The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets

The Last Woman in the Forest

Diane Les Becquets

After the man Marion loves dies tragically, she discovers disturbing inconsistencies about his life. She hopes to clear his name, but wonders if he could have been responsible for unsolved murders.

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From the national bestselling author of Breaking Wild, a riveting and powerful thriller about a woman whose greatest threat could be the man she loves.…

Marian Engström has found her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta, where she falls in love with her mentor, the daring and brilliant Tate. After they’re separated from each other on another assignment, Marian is shattered to learn of Tate’s tragic death. Worse still is the aftermath in which Marian discovers disturbing inconsistencies about Tate’s life, and begins to wonder if the man she loved could have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.

Hoping to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.…

Advance Galley Reviews

The Last Woman in the Forest is a great suspense/thriller. I enjoyed learning about Marian Engstrom’s dog handler conservation job and seeing the beauty of nature through her eyes. The relationships she formed with the animals and other handlers was enjoyable. Marian’s relationship with Tate was written in an intriguing manner. You quickly start out with her learning about his death when they were on separate assignments and contacting a retired forensic profiler about the possibility that he was a serial killer. Then, there are flash backs to Marian meeting and falling in love with Tate. It definitely made it hard for the reader to ignore all of the inconsistencies in Tate’s stories and behaviors. What I loved about this book was the forensic profiling with Nick Shepard and how he kept the focus on the murdered women. While it was heart-breaking and a bit disturbing to read about what happened to the women, you also knew that someone truly cared about their story and what happened to them. It took the focus off the killer and why they committed a crime and gave a voice to the women. This book had a lot of twists to keep you guessing. As it approached the end, it was a little predictable but done so perfectly and satisfying. This book definitely made me want to check out more from Diane Les Becquets.

I cannot fairly rate this title. At no fault of the author or the amazing story, I just could not get into it! Im not sure why I ended up in a reading slump when I tried to read Diane Les Becquets 'The Last Woman In the Forest', but its quite unfortunate because I had been so excited to read it! All the reviews I have seen for this title have only great things to say so based on that, I would still recomend this one 100%!

Marian loves her job. She works as an orienteer and dog handler on a wildlife conservation project in Canada. She even falls in love with a man she she works with. Tate quickly becomes everything to her. After a few weeks, they are placed on separate assignments and Tate is killed. Only then does she discover that he lied to her about his background, his family and childhood, nearly everything about himself. Even his story about finding a woman's dead body in the wilderness seems off. That particular lie makes Marian think that perhaps Tate may have been involved in the murders of at least four women in the area. Did she really know the man she loved? She reaches out to a forensic profiler who worked on the original investigations. The truth will either clear Tate's name or prove that he was a dangerous killer. This story mixes the beauty of the Canadian wilderness with the horrific violence of a serial killer. I can only imagine what it would feel like to wonder if a loved one had killed multiple people. It would be devastating to discover after a death that maybe you never really knew the person at all. Marian is a strong and intelligent main character. She doesn't just slough off her suspicions and fears after Tate's death but calls Nick Shepard to ask for help unraveling the truth underneath all the lies. This story builds slowly but definitely kept my attention from beginning to end. The plot is dark and twisty. Each time I thought I knew where the story was going, it zigged off in a new direction. The ending was definitely twisted, but perfect. Loved it! I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Quite a bit more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's an entertaining read.

This was a really great thriller. I enjoyed the writing style very much and I liked the relationship that Marian had with her rescue dogs. The character of Marian is very well-written, and I enjoyed the story of her relationship with Tate and how she tries to clear his name in the potential unsolved murders. A really taut, well-written thriller with great fully fleshed out characters. Rescue dogs were just a nice bonus.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars Marian Engström is comfortable living in unusual circumstances in the Rocky. She works with K'9's for Conservation and excels at her job with rescue dogs. Part of her research includes that of protecting very specific wildlife, like the wolves. In so doing she must be very wary of bears as the harm they can cause goes without speaking. However, that is not the danger that Marian is wary of. She wonders incessantly whether or not her ex-boyfriend Tate was a serial killer. Tate was killed in a bear attack, but not before Marion raised serious doubts about their relationship and his activities. Currently, there exists a cold case involving the murders of several woman and Marian is convinced that Tate has knowledge of these women. What is worse is that Marian is overwhelmingly certain that Tate himself was the murderer. So, she hires Nick, an ex-forensic profiler who had studied the cases at one time. Nick has heard the name Tate before. So, his hackles are immediately raised once Marian contacts him. A cancer patient, Nick is retired from profiling, instead serving as a counselor. He does agree to take the time needed to investigate Tate's past to see if he could have been the murderer and if the murders could have possibly stopped. Although Marion is traumatized by Tate's sudden death, she still must know if he was someone that she could have never imagined. There were a few rabbit trails in this story, as it was told in the then and now. But, in effect, this definitely worked to establish Marian's past with Tate, the women whose lives were tragically lost, and perfecting the incredible conclusion. So, ultimately, these were not rabbit trails. The various stories were certainly of necessity when it came to reader involvement. There was a lot to be offered in this story. The setting was beyond gorgeous and Marian's attentiveness to her dogs was impressive. Nick has a pivotal role is this book, as can be expected. He honed his decades of skill to help Marian unearth facts, no matter how painful. The book was ultimately terrifying, especially as this reader is a woman and women were indeed the victims written about in this book. I am new do Diane Les Becquets, I found the book to be very intriguing, and I am pleased that I got a chance to read this book. I do look forward to reading from this author again. Many thanks to Berkley and to First To Read for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

