Carla Lane didn’t know it, but that day would begin with life and end with death.
Nor did she know if some fleeting premonition had passed a shadow across her dreams in the weeks leading up to that afternoon, warning her of the terrible event that was about to happen.
Perhaps it had. But all she knew for certain that day was that she was excited as she came out of the doctor’s office, and that she had never felt happier.
She spotted Jan waiting for her, sitting on a park bench across the street, reading a newspaper.
He looked up when he saw her. He flashed his usual lopsided smile, his fringe blowing in the wind, but then he looked more serious as he folded away his newspaper and came to meet her.
“Well? How did it go?”
She didn’t speak.
“Come on, Carla, don’t do this to me, honey.”
“Keep me in suspense. Is it good news or bad?”
“Let’s put it this way. I’m going to be eating for two from now on.”
His face beamed, and she knew at once why she’d married this man.
“Carla, that’s terrific news.” He kissed her, slid his hand around her waist, and patted her stomach. “Can they tell yet?”
“Jan, I’m only six weeks pregnant.”
“How long before they can tell?”
“Four, five months, maybe. In all the excitement I forgot to ask. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, does it?”
“Not a bit. How about lunch at Barney’s to celebrate? I’ve got a rehearsal at two, so I’m out of handcuffs until then.”
A shadow flickered across Carla’s face. There was something else she had to tell Jan. Something troubling her.
“What’s wrong? You look distracted.”
“Nothing. It’ll keep until after lunch.”
“We’ll have a drink to celebrate. You think the doctor would mind?”
She slipped her arm through his. “Nothing stronger than a glass of sparkling water for me. From now on, Momma’s strictly on the wagon.”
Jan smiled, and whistled to hail a cab.
The Last Witness
Twenty years ago, after the fall of Yugoslavia, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands were killed or imprisioned in work camps during an “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. Carla Lane has little knowledge of what went on halfway around the world when she was a child. She is living a near perfect life in New York City, married and soon to have a family of her own. But when her husband is murdered by a group of Serbian war criminals, strange memories start coming back, and she discovers that she underwent extensive therapy as a girl to suppress her memories. She is given her mother’s diary, which unlocks her childhood memories and reveals that she was, along with her parents and young brother, imprisoned in a war camp outside Sarajevo.
As her memories come back, it becomes clear that she is the last witness to a brutal massacre in the prison and that her brother may still be alive. She sets out to find her brother, but first she must hunt down the war criminals responsible for destroying her life. But these killers will stop at nothing to protect their anonymity and their deadly pasts...and are determined to silence the last witness to their crimes.
From the talented storyteller who gave us The Second Messiah, The Last Witness serves up another captivating and nail-biting thriller that will keep you holding your breath right to the end.
THE LAST WITNESS: Another heart-pounding thriller from Glenn Meade
Read an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
Living in New York with her pianist husband, Carla Lane has no clue that she is the last lucid witness to the brutality that occurred during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s. But after members of the Serbian mafia assassinate her husband, memories of her childhood come flooding back. Carla learns she was found clutching her mother’s diary after her camp had been liberated, a memory she repressed after years of intensive therapy. Once her past is revealed, Carla decides she must avenge her husband’s death and the likely deaths of her parents and young brother—a quest that leads her face-to-face with hardened war criminals who have their own form of justice and shocking secrets.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. “And you, a stranger whose war this never was, are buried among them” (10). So begins the Prologue to The Last Witness, a text written in the second person, in the voice of the dead David Joran. What is the effect of the direct address see more