Cover Image: The Last Close Call

The Last Close Call

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Laura Griffin highlights the fascinating subject of forensic genealogy, and the way police use it to help identify potential criminal suspects in THE LAST CLOSE CALL. Through her signature descriptive prose, she quickly draws readers into a fast-paced, edgy story that oozes danger from beginning to end, making it extremely hard to put down. My recommendation is to carve out enough alone time to experience this one straight through and avoid all spoilers.

Rowan Healy is an extraordinarily successful, much sought after forensic genealogist who gave up a thriving career working with investigators tracing the family tree of violent offenders. The blistering pace of a heavy workload left her suffering from burnout at an early age. Now, she finds fulfillment in a thriving private practice assisting families seeking to reunite with missing family members as well as helping adoptees find their biological parents. The last thing she wants is to get pulled back into the darkness and violence of police work. Austin Detective Jack Burner is at a dead-end on a brutal rape and assault case that is eerily similar to a cold case that haunts him as he failed to solve it several years ago. The suspect in that case became known as the serial West Campus Rapist and if Jack's suspicions are correct, he's back and escalating to murder. At the end of his rope and desperate for any leads, Jack turns to Rowan for help hoping she can find some kind of lead through genealogy based on DNA evidence they have. After repeatedly refusing his requests, something Jack says touches Rowan, and she reluctantly joins the search for a killer. Rowan's unique research provides clues to a potential suspect's identity including the possible area of his lair, but they'll need the villain's DNA to seal the case. Can they apprehend him in time to save the next potential victim? Meantime, Rowan and Jack are fighting a mutual attraction neither wants to pursue for their own secret reasons. They may be fighting a losing battle on both fronts.

THE LAST CLOSE CALL is an intriguing, atmospheric thriller highlighting the promising potential for success with genealogy in policework. Many readers will identify with the subject matter in a personal manner having sent their own DNA off for potential matches. Griffin does an excellent job of utilizing the topic, weaving it into the plot line via believable characters maneuvering a fast-paced, twisted plot line. In a race against time, these characters are charged with identifying and capturing a potential suspect before he strikes again setting a dire tone from beginning to end. The author tempers the threat of danger with the promise of a romance between Rowan and Jack with sizzling chemistry erupting between them. Readers will have no problem falling for them while cheering the relationship on. In addition to several red herrings, Griffin ups the ante by slowly revealing perilous secrets Rowan prefers to keep to herself. Are they putting her life in danger?

Laura Griffin has penned a gripping, super intriguing romantic suspense thriller in THE LAST CLOSE CALL - one that's sure to appeal to fans of genealogy and crime fiction. Her expertise in creating fully fleshed characters deserving of readers' empathy is evident. Highly recommended to fans of suspense thrillers and police procedurals.

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Rowan Healy is a genetic genealogist who has stepped away from police work and is focusing her talents on helping adopted people find their biological relatives. Jack Bruner is a detective hunting a serial rapist and needs Rowan's help.

I loved the summary of this book - genetic genealogy is such a fascinating tool for clearing cold cases, and I'd love to read more books about it. As such, Rowan's internal conflict about working with the police rang hollow and felt a bit like manufactured friction. I did like the Rowan/Jack romance situation and would happily read more books by Griffin about this pair.

(3.5 rounded down)

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Rowan Healy left her job as a forensic genealogist because the work centered around brutal crimes leaving her burned out mentally and physically. Now she has a new business helping people such as adoptees tract their biological families. When an Austin Police Detective, Jack Bruner, appeals to Rowan for her special kind of help tracking down a serial killer, Rowan wants to do anything but get back in that line of work.

Jack has been tracking the West Campus Rapist for years obsessing over the cold case. When it appears this violent offender has come back and is escalating to murder, Jack will do anything to apprehend him this time. He uses all his charm and methods of persuasion to get Rowan’s help on the case. Rowan had a personal connection to one of the earlier victims and feels she cannot walk away.

Rowan uses DNA to track down the suspects mostly by connecting their DNA with relatives who have joined one of the popular ancestry sites. She goes all out working mostly around the clock often missing out on meals and personal hygiene. While working with Jack, they begin to form an attachment beyond professional; however, Rowan knows what Jack’s life as a detective is like since his personal life has also been swallowed up by his job, this case in particular.

Time is short as the WCR is stalking his next victims in not only Austin but San Antonio as well expanding his range. Rowan gives Jack a lot of mixed signals concerning a possible relationship between them while he is considering for the first time easing back on his workaholic tendencies. As the focus narrows on the felon’s background thanks not only to Rowan but a close friend who is a PI, the intensity ramps up for all concerned. While Ms. Griffin has written several well-done Romantic Suspense series, this book is a standalone and will please fans of her crime stories.

