2 Sentence Summary
The Last Thing He Told Me is a best-selling mystery novel by Laura Dave about a woman named Hannah whose husband Owen disappears after being investigated for a crime. The novel is fast-paced and full of unexpected plot twists.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
Actual Book Length: 320
First Published in: 2021
The book has been selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, with an Apple TV adaptation in the works.
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the book The Last Thing He Told Me:
Part 1 – Fraud, Mystery and Intrigue
Hannah is stunned when she discovers that her husband Owen has vanished on the same day that the FBI and SEC raided The Shop, the company where Owen works, for fraud and embezzlement. The CEO, Avett, has been arrested, and Owen is expected to be indicted as well. Bailey, Hannah’s stepdaughter, discovers a duffle bag filled with cash that Owen left in her school locker. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that Hannah and Owen met two years ago through Avett, who was a client of her interior design and woodturning business. Despite her attempts to connect with Bailey, they haven’t been successful.
As Hannah tries to make sense of the situation, she reaches out to her ex-fiancé, Jake, who agrees to serve as her attorney. Soon after, Grady Bradford, a U.S. Marshal, arrives at her doorstep looking for Owen. Two FBI agents also show up later, but Grady seems to be working independently. It strikes Hannah as odd that Grady is based in Austin, Texas, and she begins to recall conversations with Owen about the city. Bailey also vaguely remembers being there when she was young.
Hannah’s search for answers becomes more urgent as she realizes that Owen may have had something to do with the suspicious circumstances. She teams up with Grady to investigate the case and uncover the truth about Owen’s involvement. As they delve deeper into the case, they discover startling evidence that could change everything they thought they knew. With each new development, Hannah is forced to confront difficult truths about herself and those she loves, including Owen and Bailey.
Part 2 – Uncovering the Truth
Hannah and Bailey travel to Austin to investigate Owen’s connection to the city. They discover that Owen’s real name is Ethan Young, and that Bailey’s real name is Kristin. They learn that Kristin’s mother, Katherine Smith, was killed in a hit and run when Kristin was a toddler. Owen blamed the incident on Nicholas Bell, his father-in-law and lawyer for a major crime syndicate.
Owen provided evidence that put Nicholas and other syndicate members behind bars before he disappeared with Kristin. When the news of The Shop scandal broke, Owen went into hiding again for fear of his new identity being exposed. After uncovering this information, Hannah realizes the urgency of getting Bailey out of Austin. However, Bailey disappears before Hannah has a chance to speak to her.
Hannah is left to wonder where Bailey has gone and what her next move should be. She is faced with the challenge of finding her stepdaughter and navigating the dangerous situation they have found themselves in.
Part 3 – Finding a Way Forward After a Decade-Long Mystery
Grady ultimately reveals that he helped Owen disappear a decade ago and sends people to find Bailey. Hannah refuses Grady’s offer to enter WITSEC and instead arranges a meeting with Nicholas through Charlie. She negotiates a deal to keep her and Bailey safe in exchange for Nicholas having a relationship with Bailey, but Owen cannot be involved. Hannah accepts the deal, knowing Owen would want what’s best for Bailey.
The book jumps ahead several years, where Hannah is preparing for an exhibition of her work when Owen briefly stops by. Bailey arrives with her boyfriend and refers to Hannah as “mom”. The story ends on a hopeful note, with Hannah, Owen, and Bailey finding a way to move forward and embrace their new lives.