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Retro Reading: The Last Man on the List by Bob Randall


If you need to clean your mental palate and want something fast to read, then this novel might be just what you're looking for.

Sheila O'Connor is getting ready to head to the opera alone and lets her husband, Harold, know that she'll be home early. He finds it strange that she won't be going to any charity event following the performance but hopes that she'll have a good time.

During the performance, she locks eyes with a handsome stranger and during intermission, the two chat and leave.

While they walk to her car, he notices Sheila humming and hands her the keys, then slides into the driver's seat. As he crosses in front of the car, Sheila strikes him and throws the car in reverse striking him again. She drives over him again and heads home.

Over at Studio 104, Hal Fisher, the head writer for Family Business moans at the way star Glenda Carpenter messes up her lines and following the taping he goes home to his socialite wife Audrey Philpot Grimes Newman Fisher.

The two have a strained marriage and Hal is curious when he finds a list with names and addresses of men in her jewelry box and doesn't think too much about it.

As time goes by, he revisits the left, although modified this time. He mentions this to one of his writers, Betty Lancing, and he tells her that he thinks maybe Audrey's having an affair with these men or is possibly thinking of it.

While its eating at him, he makes a copy and goes to the first name on the list, only to discover that the man had died a month earlier after being electrocuted in his tub. Finding it odd, he tells Betty about the updated list.

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As he's being consumed by the list, he wants to get in touch with the men and finds out that, yet another has died. Again, he tells Betty, and he has her call one of the men on the list.

She fumbles with an excuse as she talks to him and later the two head to his office, where it's on fire. They go to the police and after Hal shows them the list, they tell him that they'll look into it.

Which they don't.

Hal begins to keep tabs on the list and finds out that his name is now the last name on the list and following the "accidental" death of Sheila O' Connor's husband, Hal realizes that his life is now in danger.

This is a definite page turner and while you know what's going on and really, it's not a mystery, per say, but it is a wild ride as the socialites play this deadly game.

Randall also gives a nod to his previous book The Fan as a secretary is named Miss Breen (a possible relative to that novel's main character Douglas Breen).

If you're looking for something to read by the pool, this is the perfect novel for just such a day, or even a rainy night.

I think you'll enjoy it!

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