Western North Carolina is known for its waterfalls, mountain views and inns strategically located to capture the tourist trade. Megan Miranda has set her clever new mystery, “The Last to Vanish,” in one such inn and the adjacent town, Cutter’s Pass. The Passage, as the inn is called because it’s a jumping-off point for the Appalachian Trail, draws not only adventure-lovers but also sleuths both professional and amateur. In the previous quarter-century, six visitors — a quartet of buddies remembered as The Fraternity Four and two singletons — have disappeared. The most recent goner, who gives the book its title, was an investigative journalist. The novel opens with the check-in of a guest who gives a pseudonym but is soon identified by inn manager Abby Lovett as the journalist’s brother, ready to do some detecting. Abby tells the story in an unorthodox way, covering the disappearances in reverse temporal order. The structure works well because Cutter’s Pass is rife with secrets — “This town [is] a vault,” Abby muses — all of which Miranda brings skillfully to light. “The Last to Vanish” is a well-wrought example of how important timing can be to a thriller. (Marysue Rucci Books/Scribner, July 26)