Publication Date: 6th July from Faber
Source: Review Copy
Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.
Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.
Top notch Crime fiction right here, really excellent debut, totally engaging main protagonist and a story that is twistier than a pretzel but still entirely authentic and utterly believable. Absolutely bang on writing style that just perfectly tells a beautifully plotted story.
I read “The Last Place You Look” in a single afternoon, mostly it has to be said BECAUSE of main protagonist Roxane Weary (what a great name and totally suited to the character portrayed) who just had a wonderful world weariness about her, a strong and intriguing character voice and whilst the mystery element of the story was also brilliant it is Roxane that keeps you turning those pages.
I was impressed by how Kristen Lepionka managed to take that well worn plot device – a character who hits the bottle too hard – and turn it around from something that makes you sigh in annoyance to a really genuinely authentic character trait, encompassing that part of Roxane into the wider narrative in an immersive and clever way. I think that needs mentioning considering my propensity for having a moan about cliche plot devices – in The Last Place You Look it actually works. Huge points for that one.
On the mystery side the case of Brad Stockton is relevant and fascinating – what I really found excellent here was the fact or not of his guilt was not at all clear – therefore things remained unpredictable right up to that very last moment. Some of the best parts of the book came where Roxane was facing off against those who are determined that Brad IS guilty either because they truly believe it or because they are hiding something – the dialogue sparks, the interactions are solidly realistic and the author creates a real sense of tension and unease throughout the telling. The sense of place is also well realised – the whole thing is totally immersive, a real noir feel with a modern twist.
Overall just brilliant. Highly Recommended.
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