This was a really suspenseful thriller in a unique setting. I really enjoyed it and found it hard to put down, the true sign of a wonderful book. I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s work.

I really enjoyed the dog/handler relationships in this story. While the plot jumps around and this pulled me out of the story it was still entertaining enough.

I really loved "The Last Woman in the Forest" and being the last book I read in 2018, I consider it a real win. Marian works with rescue dogs doing research to protect endangered wildlife. During her travels, she meets and falls in love with a fellow researcher, but when he ends up getting killed, she starts to wonder if she really knew him at all. Besquets has a gift at being able to weave the past and present together in a cohesive manner to tell a wonderful tale. While this wasn't necessarily a dual-timeline book, there is a lot of backtracking and never once was I bored or confused. She also creates some great characters. Marian is strong yet has a subtle vulnerability about her. Her relationship with Tate took her by surprise and was somewhat unconventional. And the murders that unravel throughout the novel are rather grim and grisly. I also fell in love with the elderly profiler who Marian reaches out to for help. He and his wife are awesome side characters and the book left me wanting to know more about them. And finally, there are the dogs. This book is filled with several hard-working rescues who have been saved in order to help other animals. And the relationships between the handlers and the dogs themselves are quite pertinent to the plot. "The Last Woman in the Forest" almost garnered a 5/5 rating for me. However, there is one particularly disturbing scene where one of the dogs is injured. It's very detailed and sad (SPOILER ALERT - the dog lives). Another issue is I had pretty much figured out the twist at the end by the middle of the book. However, it was still a very enjoyable read and I would recommend it to any thriller lover.

3.5/5 I really enjoyed the story, the reading did get stalled at some points because of the jumping (past, present, multiple povs). Marian is an excellent character, she is trying to find her place in the world as well as find love. With love it is not always easy to see certain signs and after things go wrong Marian starts to deconstruct her relationship to find the truth. She hunts for clues, tries to tell herself she is wrong, but in the end the evidence is overwhelming. The end is wonderful, Marian was the woman Tate described but because of what she went through and realized she was able to change and do something he never expected.

This book was good, but for me it wasn't great. I enjoyed reading about the different places they went and found the work they did with the dogs to be interesting. I thought a lot of the plot lines were a bit predictable. The timeline jumps around quite a bit, which is a little distracting. I enjoyed the characters for the most part. I'd be interested in trying another book by this author, but I'm not positive this one was the best for me. Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for an advanced copy of this book.

Marian is a conservationist who works with rescue dogs in research projects, often in very remote and dangerous locations. After her boyfriend Tate is killed on assignment, she begins to suspect that he was responsible for the unsolved murders of four young women. Marian enlists the aid of a retired criminal profiler in hopes of putting her mind to rest. The cold, desolate, and quiet natural setting of this book added an eerie sense of dread to the story. The writing was beautiful, and the ending was not what I expected. The story jumps around quite a bit, before and after Tate's death, and also snippets from the victims leading up to their encounter with the murderer. There was a big focus on descriptions of the natural world and conservation projects which were enjoyable, though I would have liked the characters to have been fleshed out more. It was a bit slow moving for a mystery/suspense, but it held my attention and kept me guessing until the end. (3.75 Stars)

Through the first few chapters, I thought that the storyline in Diane Les Becquets’ “The Last Woman in the Forest” was moving too slowly, but further on I realized that it was the author building up and deepening the level of suspense in this novel. It was a different type of mystery novel than I would I have usually read but I became completely enthralled with the characters, the different outdoor settings, and the mystery revolving around Marian and Tate’s relationship. I recommend it.

