Skip to Main Content

The Last High

A Thriller


See More Retailers

About The Book

In this instant bestselling novel from author Daniel Kalla, a Vancouver doctor and a detective face the deadly consequences of the opioid crisis as they track down the supplier of fentanyl that landed a group of teens in the ER with critical overdoses.

Deliberately or not, they must’ve been poisoned…And if it happened to them…
There will be others.

Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is stunned when her emergency room is flooded with teenagers from the same party, all on the verge of death. Julie knows the world of opioids inside and out, and she recognizes that there’s nothing typical about these cases. She suspects the teens took—or were given—fentanyl. But why did they succumb so quickly?

Detective Anson Chen is determined to find out. He and Julie race to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. But the trail of suspects leads everywhere, from unscrupulous street dealers to ruthless gang leaders who hide behind legitimate business fronts and the walls of their mansions.

As Anson and Julie follow clues through the drug underworld, Julie finds herself haunted by memories of her troubled past—and the lover she lost to addiction. When other overdoses fill the ER—and the morgue—Julie realizes that something even more sinister than the ongoing fentanyl crisis is devastating the streets. And the body count is rapidly rising.

A gripping thriller, The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.



The house music courses through Alexa. The hypnotic beat and melting layers of sound feel as if they come from within, as if her heart is the amplifier. And the warmth is so enveloping. Like being lowered into the most perfect bubble bath. The bliss is almost unbearable.

Alexa can’t lift her head off her chest, but she can move her eyes. With a quick sweep of the room, she sees all the friends who matter most to her—Rachel, Nick, Joshua, Grayson, and Taylor. The only ones who matter at all, really.

Taylor, her very best friend, is slouched at a weird angle on the couch beside her. Taylor had promised to ensure Alexa got some alone time with Josh at the party, even though she has a crush on him, too. Typical Taylor, always putting friends first. Her eyes are still open, but the pupils are tiny as pinholes. And her complexion! It’s grayish blue, while her lips have turned almost purple. So strange, but so beautiful.

Alexa shifts her gaze to the left and sees Josh and Gray sprawled out on the other couch, propped up only by their abutting shoulders. Josh’s eyes are as glassy as Taylor’s, while Gray’s are shut altogether. They’re both so still. And Josh’s exposed arms are mottled deep dark blue. Alexa wishes she could tell him just how much she loves him. Tonight was supposed to be the night.

Alexa looks down at her own hands. Her fingers feel foreign to her, and the color of her nails matches that of Taylor’s lips. She knows it’s not right, but it’s still so wild.

The floating warmth intensifies. Alexa feels as though she’s falling off the couch, even though she’s not moving. She’s never drunk anything more than a beer or two in her sixteen years. How could one cup of Nick’s punch make her so woozy?

Somewhere in the back of her brain she can hear her mother’s panicked voice—a distant scream—telling her to breathe. But her mom’s nowhere near the party.

Alexa finds it all kind of funny. She wants to laugh. She wants to tell Taylor how exquisitely wrong it all is. But she can’t even move her lips. Besides, dreams are stealing over her now. And she can’t hold on any longer.

About The Author

Michael Bednar Photography

Daniel Kalla is an internationally bestselling author of many novels, including Fit to Die, The Darkness in the Light, Lost Immunity, The Last High, and We All Fall Down. Kalla practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter @DanielKalla.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 23, 2021)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501196997

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

Praise for The Last High

“Kalla has long had his stethoscope on the heartbeat of his times. . . . In his latest, the focus is on Vancouver’s opioid crisis. . . . [A] lively story.”
Toronto Star

“A thrilling, front-line drama about the opioid crisis.”
KATHY REICHS, bestselling author of the Bones series

“If you want an engrossing, edge-of-your-seat thriller that combines good detective work, corruption, savage criminal practices, a dark, seamy portrait of a large Canadian city, and a hard-hitting lesson on the medical and emotional effects of opioid drugs, then The Last High certainly fills that prescription.”
Montreal Times

“Kalla is terrific at building suspense as the case progresses, uncovering a web of dealers, sellers, and users.”
The Globe and Mail

A riveting thriller, The Last High features the most evil and insidious of villains: opioids. This important, must-read book is not only well-researched and entirely realistic, it gives a human face to a devastating epidemic.”
— ROBYN HARDING, #1 bestselling author of The Swap

An exciting police/medical thriller that’s an even better sociological alarm bell . . . everything feels real.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“A sobering glimpse into the drug overdose crisis. . . . An entertaining, if slightly eerie read.”
Vancouver Sun

Praise for We All Fall Down

A tightly plotted thriller, energetic and completely believable. Kalla knows how to build a suspenseful story that doesn’t stretch the bounds of plausibility. He also knows how to build realistic characters and put natural-sounding dialogue into their mouths, something many better-known medical-thriller authors often struggle to do. . . . [a] top-drawer thriller.”

A fast-paced thriller with an historical overlay and a dash of romantic tension.”
Vancouver Sun

Kalla inherits the mantle of Michael Crichton. . . . Much more than a medical thriller, We All Fall Down is both a vivid history lesson and a heart-pounding warning, resulting in a page-turning obsession.”
— STEVEN HARTOV, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of a Thief

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Daniel Kalla