Review: The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot

Posted February 2, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 22 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot
The Last Sister

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Columbia River #1
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Montlake Romance
Released on January 14, 2020
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

A gritty death with ties to a dark past, a family keeping secrets, and a small Oregon coastal town ready to boil over when a pair of FBI agents rush to get to the bottom of things.  Tension is high and the path to the truth has to twist and turn its way to the end before all is said and done.  I wouldn’t have it any other way when it comes to a Kendra Elliot book.  This one lived up to expectation and I’m thirsty for more.


The Last Sister is a standalone story in a new series.  It does spin off an older series, Callahan & McLane, with Ava McLane as one of the FBI agents in this story and trading places with her partner, Zander Wells, who gets his story now.

Emily Mills’ employee at the diner is a no-show.  When she goes in search of her waitress, she is confronted by a double killing that is reminiscent of her dad’s murder in the past.  She believes the local sheriff is in over his head and calls the FBI not realizing just what she has woken up in her own past.  She lost so much the night her father was murdered.  Her mother, unstable at the best of times, took her own life, and her older sister Tara ran off and never came back.  Her younger sister Madison shut down and goes about in a state of detachment.  Emily never told a soul what she saw the night her dad was killed and the house set on fire- Tara hadn’t been at a friends.  She had been there- in the woods behind the house that night.  And, now its happening all over again- the hanging murder, the hate crime affiliation, and even the attempt to burn the Fitch’s home.  She has to place her trust in cool-eyed and capable Zander Wells and his partner Ava to get to the bottom even if her sordid family history and secrets may come out after all this time.

Zander shows up in a small coastal town and finds a gruesome murder and the trail leads through some of Oregon’s darkest history with the Klan, White Supremists, and their legacy.  He knows the Mills sisters and their Barton family are at the center of it all some how even though a seemingly unrelated couple are the newest victims.  Ava says he’s getting too involved with his witness especially since she isn’t telling them all the truth.  He tries to keep it professional, but there is something about Emily Mills who calmly spotted murder and knew her way around a murder scene and who took up the reins to hold her family together in the face of tragedy that got to him.  He will find the truth and keep Emily- her sister and aunts- from becoming more victims.

I remember being how wowed I was when I picked up the author’s Mercy Kilpatrick series and learned about preppers and sovereign citizens for the first time.  This time it was how White Supremacist groups had shaped the area as well as a little with the logging industry.   She peels back more dark Oregon history once again in an insulated community on the coast.  Her setting, situation, and characters are colorful and alive.  Her suspense plot is immediate and palpable so that the reader is sucked in and kept close through the whole pulse-pounding story.

The focus is most definitely on the case, but there was no neglect of character and back story development.  I got to know both Zander and Emily well.  I could enjoy their subtle attraction and the beginnings of their romance.  The author didn’t try to do too much with that by pushing it faster or harder than the situation warranted.  There is a crime to solve and people are getting hurt so it worked best to focus on that, which she did.  Zander comes with some baggage that is sad so Emily is not the only one who has quirks that come with her.  I know it is just a small thing, but I liked that they found that level of understanding and empathy from each other.  In the background were Emily’s equally quirky family who were bright spots in the story and her sister Madison even shared part of the narration with Emily and Zander.

As to the murder mystery, I was tracking along and assembling my clues- even getting a lot of it right- but the actual culprit?  Not in a million years!  And, that last big climax scene kept me riveted with all my senses engaged.  Big money scene paid triple!

All in all, this was exactly my kind of romantic suspense even touching the history buff inside me while handling police procedure, forensic, and character development just right.  I can’t recommend this author enough for those who enjoy a good romantic suspense, emphasis on the suspense.

I rec’d this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #3
Literary Pickers #11 tattoo
COYER Winter Friends #31
Reading Assignment #3 Professor Genre- suspense
Romance BINGO #6  widower


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Carole Rae
2 years ago

Oooooo they got you with the big culprit! Fun! I hate when it is too easy

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

They really did. It was a great surprise.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

I was supposed to get a physical copy from the publicist, but it never showed, but I got a copy through Kindle Unlimited so it’s all good. I can’t wait to dive into KE’s new series since, like you, I loved the Mercy Kilpatrick series. I didn’t know the Klan was involved in West Coast logging. I thought they were mainly in the South or East. That’s a troubling thought. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one and as soon as I get through a few library audios, I’ll be listening to this one. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Oh no, but glad you had a back up plan. 🙂

Yes, it was fascinating in a dark way about learning that White Supremacy was rife in that state. I hadn’t heard of that either.

I’ll look forward to getting your thoughts on it.

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

Wow, that sounds good. What an awful thing to have happen to someone though. I haven’t read this author yet.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, there were some gritty moments. Great thriller stories. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

I enjoyed this but it was an odd story. The romance was a bit weird. I need to go back and read the Mclane series before the next book. But I really like this author.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yeah, the romance barely showed up. Too many secrets first.

I’ve picked up the first of the other series so I can start it. Hopefully it will be good, too.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
2 years ago

You know I really love it when an author tells stories inside the story. I love learning about how things really work or don’t. What a fantastic review Sophia Rose thanks. I haven’t read this author but you make me want to. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Agreed. I learn so much about things from her books and there are always a few storylines to follow without it getting out of hand. This is a great place to jump in since its a standalone story.

2 years ago

Oh yes I heard great things about this author and I should try one of her books

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

Most definitely, Melliane! 🙂

Lover of Romance
2 years ago

The more you read this author the more I am realizing how much I need to grab her up. I just love all the mix of mystery aspects that come into this story and how this author delivers.

Lovely review.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

She is seriously addicting. I’ve started the older series this one spun off of now. 🙂 I think you’d like her stuff, Renee. 🙂

Jenea's Book Obsession

I just came across this one on Amazon! After your review, I really need to pick it up now!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

It was a book temptation nudge, Jenea. 🙂 This is a good one and I definitely recommend her Mercy Kilpatrick series.

2 years ago

This sounds intriguing. I really need to start reading her books.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Nadene

As much as you love mysteries, I agree. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

Yay, I am glad to see you enjoyed this one too. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes, it was a great start and now I can’t wait to see what comes next.

2 years ago

Yours is one of a couple of reviews of this that i’ve seen and everyone enjoyed it soooo much! I so need to read this — every review is making it sound fantastic!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  verushka

Glad to tempt you in, Verushka! I fell in love with her Mercy Kilpatrick series and then her team writing of Widow’s Island. I had no qualms grabbing the first in her new series. Hope you like it if you get the chance. 🙂