MysteryPeople Q&A with Allison Leotta

  • Interview and Introduction by MysteryPeople Contributor Scott Butki

Allison Leotta has done it again: she has crafted a fine mystery while also schooling us about the status of campus assault in this country. Leotta puts her former profession into play in her series about Anna Curtis, a federal sex crimes prosecutor.

For this, the fifth book in the series, Leotta wanted to tackle campus rape at a prestigious Michigan university. She drew inspiration from real cases, showing the struggle of Title IX activists fighting for change, the effect of technological change on the area, and the length those in power will go to protect their own and keep from the public the severity of the problem.

While the reader can learn a great deal from Leotta’s latest, information comes across from the page in a way that does not detract from the story, nor its excitement and drama. As always, it’s a great story. I encourage you to check out this or the other stories in her series. You can start with any book.

I was lucky enough to get Allison to agree to another email interview with me. She and I last talked for her previous book, A Good Killing.

“I want my books to be first and foremost page turners – a fascinating place for the reader to spend a few hours. But along with entertaining, I do want to educate. My own favorite learning has always come from good novels. And some of the statistics about campus assaults are jaw-dropping.”

Scott Butki: How did you come up with this story?

Allison Leotta: I was captivated by a news story about a lovely young student who disappeared from a nearby college. She was missing for several days, and I found myself thinking about her all the time — hoping and praying she was okay — and wondering what might’ve happened, who could’ve taken her, was there any way this could have a happy ending? Those thoughts were the first seeds of this novel.

SB: Were you planning from the start to write a book about a sex crime on campus since that is such a hot topic these days?

AL: I’ve been mulling it for a while, tossing around ideas for a couple years. My editor, Lauren Spiegel, thought this was the right time, and I think she nailed it. There’s an important national conversation going on about campus sex assaults – the nature of the problem and the possibility of solutions – and I’m glad to be a small part of it.

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MysteryPeople Review: THE LAST GOOD GIRL by Allison Leotta

  • Review by Event Staffer and MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana

9781476761114Allison Leotta’s latest thriller, The Last Good Girl, tackles a subject that’s been getting a lot of attention—campus rape and the powerful effect it has on victims and their families. Leotta knows her topic and it shows—she was a federal sex crimes prosecutor in Washington, DC before leaving the Justice Department to pursue a full-time writing career.

Emily, a freshman at Tower University in Detroit, is missing. She was last seen leaving a bar around midnight on a Friday; security video shows her running towards a fraternity the students call “The Rape Factory,” being chased by a fellow student named Dylan.

But these aren’t just ordinary students–Emily is the daughter of university president Barney Shapiro; Dylan is the son of state lieutenant governor Robert Highsmith, one of the most powerful political figures in the state. Just a few short months prior to her disappearance, Emily had accused Dylan of rape.

Assistant US Attorney Anna Curtis is called in to find Emily, but her investigation hits a wall. The grainy video footage seems to be the only clue; though it suggests Dylan was involved in Emily’s disappearance, Anna can’t seem to find any additional evidence. Dylan’s Beta Psi fraternity brothers close ranks and won’t discuss the case. The Highsmith family’s powerful lawyers try to prevent Anna from asking Dylan any questions. Emily’s father seems more concerned with protecting the university’s reputation than in finding Emily.

Then Anna finds a video log that Emily had recorded for a class assignment, and she learns the particulars of Emily’s rape accusation. It seems that Dylan may be a sexual predator and that Emily isn’t the first girl he’s attacked. The more Anna learns, the more it seems they aren’t dealing with a simple disappearance and that Emily may never be found.

The Last Good Girl is Leotta’s 5th novel featuring federal prosecutor Anna Curtis. She’s a brilliant, tough investigator who is dealing with emotional turmoil in her personal life. Leotta has created a complex, fascinating character.

You can find copies of The Last Good Girl on our shelves and via bookpeople.com