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Police procedural combined with a hint of romance, this was a unique story and I sped through it to see what would happen because though they knew who they were looking for thanks to Rowan’s genealogy research, the search for him was twisting and turning.
The story involves a lot about how genetics play in the investigation and hunting down of a serial rapist and murderer before he attacks again. Detective Jack Bruner enlists the help of genetic genealogist Rowan Healy to identify the rapist before he can attack again and then once she does, they are on the hunt to track him down. Rowan used to work with the police but she found herself burnt out so she started working for herself helping adopted people find their birth families, so her skills come in handy on this case, as it turns out the UNSUB, was adopted and he is a suspect in the fire that killed his adoptive parents and then he dropped off the radar.
There’s lots of surveillance and technique about how they go about catching a criminal which was interesting, but even more so was the geneology aspect of it all. The romance was secondary to the story.
Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for this eArc in exchange for my review.

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The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin is a standalone mystery thriller. I am a huge fan of Laura Griffin, as she is one of the best at murder suspenseful mysteries, police procedurals and a bit of romance.

Detective Jack Bruner is a dedicated cop who continues to be consumed for many years by a serial predator called the West Campus Rapist, who was never found, as he disappeared. 5 Years later, Jack is concerned that the rapist is back, with a similar attack, as well as a murder. Stumped, as he is at a dead end, unable to find any DNA or evidence; he learns about a former police genetic genealogist, who walked away from the job.

Rowan Healy is considered the best in helping investigators trace violent criminals who have eluded justice, which put too much pressure on her, being burned out; and leaving the police force. She now focuses her ability to help adoptees find their biological parents. Rowan meets Jack Bruner, who asks her if she would help him track down the rapist. At first, Rowan turns him down, saying she can’t go back; but a few days later, she learns the case Jack is working on, is something she cannot turn down (she had a friend who was attacked by the rapist years ago). Rowan uses her forensic genealogist skills to investigate the case, going back in time to find a possible suspect, who was given up for adoption by a 16-year-old woman.

They both work closely together, even if Jack wasn’t sure that Rowan would be able to help. In a short time, both begin to struggle to fight the attraction they have for each other. I really liked Rowan and Jack together; they were very likable characters, dedicated to their job, and you can’t help root for them to find the villain, as well as find a way to be together. Though each had different aspects of their work methods, they were both driven to find the villain.

What follows is an exciting, fantastic mystery suspense that keeps our attention from start to finish, with a bit of romance. The Last Close Call was a gripping and chilling thriller, with many twists along the way. Laura Griffin once again gives us a wonderful thriller, with a great romantic couple and wonderful secondary characters. If you enjoy murder mysteries, police procedurals, lots of intense action, suspense, with a touch of romance, you should read this book. If you have never read Laura Griffin, it’s time to start now, as she is an amazing writer for romance suspense.

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THE LAST CLOSE CALL was a very well-written thriller with the perfect amount of romance added in. From the beginning, I was hooked. I loved the relationship between Rowan and Jack and how they worked together to solve this case. The genealogy aspect was super neat and always amazes me. Overall, this is another exciting book from Laura Griffin that I can highly recommend!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape media for my ALC in exchange for my honest review.

This review will be shared to my Instagram account ( in the near future.

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It was quite an engaging and an entertaining read. Plus, the mystery was quite complex. I certainly didn’t figure it out!! I would recommend this to mystery lovers who enjoy a well described setting, good characters, some romance and a plot that offers a great puzzle to decipher.

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THE LAST CLOSE CALL is an enjoyable read, if just a little off the mark in quality for Laura Griffin. It’s no Teacer series quality, that’s for sure. Detective Jack Bruner teams up with a private genealogist, Rowan Healy, to finally capture the man that has been terrorizing the city. Rowan is reluctant at first, not wanting to be back in the dark side of police work, but is quickly drawn into chasing justice and closure for her clients and Jack’s case victims.

This book does move at a slower pace but I found the investigative aspect of the story a little more believable because of this. Detective work in reality often moves slowly and sometimes frustratingly, and while I normally prefer fast paced thrillers, this procedural for what it is worked for me. Good, but not her best.

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Cold case closures are on the rise thanks to the use of genealogy DNA sites. In this book, forensic genealogist Rowan Healy is building her genealogy tracing business when Austin detective Jack Bruner approaches her for help. A serial rapist is back on the prowl and police have no clues except for one DNA sample. Jack is hoping that Rowan can work her magic and find a genealogy match for their killer.

