“Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.
Sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives, Del’s, Hattie’s high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the Hattie behind the masks, and what happened in that final year of her life. . .
Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity; about the line between innocence and culpability; about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.”
I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman blog tour. The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is written by new author Mindy Mejia and published in the UK by Quercus Books. My thanks to Olivia Mead at Quercus for asking me to be a part of the blog tour.
When I read the blurb of this book, I just had to read it. Then I saw the cover design and heard the title and it was a foregone conclusion. Interestingly, this book is being released in other parts of the world with the title ‘Everything You Want Me To Be’. Having read the book I can see why it’s been called that but I much prefer the UK title. I think it works on so many different levels.
Anyway…regular readers will know that I have a penchant for Japanese and German crime fiction. What trumps both of those settings is my love of crime fiction set in small town America. I just LOVE IT! No, I mean REALLY LOVE IT!! I like to read books that feature a Sheriff, I like to see how the Sheriff copes with a major investigation with next-to-no high-tech resources at hand, I like to read about a small town crumbling under the suspicion of it’s neighbours. The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman was a great read for me and one I devoured in the space of two short days (I’m a slow reader, that’s quick!).
Hattie is 17 going on 27. She’s very different to her peers. She’s an actress and a good one at that. So good that her acting ability seeps into her everyday life and relationships. Each chapter is told from a different perspective; you have Hattie before her imminent demise. Sheriff Del Goodman who is a family friend of Hattie’s parents and is working flat out to solve the murder. And Peter Lund who has recently moved to the sleepy farming town of Pine Valley with his wife, Mary.
I really enjoyed the way that the story is built up. Each chapter provides you with that little extra piece of information that wasn’t known before. I found Hattie a very difficult character to like and I’m still not 100% sure about my feelings for her. At times I became quite fond of her and at other times she seemed to be the most unlikable character in the story. My favourite of all the characters was Peter Lund who may not be the popular choice among other reviewers. I felt Peter had ended up in a life that was not his and one he would not have chosen for himself, and I sympathised with him. His emotion felt very real to me. I also liked Del Goodman for his good, honest attitude and his battle with his emotions whilst trying to find the killer of his friend’s daughter.
This story is primarily a love story but it’s also very much about manipulation and those we choose to show our true selves to. Would I recommend this book? Definitely. I finished reading The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman several days ago and it’s still very much with me. It’s a haunting tale and heartbreaking in places too. Very much recommended.
Four out of five stars.
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia was published in the UK by Quercus Books on 9th March 2017 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Mindy Mejia received her MFA from Hamline University and published her first novel, The Dragon Keepers with Ashland Creek Press. She lives and writes in Minnesota. The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is her first book to be published in the UK.