and I'm always happy to be reading one of her books. With this one we get something a little different. The heroine, Rowan, is a forensic genealogist and Austin detective Jack Bruner contacts her to get her help on a series of cases involving a suspect who is escalating which leaves them with a ticking clock. I loved how much we get to learn of how genealogy can be used in this way as well as the intricacies of the case itself. This made for a really entertaining read. The Last Close Call is a slow burn romantic suspense and I highly recommend if you are looking for something to lose yourself in for a few hours definitely pick this one up!

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This is the first book I've read by Laura Griffin, and I've been missing out. Fellow fans of romantic suspense, make sure you're not making the same mistake. Rowan, one of the main characters in this one, is a genetic genealogist, and this societal hot topic has definitely made its way into books now (this is the second book with this focus I've read just this week), but most of what I have read with this focus have been nonfiction, so it's interesting to see how it's used in fiction (end result was solid to my non-expert opinion).

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Romantic Suspense is my jam and Laura Griffin is one of my favorite’s at writing these easy, fun, and thrilling reads.

Rowan Healy is one of the best forensic genealogist in Austin. She’s used to tacking down criminals and also helps people find their families. After years of no leads, Jack Bruner, an Austin Detective, has enlisted Rowan to help him track down this elusive serial rapist. As the pressure to catch the rapist/killer mounts so does the tension between Rowan and Jack. A killer might not be all they catch.

I so enjoyed this one. Both Rowan and Jack are great leads and I found myself really rooting for them but I just didn’t feel much chemistry between the two. Their attractive was also semi abrupt. However, as all Griffin’s books are, it was a fast read, and well written police procedural with just a sprinkle of romance added in. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

The Last Close Call is out now. Huge thank you to Berkley for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.

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Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy doesn't want to do police work anymore but keeps getting pulled back in. When Austin detective Jack Bruner contacts her she puts off helping until he shows up at her favorite watering hole. He's working a cold case that she is very familiar with because an old college friend was one of the victims of this serial rapist.

I like how strong both of these main characters are and how their relationship develops slowly, not revealing all their secrets right away. Their budding romance is definitely a big part of the story but in my mind secondary to the pursuit of a rapist and now murderer.

The police procedural here is very strong and we really get to see the nitty gritty, often boring part of finding a suspect. We also get a glimpse of of science and DNA is changing how law enforcement go about their jobs. The stress involved for everyone concerned is palpable.

If you like crime dramas, I highly recommend this book. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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✨ARC Book Review✨

The Last Close Call
Laura Griffin

Pub date: October 24, 2023

This is my first Laura Griffin novel and I really enjoyed it.

The West Campus Rapist was at it again after a five year hiatus. Jack, a detective on the case, was determined to make him pay for his crimes. The WCR was an expert in living off the grid which helped him to elude the police. Jack at a loss, enlisted the help of Rowan, who tracked down criminals using descendancy research.

To me it seemed as though an episode of Criminal Minds was playing before my eyes. (I love a good crime show 😍)

I really loved the DNA/genealogist side of this book. That type of science has always intrigued me, and to use it to try to track down a criminal was just perfect.

The little bit of a love relationship mixed into this book was a huge high point in my eyes. I enjoyed the different aspect since the crimes of this book were pretty heavy.

Thank you @netgalley and @Berkley for the opportunity to read and review this book!

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This one was hard to put down - I started it at the airport … read it on my flight … and came home and finished it . I really enjoyed the mystery and the romance . I don’t always like the two genres together , but I’ve found this author does a great job of writing Romantic Mysteries .

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While this is the 3rd book by this author I've read ,I'm realizing that I'm loving her romance Suspense, that with each turn of the page I'm always on the edge of my set, and that Laura Griffin's romance suspense books have a way with them that while the romance might seem slow ,it's actually perfect for her story line , because you get to see the characters slowly come together, plus she has a way of telling a story that makes you question everything that you find out about shorting characters, and let's not forget the twist and turns that come out of nowhere, and how she use and explains who and what a genetic genealogis is and how they can help the police with cold cases , while I've heard of them before I never understood what they did ,but even though this is fiction, the author shows that she's done exclusive research on what they are and has her character explain it in a way that the reader can understand,.

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Laura Griffin always has me at the edge of my seat, gulping down the words as fast as I possibly can. I read this book in a single day. Needing to know the outcome of the case that Jack Bruner has been working on for years. The rapist was active and suddenly went cold for five years. Jack thinks he is back, and he is escalating past rape. They are low on clues, and he is willing to ask for help outside of the station. In walks Rowan, a genetic analyst who can take DNA and trace it back to their families. Rowan is an expert at fitting pieces of the puzzle together. Will she be able to find out anything about this rapist who has been haunting Jack and the towns he is feeding on?

I loved the characters. They are multi-dimensional. They have a history that leaks out over the course of the book. As soon as Rowan locked eyes with Jack she knew she was in trouble. I loved that it added another layer to the story. Emotions running high on every level. Thank you to Laura Griffen and Berkley Books for my copy of this fantastic thriller.

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I'm fascinated by the heroine's job, and I enjoyed this one!

Rowan Healy is a genetic genealogist. She formerly used her skills to help law enforcement, but the trauma of the cases caused her to burnout, and leave that type of work. Now she uses her skills to help adopted people find their birth parents. She's finally getting her new company off the ground, when she gets an unexpected request for her help that she can't seem to refuse.

Jack Bruner is an Austin detective, and he's been chasing this bad guy for years with no results. He goes to Rowan and begs for her help, as a last ditch effort to find his suspect, and he can't take no for an answer. But, he doesn't expect the feelings he begins to have for her.

Jack and Rowan had a great connection, but both were pretty guarded, due to past experiences. Jack definitely fell first, which I love, but he's a workaholic, and that definitely got in his way more than once. Rowan always kept things close to the vest regarding her past, why she did this type of work, and why she walked away from it before. I enjoyed them slowly peeling back the layers on each other's feelings.

The suspense plot here was fascinating, and it also didn't go quite in the way I thought it might, which was both good and bad. Good, because it kept me guessing, but bad, because occasionally I felt some things jumped up out of nowhere, with no real way to anticipate them. Also, I would've liked to know about Rowan's secrets earlier on in the story, as the reader, even if she wasn't ready to tell them to Jack. In the end, we found out when he did, which I found a bit oddly timed. Overall though, I found it believable, and I loved seeing Jack and Rowan cement their relationship at the end.

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This is the latest suspense novel from Griffin and it is intriguing from the very beginning. Not only is the genetic genealogy field intriguing but the characters are people you want to know better and you want to see where their relationship is headed. The ending is predictable but leaves you hopeful Rowan and Jack team up on further cases. The search for the rapist is intense with a twist with his biological father.

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Read this as a really good procedural with a dollop of romance. Rowan Healey has stopped working genealogy for the police- it's gotten to be too much- and now she's working for families. But then she gets a call from Detective Jack Burner who is trying to apprehend and convict a rapist who is now murdering. Rowan's skills combined with Jack's make them a powerful team. You'll learn a bit about advances in how DNA can be used to identify criminals. There isn't, to be honest, a palpable chemistry between Rowan and Jack (except for their desire to stop the criminal). That said this is a page turner. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A standalone from Griffin is a treat and this is a good read.

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