Her Last Day (Jessie Cole)
by T.R. Ragan
Cover Artist: Design: Damon Freeman
Review by Mel Jacob
Thomas & Mercer Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781542046060
Date: 24 October 2017 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Ten years ago a young woman disappeared and the mystery still haunts her sister, Jessie Cole. At about the same time, a man died in an automobile crash while Ben Morrison, a passenger, survived but with no memory of his life or name. Fate brings the two together to find out what happened.
Jessie Cole works as a private investigator. Ten years ago her sister mysteriously disappeared and no trace of her was ever found. She left her young daughter with Jessie for the evening and Jessie had no choice except to raise the child. Now Jessie works as a private investigator to locate missing people.
Her present case involves someone stalking a woman. Jessie has identified the man. He has a gun and takes aim at her. She pulls her own weapon and shoots, seriously injuring the man. The police arrest Jessie for the shooting and jail her. Colin Grayson, a police detective, was once her lover while estranged from his wife but Jessie broke off the relationship. He now comes to her rescue by promising to pick up Olivia, Jessie's niece, and also her dog.
After Jessie's dad pledges his home for her bail, she is released. Back in her office, she is contacted by a worried father about his missing Goth daughter.
A serial murderer, the Heartless Killer, is active in the area and Detective Grayson feels helpless as the police try to anticipate where and when the man might strike next. The killer leaves the dead victims minus their hearts in different places. Most of the victims are females with only an occasional male.
When Ben sees a televised report on the shooting, it includes a picture of Jessie's missing sister. A shock of recognition hits him despite his not knowing her in his present life. He resolves to contact Jessie and learn about the sister in hopes of recovering his lost memories. Reluctantly at first, Jessie agrees to work with Ben because he remembers her sister.
The different cases all converge as Jessie, Ben, and Colin strive to solve their individual mysteries.
T.R. Regan provides a complicated mystery with plenty of atmosphere, gore, and dead bodies to satisfy readers. This is not a cozy, but a hardcore mystery with a variety of victims, an egotistical killer, and a high powered ending. She builds sympathy for Jessie and Ben and even some understanding of what made the killer so cruel.
Ragan also is the author of the Lizzy Gardner Mystery Series, Faith McMann Trilogy, romantic suspense novels, and time travel and contemporary romances.