Winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for best novel.


Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life:

A warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he'd been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing...

Undeterred by Hunt's threats or his mother's pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.

Traveling the wilderness between innocence and hard wisdom, between hopelessness and faith, The Last Child leaves all categories behind and establishes John Hart as a writer of unique power.


“A MAGNIFICENT CREATION, Huck Finn channeled through LORD OF THE FLIES."

- The Washington Post


This is a novel about blood - the blood of life and death, the blood of kin, the blood of the past...[it] RISES TO SERIOUS LITERATURE.”

- Richmond Times - Dispatch



- Providence Journal

“Hart once again produces a novel that is ELEGANT, HAUNTING AND MEMORABLE. His characters are given an emotional depth that genre characters seldom have, and the GRACEFUL, EVOCATIVE PROSE lifts his stories right out of their genre and into the realm of capital-L literature.A MUST-READ for every variety of fiction reader.”

- Booklist (starred review)

"With his best novel yet, the Edgar Award-winning Hart firmly cements his place alongside the greats of the genre."

- Library Journal (starred review)

"With the deft characterization of any good work of literary fiction and the subtle, satisfying plotting of a favorite mystery ... this page-turner wilts in your mind long after you've read the final page."

- The Atlanta Journal Constitution

"With hints of Salinger in the rebellious boy, and of Dickens in the cast of misfits and wounded men and women, it's a novel suffused with grief and poignancy ... It grips you by the throat and never lets go."

- Daily Mail (UK)

"Hart writes as if he is channeling William Faulkner, or perhaps collaborating with the Cormac McCarthy of the BLOOD MERIDIAN era ... On the one hand, you're afraid to turn the page; on the other, THE LAST CHILD is one of those rare books that you wish wold go on forever, such is the power and majesty of Hart's storytelling."

- Book Reporter

"Hart is an extraordinary storyteller ... following no formula or similar style except for the superior quality of his prose."

- Detroit Free Press