This book is psychological suspense, with really no suspense until the last 5% of the book. Marian and Tate become romantically involved while working together on conservation projects that involve tracking and monitoring various animals. After Tate dies, Marian begins to suspect (based on pretty much no evidence) that Tate may have been a serial killer responsible for the deaths of four young women. She enlists the help of Nick Shepard, a retired psychologist and criminal profiler who has brain cancer, to help her determine whether Tate was capable of committing these crimes. The book switches back and forth between the months before and after Tate’s death. The manner in which Tate died was withheld until almost the end of the book. I thought that was both annoying and unnecessary. Maybe the author was too close to the subject matter. In the author’s note she mentions that she was once assaulted and that this novel is her “attempt to address the fear and vulnerability too many women live with every day, and to encourage women to pay attention when something doesn’t feel right, to heed that small voice inside themselves.” That may have been the goal, but women are threatened, stalked assaulted or killed in approximately 90% of suspense novels, and this one does not set itself apart with any special guidance or message. This book was just ok for me, but it held my interest enough for me to finish it. Marian wasn’t a very well developed character. She was pretty one-note throughout. Nick was slightly more interesting, mostly because he was dying. There were a lot of details about dog training and the work of conservationists. I can see how some people would find that process interesting and the author seems to have done a lot of research on it. Some people might be disturbed by the fact that one of the dogs is seriously and graphically injured near the beginning of the book, but that’s the only time this occurs. There are a lot of murders of women though. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I thank First to Read for selecting me to read this book. This is the first of Ms. Becquets works I have been privileged to read. Marian is a woman looking for a little change in her life and joins a program in the wilds of the northern Rockies. The program works with rescue dogs trained to sniff out the scat of other animals. Marian finds herself enthralled by the beautiful, wild surroundings. She is drawn to working with the dogs, and that’s not all she’s drawn to. She finds herself becoming enamored with the dog handler Tate. Tate is a strong, rugged, natural woodsman. But he has a way of telling a story, and adding a little to it, embellishing the truth. Enough for Marian to note, but not enough to stop her growing love for him. Suddenly Tate is killed in an accident- and I won’t ruin the story by telling how. In the aftermath an old cold case comes to light, one where several women were murdered. Marian has questions and doubts- and she sets out to find the truth. Was Tate a murderer? I loved this book! Marian is a strong, tough, female lead. The descriptions of the beautiful,wild surroundings added to the danger in the plot, as well as providing the reader with a scenic backdrop for quite a tale! The writer did a wonderful job depicting the characters and the piece of the world they inhabit. I very much enjoyed this book and intend to seek other books by this writer- she is now on my “must read” list!

Whew, this book. Definitely gets off to a slow start, but it's super compelling. Even though the ending was a little predictable, it was still a very good read.

This was a slow start for me, but quickly picked up. The character development was amazing, and I loved the back and forth with the timelines in order to help build suspense. The main character, Marian, was likable, realistic, and definitely portrays well as the sleuth.

Did her boyfriend really find the victim of a serial killer? Was her boyfriend actually the serial killer? Did the little inconsistencies really make her jump to such an extreme conclusion? What was the goal of this book? Was it to find out if Marian's boyfriend did it? If he didn't do it, would we find out who the killer was? These are the wrong kind of questions to have at the beginning of a book. And all along with this, the reader learns very little about Marian herself and much more about the man who helps her research the crimes. In many ways, this felt like a series where he is the main character and she was just a character in this particular installment. I did like the actual bones of the story. I guess I wish the story could have been a bit more focused?

I really enjoyed this book. You sort of go on a journey with Marian as she suspects her recently deceased boyfriend of being the Stillwater murderer. It goes back and forth from present to past and back to present. I figured out what was going to happen, but the end still didn't disappoint.

