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The Last Goodbye    by Reed Arvin order for
Last Goodbye
by Reed Arvin
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Jack Hammond is a lawyer in Atlanta, a disgraced lawyer, that is. He's been found guilty of unethical conduct. However, he picks himself up and opens his own law office, defending the dregs of society - drug dealers, car jackers, hold-up artists, wife beaters, possessers of drugs. When a lovely black opera star seeks his legal services, Hammond's heart is lost immediately. What goes down next is fast-paced, suspenseful and downright hard-nosed. The characters are so real the reader, like it or not, seems to know them intimately. The streets and projects of Atlanta are brought alive by the author's well-chosen words.

Reed Arvin, author of The Will, has written a thriller of the highest degree. He also offers a love story, both for the city of Atlanta and about the woman Jack Hammond passionately wants in his life. Arvin is obviously enamoured with Atlanta, 'a city caught between sunlight and dark, between history and tomorrow.' He brings beauty in words to The Last Goodbye. 'If true art comes from pain, then her art ran in stained rivers through her soul.' I especially liked 'Cast in the gentle glow, the city willingly accepts its most treasured illusions. And what happens in a city can happen in a pair of human souls. For new lovers, the beauty of Atlanta can be a nightshade to reality.'

Arvin has combined the tension of the underworld in the projects of Atlanta with the very deep feelings one person can have for another, and done it very well. I won't compare him with any other author. He deserves a category all his own. The Last Goodbye kept me turning pages long after I should have turned out the light. It was too quickly read, much too soon to say goodbye to Jack Hammond. I hope Arvin has future plans for this blemished hero.

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