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The Last Dead Girl Reader’s Guide

By Harry Dolan

The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan


Questions and Topics for Discussion

On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie—until it’s too late.
When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect. But as he sets out to uncover the truth, he soon learns that Jana’s death may be related to an earlier murder, one that she was obsessed with during the last weeks of her life.
And as he retraces her steps, he begins to realize that he’s treading a very dangerous path—and that her killer is watching every move he makes.

Harry Dolan is the bestselling author of Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men. He graduated from Colgate University, where he majored in philosophy and studied fiction writing with the novelist Frederick Busch. A native of Rome, New York, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his partner, Linda Randolph.


  1. The Last Dead Girl features many strong women, most notably Jana and Sophie, who both make the first move with David, rather than the other way around. In what other ways are these women similar? How are they different? What does their confidence say about both of them, and how does it shape their stories?

  2. Do you think David’s lack of control in his two relationships—both in their beginnings and endings—serves as a catalyst for him to pursue clues in Jana’s case so thoroughly? Or is this curiosity a facet of David’s character?

  3. Initially, Gary’s case does not seem to be linked to Jana’s death. Why, then, do you think David researches it so passionately from the start?

  4. Angela tells David that’s she’s okay with Gary’s current situation—because he’s not her problem, and she’s not responsible. How do other characters in the book contradict this train of thought, the idea that we only take care of ourselves? Who feels the most responsibility for others in this story? Who doesn’t? Why?

  5. Both David and Roger are interested in Jana romantically. After what happened to her, why do you think Jana is so much more comfortable with David, a stranger, than she is with Roger, her admired professor?

  6.  What do you think of Sophie’s confession, when she ultimately tells David the real reason for her infidelity? Do you think they would have been happy if he’d known before he met Jana? Or do you think that David needed to meet Jana, no matter what?

  7. Discuss Angela Reese’s idea of duality. What different sides does each character show throughout the book?

  8. Discuss Neil and Gary’s relationship. Do you think they’re both beyond saving, as David seems to think? Do you think there’s any real compassion left, on either end?

  9. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story in alternating narratives, and with an irregular timeline? Did it add to the atmosphere of the novel?

  10. Most of the characters in The Last Dead Girl have secrets, both good and bad, and no character is purely good. Do you feel this is an authentic portrayal of human nature? Who do you relate to most in this story, and why?

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