The Last Woman in the Forest provides a little for almost everyone. Set in a remote, snow-covered location provides a sense of adventure, the unknown; the work with rescue dogs provides the feel-good element; the environmental-impact study fits the current public conversation; the unsolved murders appeal to those who like murder mysteries; and, the rest is a study in human behavior, the nature of truth, and how much one person can really know about another. The Diane Les Becquets creates a sense of foreboding by telling a little bit of the present and then traveling back in time to explain how the characters arrived at their current predicament. The story is built around Marian and Tate – the man Marian loved, thought she knew, and died an untimely death. After Tate’s death, Marian struggles to come to terms with what may have been the real story behind Tate. Who was he really? What secrets was he hiding? Did she know him at all? What could she trust and how much of what she thought she knew was a complete deception? What should she do with this inkling that not all was quite right with the man she knew Tate to be? Should she seek the truth? If she does, what nightmares might she uncover? What kind of monster might he have been? Marian’s struggle makes the reader consider how much we can really know about one another. As Becquets writes, “The story Marian had believed in … had begun to change, like a kaleidoscope. Turn the cylinder one way, the pieces shift, and a new image appears, as if each of her memories were a shard that could be rearranged to fit whichever story she chose to believe, and she wondered if truth existed at all. The thing she could be certain of was that each day forward would carry the past.” It’s a compelling story – one that reminds the reader to pay attention to the red flags that they notice when getting to know someone. Like many who fall for those who are deceptive, Marian failed to listen to her instincts, accepting Tate’s explanations for his behaviors that were raising red flags. The Last Woman in the Forest is a story that transcends the time and location the book is set in, and it challenges the reader to question what they think is true. That said, the writing itself is at times painful to read. As I took notes in order to write this review, I noted that at times the writing is impeccable, but at other times it is stilted, awkward, uses bad grammar, has poor sentence structure, and repeats certain words so often that one almost wants to give up reading due to the annoyance factor. All in all, it simply needs a good editing from a linguistic standpoint.

A very good book. The only weakness was in the ending. The "twist" was easy to see coming, and if felt like things wrapped up a little too conveniently at the end. That being said, they were not large faults. The story was interesting. The characters were engaging. The central question, what would you do if you began to suspect that your beloved might be a serial killer, was fascinating. I think we all wonder how well we know the people we fall in love with. Hopefully very few of us find ourselves in for that magnitude of surprise.

Living a life relatively isolated from other people, Marian works with trained dogs to track and monitor endangered species in pockets across the country. When on assignment in rural Montana, she falls for her mentor and colleague, Tate. Tate is a domineering personality, who makes Marian feel like he can give her the world. This story is set against four very graphic murders by an at-large serial killer in the vicinity, and some of Tate's actions give Marian cause for concern. After his untimely death on assignment in Washington state, Marian begins to questions the things she thought was true. I loved that this book featured a forensic psychologist who was developing profiles of the women who were murdered, as well as the potential suspect. I learned a lot from these chapters, as well as about tracking endangered species! I think that I knew all along that Tate had been the one who had killed the women, but had been so sure that he had actually died from the bear attack. This book kept me guessing until the end and I really enjoyed it.

I was excited to have the opportunity to read this eARC, but I just could not get into this title. I'm so sorry, but I didn't finish it. The first chapter starts off with a bang, but then it's a whole lot of backstory that just did not keep my attention.

I really wanted this book to be everything I thought it would be and more but it just wasn't. It was moderately enjoyable and the ending was quite satisfying, but the first two thirds were sort of dull, like the thrill wasn't there yet. There was a lot of lead up, and while the ending was well tied up, it took a long time to get there. The backstory was horrifying, and maybe I just didn't connect with the main character, but I could not get sucked into the story, no matter how hard I tried. I'm glad I finished it because the ending wrapped up every loose end, but the rest of the book just didn't do it for me.

I really wanted to like this book, and the synopsis and beginning were captivating. However, I just couldn't get into it. It dragged on in too many places and I couldn't convince myself to finish the story. I'm sure it would have been great if I had!

The Last Woman in the Forest caught my eye on First to Read with the cover and blurb. It sounded like a me book - and I was right, it was. Here is what I enjoyed: Setting// The story takes place mostly in Montana and Canada. I loved the remote feeling it gave the story. It definitely made the atmosphere creepy when the story needed it. Marium's Job// She works with rescue dogs to help learn and protect about endangered animals. I never knew this was a thing. It was so interesting to read about not only the work but how they live while doing the work. Unsolved Mystery// The underlying story to the book is the unsolved murders of 4 girls which are dubbed the Stillwater murders. We get little snapshots of these girls and how they may have been killed throughout the book. So we know that this will come to play in out present storyline and it made me keep looking for clues on how it would play out. Forensic Profiler// When Marium becomes interested in the Stillwater murders and how they may involve her now passed boyfriend, she reaches out to a profiler who has worked on the case. I loved this other side to the story with him. I have always been interested in profilers - in shows, books and such - and how they come up with the profiles. So we get some of that here. I will say that some of the things that happened were easy to see coming. Somehow though, that didn't bother me. I still really enjoyed all of the book whether I knew what would happen or not. I thought the pacing was done well and the atmosphere created suited the story. I will be checking out other books by this author.

