The Last Summer Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Last Summer

NAL, Aug 2003, 12.95, 342 pp.
ISBN: 045120882X

At thirty-nine, Claire Maleck knows her life in DC is over as her affair with her boss, repulsive Senator Bob Mallory has ended. Knowing she needs to start over, Claire, accompanied by her teenage daughter, drives to Boston to stay with her mom until she can find employment. In Cape Cod, Claire asks the editor of the Covenant John Hillman for a job as a secretary. Instead, John hires her to write obituaries, which serves as an on the job internship in finding information and writing copy.
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Soon Claire finds herself attracted to her boss' son reporter Lane Hillman, who reciprocates her feelings. However, he is closer in age to her daughter than to her and in the already heated summer of 1968 that relationship is taboo. As they work together inquiring into two murders, they fall in love, but neither realize the danger their investigative journalism will place them from a killer who wants to remain unidentified.

The who-done-it is fun to follow and filled with suspense, but also the mystery is quite obvious. However, the clever use of major historical items from a summer that burned makes for a tremendously entertaining tale especially for those boomers who can relate to Chicago, riots, and assassinations. Claire is a great prime player who enables the reader to feel that crazy world of fire thirty five years ago yet she also allows fans to see inside those who touch her, a rare reversal that shows how talented John Hough, Jr. is.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Last Summer

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Forbidden/mismatched love?    -   Yes How mismatched?    -   old gal loving young guy Action/suspense subplot?    -   Yes Action:    -   chased by/chasing kidnapper/killer

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   journalist

Main Female Character

Age/status:    -   40's-50's Profession/status:    -   writer


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment What % of story is romance related?    -   60% Focus of story    -   equally on him and her How much dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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