I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kendra Elliot’s The Last Sister.
Title: The Last Sister (Columbia River #1)
Author: Kendra Elliot
Published on: 14th January 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
A husband-wife pair is found murdered in the town of Bartonville. The man was stabbed to death in the bedroom, his body dragged outside and hung on a tree. He has a hate symbol sliced into his forehead. An upside-down triangle inside a larger triangle.
Twenty years ago, Emily Mills found her father’s dead body – he was killed and hanged. And now, she found the Fitches murdered. The county Sheriff, Greer, refuses to believe Emily’s doubts – her father’s murder might be connected to that of Fitches. Emily calls up the Portland FBI and Special Agents Zander Wells and Ava McLane are sent to investigate.
The Last Sister is the first Kendra Elliot book I read and I loved it! Absolutely loved it! The suspense and the storytelling keeps you hooked on until the end!
Plot to Story Development
Is Emily right in saying that her father’s murder and Fitches’ murder are related? If yes, then hate crime in Portland still exists. This also means the KKK are around – they might be in Bartonville too.
As the story proceeds, the killer turns out to have a sinister motive. It goes without saying that the murders are related to racism. The Mills’ family are well-known for their tragedy. Emily’s father was found murdered. A week later, her mother committed suicide. A day before her mother’s death, the eldest sister Tara ran away, never to return to Bartonville again. The Barton sisters – great-aunts of Mills’ – Emily and Madison now live in the dilapidated Barton Mansion.
Tara’s role takes the story to a whole new level. Emily’s dad’s missing pocket watch and Madison’s snoopy-ness adds a touch of eerie mystery to the story. Racism, the KKK group in Portland and an old, unsolved murder case – all weaved to form a brilliant mystery.
The Mills family’s tragedy is heart-wrenching. The two sisters – Emily and Madison – cope up on their own. Emily saw Tara on the night of her father’s murder. But Tara told the police that she was at her friend’s place. Madison saw Emily pick up something from near her father’s dead body – is it the pocket watch?
Ava and Zander share quite a bond. Ava understands that Zander has a soft corner for Emily so when Emily is called in for questioning, she takes charge of the interview. Zander’s curiosity and dedication in solving the case is well explained. The teeny-weeny sparks between Zander and Emily bring a touch of romance in this mystery-suspense. I am not going to say much about this next character, except their name, because they play a major role in the second part of the story. Alice.
I did not see the twist coming! Phew! It was pretty obvious since the beginning that the murders were related to hate crime. But who? Who would have killed them in such a brutal manner? And why? The ending does justice to all the suspense and tension built throughout the story.
The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot is a riveting mystery. If you love to read books of the genre mystery and suspense, I highly recommend you to read The Last Sister.
Q&A with Kendra Elliot
Hello Kendra. Welcome to The Book Decoder. Tell me and my readers about yourself.
Thank you for having me! I’m a mom to three daughters, fourth generation Oregonian, and live in the Portland area. I’m also a mom to three cats and love to read anything I can get my hands on.
I decided to try writing a book in 2006. I joined local writing groups, took online classes, and bought how-to books to learn the craft. I sold my third attempt in 2011, and it was published in 2012 as HIDDEN. Since then I’ve sold over 7.5 million books and had a series optioned for TV.
Let’s talk about your latest book – The Last Sister. How did this idea of starting a new series (including characters from your other series) come about?
I was getting burned out on writing my Mercy series. My editor told me my publisher was ready for something new and asked if I would write a domestic thriller as a stand-alone book. I thought that would be easy enough. It wasn’t. I struggled and struggled to get this book about three sisters and murder off the ground. Finally, I decided I need a law enforcement perspective and the police procedural structure that I was accustomed to. It made sense to use Zander Wells from my Callahan series. He’d been a prominent secondary character, and my readers had begged me for years to write his book. So I killed two birds with one stone. My readers love to see old characters turn up in new books, and I like revisiting them while I write. All of my books are police procedurals set in Oregon, so the investigators’ paths often cross with the same people.
How does a day in Kendra Elliot’s life look like?
It’s not very exciting. I typically wake around five. I feed the cats and bring my coffee back to my bed where I catch up on the news, emails, and social media for the day. If it’s a writing day, I write 2000 words at a nearby coffee shop and am usually done by 1 PM. After that, the day is mine. I’m currently house hunting, so I’m getting my house in shape to sell and combing home listings for that perfect home. It’s proving to be elusive.
What’s next for Kendra Elliot? Any new books or series in the making?
I recently turned in the second Columbia River book, THE SILENCE. It will be out next fall, and it features Ava and Mason from my Callahan & McLane series. The third book will feature Mercy and Truman from my Mercy Kilpatrick series. I’m also in the midst of writing the next Widow’s Island novella in the series that I write with Melinda Leigh which will also be out next fall. I’m not sure what will come after book three in the series. Either I’ll write a fourth or start a new series. I introduced a new character at the end of my last Mercy book, A MERCIFUL PROMISE. She’s a search and rescue dog handler who lost one leg below the knee. I’ve considered giving her a book or a full series.
What’s next for Zander Wells and Ava McLane? Can we expect a lovey-dovey romance between Zander and Emily in the future Columbia River books? *Wink Wink*
Zander has a secondary role in THE SILENCE where he works with Ava on a new case. His relationship with Emily progresses, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything lovey-dovey, have I? lol. Long time readers will be pleased that I tie up some character arcs from my Callahan & McLane series. That wedding you’ve been waiting years for will finally happen, and you’ll learn what happened to Ava’s nutty twin who disappeared to Costa Rica with a younger man.
Kendra, thank you so much for answering my questions. 🙂
There is a giveaway for this tour. Although I am not hosting an individual giveaway, the other participants in this tour are. The full blog tour list is here. Do hop on to their blogs.
Many thanks to Jennifer from Over the River PR for the blog tour invite. 🙂