I received this book as an ARC through Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for my honest review: I have a feeling I'm going to be in the minority with this one, but... I couldn't even finish it. I really, REALLY wanted to like this book. The synopsis sounded like a great adventure. And it probably was for those who finished. But I couldn't follow the story with Les Becquets writing style. I felt like some of the sentences just went on and one, and by the time I was done reading it, I'd already forgotten what it started out as, what it was actually trying to say. I'm sure Les Bacquets is a fine author, and I am willing to give her another try with her next book, but this one just didn't pull me in. I stopped reading about a third of the way in.

This book kept me up late to find out what would happen. While the ending was predictable, the dark and creepy setting built a sense of dread throughout the story. The author did a good job of showing how the world can be a much more dangerous place for women.

In the Author's Note, Les Becquets discloses that she was held captive and attacked by someone she had known and trusted, and I don't want to discount her pain or trauma in any way. There were more elements also personal to her which she mentions in both the Author's Note and the Acknowledgments which are relevant to the story and probably the reason for her writing this book. Perhaps in exploring this very sensitive and deeply personal plot, she held it a little away from herself. And, really, who could blame her for that? In The Last Woman in the Forest, Diane Les Becquets establishes her two main characters and narrators early on. Marian Engström, a woman learning to train rescue dogs in order to track wildlife, endangered or threatened, and Nick Shepard, the retired forensic profiler inadequately described and left unnamed in the book's blurb. Tate Mathias, the now deceased boyfriend of Marian, and whose past she is now investigating alongside Shepard, also features prominently though never as a narrator. The structure of the book was a real issue for me. It was scattered, messy, and riddled with odd decisions from the author. The book itself is broken up into three main parts, which is almost pointless. Aside from the events in Part 3, I don't see the need to separate and group the other chapters so distinctly. Marian's story is told by way of the ol' dual timelines for the majority of the book. Once the events in the past (January - June 2017) catch up with the present (July - August 2017), we are taken through from September 2017 all the way up to August 2018. The set up for how Marian and Tate got together feels like one long, long introduction, and the timelines didn't press me with any sense of urgency until I went back over the book for notes. Then I realized how closely they come to and overlay each other as the past meets the present. But, mainly due to the choppy nature of the book and the emotionally removed characters and narration, I never felt the suspense I now realize I was supposed to feel. Interspersed with the Marian chapters are those told from Nick Shepard's point of view. Nick, retired, dying from cancer, and holding on to these unsolved cases hanging over his conscience, agrees to help Marian find out all she can about her boyfriend, Tate, and possibly solve the murders attributed to the Stillwater killer. Both of these characters are held back and very emotionally remote (told from third person limited). Lots of telling and little showing, most of this book has all the feeling of a case file. Sprinkled among these two narrators' chapters are the stories, often the final moments, for the Stillwater victims. In fact, the opening chapter of the book is told from the viewpoint of one victim, and for that moment, I was drawn into the story. However, these small fragments of the lives of these women were the most compelling in the book. There are four victims, in all, murdered over the course of six years. Though the first one isn't labeled as such, simply that it is of Victim #1, the other three are denoted as being from Nick Shepard's files and as a Victim Portrait. This is really strange to me, because in two of these "portraits" contain the only point-of-view told in first person, twice. I don't understand this decision, three of the four victims' chapters detail the last moments alive and with their killer. Victims one and two are told from third person, but only the second victim is labeled as being a portrait and from Nick's files (I suppose this is only because we hadn't yet met Nick at the opening of the book, but it only adds to the messiness). Victims three and four are from first person and one of these does indeed contain the final moments of her life. Okay, it's a "portrait"—possibly created by Nick to ensure the victims also remain human beings, but it's that kind of inconsistency that really flattens out even the most compelling chapters. All in all, this was okay . The plot was interesting, and I really feel it might have improved simply through some more structured and decisive editing. However, it was incredibly predictable and too long by about 150 pages. While some of the scenery and settings are written with a clear love of the outdoors and its beauty, Les Becquets was perhaps trying so hard to paint a picture that she left all the people as empty shells, improperly fleshed out, and with no real device to use other than telling rather than showing. Coupled with an untidy framework, The Last Woman in the Forest fell short of expectations.

3 Stars. I thought it was ok, could have had more mystery to it. The author let us know right away in this mystery who the perpetrator likely was in the beginning. The story went from present to past with the main character, Marian questioning whether or not her boyfriend was responsible for the killing of several women. What made the story ok for me was too much time spent on talking about the work done at The Den. In these serial killings, the perpetrator is always good looking and the women trust so quickly because they are attracted. There is always a inkling of some caution that is disregarded. With Marian, she thought she turned her computer off, her chair was moved, but she always pushes it in, she's in the communal shower and she hears a noise, but thinks maybe she didn't close the door all the way and the wind pushed it in. Good insight into the things that women disregard. One point the killer even says to one victim, "Didn't your mother tell you not to talk to strangers?". At the end, the author reveals in the author notes, that something happened to her and a lot of the story stems from true events where the story was changes in places.

