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Bending the Spine

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: The Last Noel by Heather Graham



With a storm paralyzing New England, the O’Boyle household becomes prey to a pair of brutal escaped killers desperate to find refuge.
Skyler O’Boyle is convinced the only way they can live through the night is by playing a daring psychological game to throw the convicts off their guard. Threatened by a pair of Smith & Wessons, she has to pray that the rest of her family will play along, buying them time. Her one hope for rescue is that the men are unaware that her daughter, Kat, has escaped into the blizzard. But as the wind and snow continue to rage with all the vehemence of a maddened banshee, her prayers that Kat can somehow find help seem fragile indeed.
When Kat stumbles on a third felon, half-frozen and delirious, her shock deepens, because she recognizes Craig Devon immediately. What is the onetime love of her life doing back in town - and in such company? With the threat of death hanging over the O’Boyles, Craig is desperate to unload a vital secret that could change their destiny. But can he trust Kat with the truth? Because one false move and everything he’s sacrificed will shatter - and this could be everyone’s final Christmas alive.


Audio CD, 0 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged (first published 2007)
ISBN: 1423343891 (ISBN13: 9781423343899)


I have been intrigued by Heather Graham for some time, and wanted to check out something of hers, so I literally checked out an audiobook from the library and set to it.

I love suspense novels.  It is kinda like my bread and butter, the core of myself as a bookish nerd.  I have been reading this genre since I was a wee lad (said in my best Irish accent…read the book and you’ll understand.  Better yet listen to the audiobook!)—John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Terri Blackstock, among others.  I like finding new authors in a genre I already love, as well as new genres altogether.  I was happily satisfied with The Last Noel and will add Graham to my must read authors!

We got all the dysfunctionally functional family, uber bad guys, the craziness of a holiday, and forces or Mother Nature needed for a fun nail-biter.  From the start, you know this is going to be good.  The story is told from a narrator’s POV and you hear the thoughts and yearnings of many of the family members throughout the book.  It’s a great way to tell a very intricate story like this with so many different players.

Uncle Patty is my favorite character, and I honestly can’t put my finger on why.  He’s the comic relief, and a little eccentric, and a ton of fun.  He lightens the mood on an otherwise dark story.

The family dynamics and the way they work together and love each other in their own ways was very real.  I like that they we’re perfect or Rockwellian (spellcheck says that isn’t a real word…hmm…does it make sense, do you know what I’m trying to say there?).  Their flaws, however small they may be, made them real people with real fears and real hopes and dreams.  People you could connect with.

My real issue is with Craig.  And the ending.  Let’s start with the ending (and the prologue because that counts as ending).  It was too happy.  Not that everything was perfect in the end, but it was just, well, I couldn’t relate to it.  I could see myself responding the same way the family did through the entire story, but then felt that I wouldn’t have done what they did at the end.  It was too neat and pretty.  And prologue, it was even happier.  Very Hallmark movieish.  I liked one point where things happened, and were over, and it just kinda came to a stopping point.  That was a good place to stop.  I didn’t need the rainbows and butterflies ending.

Craig is a whole issue in itself/himself.  I don’t feel (and maybe I missed something) that his story was really explained.  The whole “why he’s there” issue was not something that I remember hearing, so if I missed it, please let me know!  It seems very convenient that he was there being who he was and how he knew them all.  Anyways, so I can’t take off for this, since I might have been the one that missed it, but still, I needed to throw that nugget at ya.

4 Trees: This one’s not getting coal for Christmas!

Get to reading,


  1. I'm not usually interested in reading Christmas-themed books, but this one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Suspense TEARS MY NERVES UP. Oh my gracious, I'd have no fingernails left, even with a pretty cover. But you ROCK THAT GENRE. You do that. :)


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