Suspense with a little romance thrown in makes this book by Laura Griffin a winner. I was gripped by the story and read the entire book in one sitting. Griffin is a master of police procedural books and this is no different.

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Rowan Healy is a forensic genealogist who has made a name for herself helping adopted people find their birth families. She used to work with the police but found herself burning out from the constant exposure to criminals.

Austin detective Jack Bruner is a dedicated cop who lives and breathes his work. He has been consumer for years by a serial rapist nicknamed the West Campus Rapist who committed a series of crimes and then disappeared. Jack is afraid that he's back. Not only did he assault a woman in Austin, but the assault escalated to murder in San Antonio. While they have little evidence, there is some DNA found at the site of one of the assaults.

Jack asks Rowan to go back to police work and help him track down the rapist not knowing that she was friends with one of the earliest victims. Rowan uses her skills to help him find the suspect who was given up for adoption by his sixteen-year-old mother. However, the suspect dropped off the radar after a suspicious house fire that killed his adoptive parents.

Rowan and Jack spend enough time together to start a relationship that neither is sure they want. Workaholic Jack isn't sure how Rowan can fit into his life. And Rowan doesn't know if a relationship with a workaholic who might draw her back into the sort of work that almost broke her would be a good thing for her.

I enjoyed this story which give a lot of details about surveillance and techniques for identifying suspects using DNA. I liked the two main characters and the relationship they built.

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This book is so unique. I have to say I loved everything about it and read it in one sitting, much to my chagrin. I did not want it to end! It is fabulous!

Griffin intrigues us with heinous crimes and the race to solve the crimes before there is one more attack. Her characters are always well-developed and researched for a realistic, pulse-pounding story.

The balance between the two main characters is brilliant; their energy and ultimate love affair are just as loaded with energy and heat. Both are strong and capable and together they are on fire.

I could gush about this book all day, but if you enjoy a crime story balanced with suspense, romance, and intricate detail for a realistic slant, The Last Close Call is the one to bring you all of that and more! Griffin brings a great plot with lots of twists in both the police procedural murder mystery and romance.

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The Last Close Call
Laura Griffin

Laura Griffin’s latest stand-alone The Last Close Call is one heck of a chilling thriller. A fast-paced novel about a woman’s and cop’s worst nightmare, a vicious sexual predator. The story takes place in Laura’s home state of Texas and stars Detective Jack Bruner and genealogist Rowan Healy they share top billing and are both really likable characters, hard workers, genuine and honorable and the audience will find themselves rooting for them to get together while they also root for them to find and stop the villain. As usual Griffin’s police procedural attention to detail is excellent and the genealogy aspect makes it really interesting as her readers learn a little about how researchers build family trees from DNA and in this case find killers. Fans of police procedurals, romantic suspense, the work of Lisa Gardner and Karen Rose and of this fantastic author will find themselves staying up late to finish this one.

Detective Jack Bruner has been tracking a sadistic predator for over five years without luck and now this rapist monster has escalated to murder. Jack needs all the help he can get before another woman gets attacked and maybe killed but he’s at a dead end. There is someone who can help him but he has to convince her.
Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy is the best of the best and in the past she’s helped the cops put some violent criminals behind bars but that only led her to sleepless nights and nightmares so she’s put police business aside to start her own genealogy business helping adoptees find their birth parents which is finally getting off the ground. Then she’s visited by a cop who wants her help finding a sexual predator and when she finds out what case he’s working on with she can’t say no, but she’ll have to keep her reasons to herself.
As Jack and Rowan race against time trying to find this killer before he strikes again they’re also fighting an almost all assuming attraction, they’re afraid what will happen if they give into it but it’s getting harder and harder to fight it.

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"A talented genetic analyst and a detective who's haunted by an elusive cold case team up in the new standalone romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy has made a name for herself by helping investigators trace the family trees of violent criminals who have eluded justice for years. But the pressure of police cases left her burned out, and she's shifted her focus to helping adoptees find their biological parents.

Austin detective Jack Bruner has spent his career successfully tracking down vicious criminals - with the notable exception of the West Campus Rapist, a meticulous offender in Texas who has never been identified. When the latest two victims come to light, Jack sees his target is escalating his violent behavior - and only with Rowan's help does he stand a chance of cracking this case.

Moved by Jack's dedication and the brutal details of the attacks he lays out, Rowan agrees to help. When her ground-breaking DNA research sheds new light on the criminal's background and helps them zero in on a search radius, Rowan and Jack must race against the clock to find a ruthless killer who's growing bolder the longer he evades the law."

Forensic genealogy is fascinating to me.

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I was introduced to this author through Berkley Romance. After I read a novel by Laura Griffin last year, I found myself going back to listen to her entire backlog of released books and am now all caught up and eagerly await her new police procedurals.