WOW, this book was really good! Super creepy, sinister story about a woman, a dog handler/researcher/naturist, who believes that her deceased ex- was a serial killer of several women found in the local woods--unsolved murders, obviously. Alternating timelines and points-of-view of Marian and Nick, the forensic profiler she calls in to research Tate (the ex), post-mortem. Great writing, interesting plot, nature, mystery, a serial killer and lots of dead bodies!! All of these make a for a great read, a little sad but also lots of suspense--a page-turner definitely not to bee missed! Thanks so much for the advance copy!!!

The Last Woman In The Forest is engaging read that pulled me in right until the very last page. It was such an entertaining ride with a slew of twist and turns throughout the book. The plot is completely original and you will not be able to turn fast enough!!

The Last Woman in the Forest is a fantastic story about Marian Engstrom who works with rescue dogs to protect wildlife. Marian meets and falls in love with her mentor. Tragically, Tate dies and Marian begins to discover things about Tate and starts to think he might be responsible for unsolved murders of women. I very much enjoyed this book. There are many twists and turns and it really leaves you on the edge of your seat. Well thought out characters and a twisty plot that make for a great read.

This was a compelling page turner about a young woman who begins to suspect her now dead boyfriend was a serial killer. She is a bit of a loner, not many friends and inexperienced in relationships. She wonders how she could have been so naive? She seeks help from a forensic profiler (think Criminal Minds) and the two of them start to put the pieces together. I enjoyed this book. Couple of improvements I would make: I think the relationship between Marion and Nick could have been better developed and the relationship between Marion and Jenness could have also been further developed. I got the feeling towards the end that he grew quite fond of her but I didn't see it while it was happening. Also, I would have liked a red herring or two just to mislead the reader a bit. Overall, a solid read. Big thank you to First to Read for the ARC.

Pretty decent page-turner that got better the further along I got.

This was really a good book which kept my attention. I like psychological thrillers, but have never been one to read one with such an outdoor setting. I love dogs and found Marian's interaction with the dogs very believable, but I am not a camper and don't have any desire to be one, so that part of the story was really different for me. When I started it at first, I put it aside after about the first 30 pages, and read a different book. I came back to "The Last Woman in the Forrest," and decided to start it from the beginning. I'm glad I did. It does tell a very frightening story about how a psychopath can really fool people who think they are close to said person. I found the author's note at the end of the book, where she says that as a young person, she was held captive and abused by someone she had known and trusted for years , poignant. I am a person who sometimes gets gut feelings about people or situations, and I have learned to trust those inner feelings, because they have usually proven to be right in my case, though of course, I have never experienced anything like Marian experienced, thank goodness. I learned a lot about university studies about animals; I have never been to Utah or Montana, though I have a little home at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. This story has made me think about purchasing some bear spray! I did enjoy this book and can recommend it to others. I may see if I can find and read this author's first book, which another reviewer mentioned. Thank you, First to Read.

Exciting and compelling plot with plenty of false leads and credible twists right to the very end. At times, it gets a little too emotional for my taste, and also somewhat nerdy about dog psychology, samples of animal faeces and outdoor life, which costs the book at least 1-1½ star. However, Diane Les Becquets continues to write excellent books about life in the wilderness, and I was very well entertained by this one as well as her past novel, "Breaking Wild" from 2016.

When I first started reading The Last Woman in the Forest I wasn't sure if it was going to be something I would finish. Boy, am I glad I did - just when I thought I had figured everything out it takes a turn! A fast paced mystery! Thank you First to Read,

The premise that Marian works with dogs as part of her job already bumps the book up to 4-stars on that premise alone. The fact that the book is a suspenseful thriller is an added bonus. Happy in her new job, Marian falls for Tate, the guy that everyone in their team looks up to. He's worked everywhere, is full of knowledge that is helpful in learning to do her job, and he's full of knowledge of the world outside as well. Marian even questions him at one point asking how he knew all of this "stuff". But Tate starts to slowly change over time. He's getting snappy, he's short with her, and he mentions that he's come across a victim in some local murders, he even gives her details. Marian not sure what to say, thinks on it but keeps going along with things. He's a great guy, it's just a coincidence, or is it? Told through alternating people and timelines of our main character Marian, and a talented forensic profiler Nick, the story unfolds before us. Les Becquets showcases amazing researching in this book. Covering murders unsolved throughout the country including what we call locally as The Kellyville Killer. Then there is the job aspect of research, it isn't just training but it's research, the care of the dogs, the intuition, the physical strength, and endurance required. It's quite impressive. I knew what was happening and who I should be suspicious of right off the bat, it didn't deter from the story. The Last Woman in the Forest is intense, from beginning to end. A great read.

