Righteousness and vengeance intertwine when a select group of influential women decides to mete out justice in The Last Invitation, Darby Kane's third gripping thriller that features myriad believable twists. In Chevy Chase, Md., a charitable organization called the Sophie Foundation funds special projects for women's health and welfare. But a smaller group within the foundation has a different approach: killing men whose behavior they consider vile. These women's actions have repercussions for Gabby Fielding, who's in a custody battle with her ruthless ex-husband, Baines, and for divorce lawyer Jessa Hall, who is constantly second-guessed by her smug male supervisors. Arriving at her ex-husband's house to discuss the education of their teenage daughter, Gabby finds Baines dead from a gunshot wound. The police rule the death a suicide, but Gabby believes he was murdered. She begins her own investigation. Reeling from the problems with her latest case against a powerful man, Jessa receives an invitation to the Sophie Foundation. Gabby's investigation unwittingly veers close to its members, enraging them, while Jessa begins to regret becoming a part of this well-connected group. The Sophie members don't abide interference; leaving the group isn't an option.
Succinct chapters alternate between Jessa, Gabby and others, giving in-depth views of each character while delving into their motives. Neither Gabby nor Jessa are particularly sympathetic, but Kane (The Replacement Wife; Pretty Little Wife) skillfully makes their situations into ones with which readers can empathize. The cerebral action generates from several women's rationales, as the Sophie members ignore the collateral damage suffered by ex-wives and children. --Oline H. Cogdill, freelance reviewer