Forensic genealogist, Rowan Healy has experienced a career change. For years, she assisted the police to solve crimes, but when the all-consuming stress and pressure became too much, Rowan opted for a change. Now, Rowan is finding her stride and building up her clientele base. Income still isn't steady, but it's going and her peace of mind is worth every lost dime.

Jack Brunner has spent his career chasing the West Campus Rapist and he's certain the perpetrator is back. Stumped and struggling to convince others that the unsub has returned, Jack receives Rowan's name and while he's skeptical to ask for her help, he's hit a wall. As the two struggle to fight their attraction and instant friction, they are also both consumed by the case. Rowan thought she left this life behind, but has she?

Was this my favorite novel? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes. I found the character development in this novel to be less well-rounded than her other novels. Laura Griffin often makes nods to characters from her other books which I absolutely love. As I read her backlog, I loved guessing who would become the primary characters in her subsequent novel. In this story, I was intrigued by the case and enjoyed seeing the relationship between Rowan and Jack develop.

I am looking forward to reading her next novel!

A huge thank you to Berkley Publishing for granting me access to this title!

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Rowan is a forensic genealogist and has made a name for herself helping investigators trace the family trees of violent individuals who have eluded justice. The pressure is too much though, and Rowan is feeling burned out. She has opted to stop working with the police and is instead helping adoptees find their biological parents.

When shes approached by Detective Jack Burner, she ends up needing to use the skills from her past, and present to help solve his current case. As Jack and Rowan race against the clock to find the killer, they start to wonder if they are hiding secrets themselves…

I love a good romantic suspense, and this one delivered. I also like learning more about genealogy and the main character of this one was a forensic genealogist who works with the police. Despite being relatively young, she is burned out and struggling, but is still willing to help. How relatable is that? It struck a chord with me for sure. This book was captivating and entertaining. I enjoyed being sucked into this story and couldn’t wait for it to unfold. The twists were fun, and enjoyable. I found the romance to be realistic and truly believable. This was my first book by this author, but it won’t be the last, I can’t wait to read more!

If you are looking for an entertaining police procedural with a touch of romance, then check this one out.

Thank you to the publisher Berkley Publishing, @berkleypub, and Netgalley @netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Rowan is a forensic genealogist and works with the police. After years of working, she is burnt out. So she quits the police work and open a consulting business, she helps adopted people find their biological family. Sometimes is just someone estranged from their family and wants to reconnect.
Jack is a detective and gets a rape and assault case. It has the same pattern as a case several years ago that went cold. There was some DNA and he asks Rowan to help him find the perp. The cold case has always bothered him and he believes the new assault is the same person.
Once Rowan agrees, it's a race against time to find the assailant before he strikes again. When a murder down in San Antonio has the same pattern, Jack goes to check it out. He believes it's by the same person. But they have to find this person and test their DNA to be sure.

Great story. Some action. A little sex. Secrets. Rowan doesn't want to get involved with a cop but she feels a connection with him. Jack is too wrapped up in his work to have a relationship but he wants one with Rowan.

* Voluntarily read and reviewed for Netgalley *

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Rowan Healy, genetic genealogist, teams up with Detective Jack Burner to help catch a serial rapist. The rapist is escalating, getting more violent. There is only 1 scene where he left DNA, otherwise he has been like a ghost. Can they identify him before there are more victims? The suspense starts out on the first page and never lets up. The story is well told and there is a great cast of characters. This one was definitely a home run. Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.

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The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin immediately captivated my attention. The story unfolded at a rapid pace, accompanied by intricate details that added depth to the narrative. Although I yearned for a deeper exploration of the personal aspects in the conclusion, the ending still managed to provide a gratifying resolution.

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Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this title!

In The Last Close Call, genetic genealogist Rowan Healy teams up with Austin detective Jack Bruner to catch a serial rapist and murderer who has been terrorizing the state of Texas.

With a great balance between suspense and romance, The Last Close Call is another winner from Laura Griffin! I know our patrons will love this stand-alone novel as much as they love her perennially-popular Texas Murder Files and Tracers series. As one of the hottest names in romantic suspense (and one of my personal favorite authors), I will wholeheartedly recommend this book to our patrons and am already looking forward to Liar’s Point. 5/5 stars.

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Book was excellent. Rowan Healy is very talented genealogist and she is approached by Homicide Detective Jack Bruner. He’s got a serial case that really could use her help with. He’s certain she can help him. His friend tells him Rowan is the best.
She makes sure he knows she does it her way. It starts from the beginning.

So much more to come. Lots of twists and turns.
Must buy. Coming out October 24, 2023

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