I’m a huge fan of outdoor suspense novels, so I was expecting a little more action and subterfuge. The story moved at a good pace and I felt the ending was a little predictable, and it could have been more gripping and intense......that would have made this story a great read......not just a good read.

This book was good, yet creepy. I can't say i didn't like it, because I read it in one sitting, but as a psychological thriller it was by nature pretty unsettling. There's not a ton of action or suspense in this book, it's more of a slowly unfolding story with many twists and turns. By the end, I had mostly figured out what was going to happen, and while the big reveal wasn't much of a shock most of the book was fairly unpredictable and kept me guessing at what Marian's investigation would reveal. Overall, this was an interesting book, and if you enjoy psychological thrillers I would give it a try.

When Marian applied for the K9's for Conservation program in Alberta she had no way of knowing how her life was going to change. She was working toward her dream job of becoming a handler, protecting wildlife by tracking their migration in remote areas, and she met the man she would fall in love with Tate. After Marian learns of Tate's tragic death she begins to question what she really knew about the man she loved. A string of murders, involving young women, leads Marian to believe Tate may have been the killer. The Last Woman in the Forest is a fascinating mystery in which a woman begins to question if the man she knew and loved could have been a killer. The POV's of the story shift between Marian's past and present, Nick Sheppard, the man hired to investigate Tate, and third person accounts from each of the victims. I found the information on the conservation programs, dog handling, and travel to be very interesting. The novel is a bit of a slow read without much excitement or suspense throughout. This novel is more about discovering the truth about how well we really know those closest to us versus an action packed psychological thriller. Some of the material surrounding the victims may not be suitable for all readers and I commend the author for including her own personal experience with a traumatic assault in the author’s notes.

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets was offered as a review opportunity by Penguin Publishing and the First to Read program. Choosing this book to review was out of my comfort zone as I usually chose historical fiction or rom-coms. I'm glad I did venture out though because this was an unexpected joy.  The suspense, both fear of the next move and psychological were just enough to keep me guessing but also providing a fun read right before Halloween. The Last Woman in the Forest was very well written and although the author left hints of the ending, there was enough suspense to keep the reader engaged and in the dark so to speak.  Marian is working as a rescue dog handler collected animal data in remote areas but she loves it and feels this work is her calling. Marian also discovers love while in the forest in her mentor and trainer, Tate. But is love all it seems to be and is Tate who she thinks he is?  Prior to Marian's arrival in this area there were several murders of women. These murders were investigated by a profiler named Nick and when Marian starts to question if she could be related to the murders and if a man she thought she knew could also be related she found her way to Nick who helped her reopen the unsolved case and eventually close it.  I gave this read three stars on Goodreads . I found the plot to be consistent but I was hoping for more finality to the Nick character and I found a few areas a little on the slow side. Overall though I really enjoyed this book and have recommended to several people that I know enjoy this genre.  I was given a pre-release copy in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

In every relationship we all want to see the best in a person. Especially when "love" is involved. More often than not we choose to ignore the bad. But when you believe that person is a serial killer you begin to open your eyes. Marian's journey is very emotional and life changing for her, yet she is determined to find the truth no matter what. This thriller/mystery for me was at first hard to follow as it jumped around quite a bit in the descriptions of the beautiful back settings and explanations of the conservation studies. Once you get a handle on what is happening it became a page turner that was hard to put down. the characters become "real" and you cannot wait to see what happens next. I do recommend this book and look forward t more from this author. I received this book as a First to Read selection, in exchange for an honest review by Penguin Books.

I thought this was a hard to put down book!! It did jump back and forth and at times I found that a bit confusing. The ending did surprise me . I enjoyed it

A twisting, turning adventure that keeps you reading deep into the night. Very interesting characters and back stories, too. An enjoyable read with mystery, love, tricks and turns unexpected. I recommend!

A good solid read. I read it in about three days. I really liked hearing about the conservation programs and their use of dogs. I am not sure I'd call this a thriller, but more of a mystery. Very well written with developed characters. I would definitely recommend! Thanks First to Read for my advance copy.

Marian Engström is a dog handler who works with rescue dogs, to help protect endangered wildlife. She loves her job, the challenges it presents, and the places it takes her. Also she falls in love with Tate, an experienced, long time dog handler, who becomes not only her mentor but her lover. Tate enjoys relating stories of his past jobs, his past life, and people from his past. At times, some of the stories that Tate tells Marian, spark a tiny bit of doubt in her mind, of the validity of what Tate relates to her. And then Tate is killed by a bear and Marian feels compelled to look deeper into Tate’s past before she can feel at ease with the memories of her relationship with him. Marian contacts Nick, a retired forensic profiler, who is dealing with brain cancer and who also is lost in the memories of the women who died violently, whose murders he couldn’t solve. Marian is hoping what she learns from Nick can help her eliminate Tate as a suspect in a series of women’s deaths. Nick’s heart hurts for the dead woman and for Marian, who he considers a victim of the damage a serial killer does to more than just those who died. I enjoyed the details we learn from Nick, concerning the mind of a psychopathic murderer of women and how that murderer will manipulate events and people to fit the crimes he plans to commit. Marian is a strong, independent woman who is made to feel incompetent and doubtful by her controlling boyfriend. The book moves slowly but I felt tension for the safety and sanity of Marian, because she knows she’s been manipulated in some way, by her dead boyfriend. Still she loved him and doesn’t want to think her their relationship was a lie or that he could be a serial killer. The only thing that bothered me about the book was the detail that went into the serious injury of one of the rescue dogs. I had to walk away for a while, to let my feelings settle. I know I’m reading about murdered women and I can deal with the story of the women, in a distanced way, but the insertion of the animal injury, in such detail, almost stopped me from going on. But the author handled the resolution of the dog’s situation in a very satisfactory way for me and for that I am thankful. After the book was finished the author goes into the process she went through to write the book and how various people and the things she learned from them, helped her to develop the characters and the story. I enjoyed that insight into the creation of the book and knowing how she gathered her information and developed her ideas, added to my enjoyment of the book. Thank you to First to Read for this digital advanced read copy and allowing me to give my honest review of this book.

The Last Woman in the Forest is a good read. I became totally involved with Marian. This is not the typical type of book that I read. But I was happily surprised. I found myself doing jomc(just one more chapter). I found myself wondering why anyone would choose the work that Marian called her life calling. I also felt sorry for her trying to prove her lover and friend was the person she thought he was. It has a happy ending but a twisted tale to get there

I could not decide if this book was supposed to be a thriller or not. Beautiful descriptions of the surrounding wildlife, the views, the atmosphere of wilderness, the hardships and friendships that are built during the difficult projects, etc. However, the mystery/thriller part of the story was not "thrilling" enough for me. It was very predictable, and easy to determine the end. The book overall was too long, and very repetitive. There was a lot of timeline jumping that made it in some parts hard to follow. The whole atmosphere that was built by the author was too sad and lonely, not scary or edgy.

I enjoyed reading this book but didn't find it much of a thriller and not much happening. A lot of description about the conservation program (a little too much for me) and not much else happening. It wasn't until close to the end that anything actually happened that would be considered tense and then it was over in a page or two. While this was an interesting read there just wasn't enough happening in the book for me to consider it a must read.

I am an avid reader of thriller and mysteries, I got this book as a First to Read, in exchange for a review by Penguin Books. I was very excited to get this book and could not wait to dive in. The mystery itself, although interesting, was predictable and I never was fully invested in the characters. I did love learning more about conversation and all the work behind that, but the story itself was not exciting and could have been written much better.

Thrillers are a new genre that I’ve gotten into lately. Les Becquets’ The Last Woman in the Forest has gotten me more interested for sure in the genre! I didn’t see the ending of this book, even though the suspects were all rather intriguing, with good causes for the murders. The care and attention that went into the setting of this novel was phenomenal. I am usually not a visual reader, but I could “see” the environment. This definitely gave a creepy-vibe to the novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good thriller.

An engrossing story and psychological thriller. Keeps you guessing, which makes you power through to the end. The beginning starts dry but picks up as we quest along with Marian for the truth about her lover, Tate while canvassing the wilderness on exciting assignments as a rescue dog volunteer. The details of the work she was involved with and the nature surroundings enhanced the reading experience. Recommend.

I really enjoyed reading this book. At first, I was mostly interested in the accounts of conservation programs, information about various animals and the dangers of extinction, the facts about grizzlies, and the handlers and how they work with dogs. But it’s also an enjoyable murder mystery with an ending I didn’t expect. Highly recommend


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