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Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: The Last Place You Look

The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary #1) by Kristen Lepionka

Received from the publisher through NetGalley for a fair and honest review. 
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Minotaur Books 
Cover love: yes, pulls me in
Genre: crime fiction, thriller
My rating: 4/5
recommend: yes, to those who like a gritty crime noir
series?: first in a series
would I continue?: yes, when in the mood for this type of story
if this was a movie: it would be rated R with mature themes, language, and situations

Book blurb:
 "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."
 *****
I found this book to be a darker and grittier story than I was assuming it would be. Roxane drinks hard and often (whiskey straight) and works hard and less often (private investigator), and her only social life is a weekly dinner with her very dysfunctional family (after the death of her alcoholic detective father) and occasional bedroom antics with the very few men and women who are still in touch with her. 

Roxane was a rather unlikable MC for me, and it took me a while to care about what she was up to. Her relationship with all her family members is complex, in shades of gray rather than black & white. Her father has recently passed after being murdered during an arrest-- and though he seemed a very bitter, frustrated, and explosive personality-- Roxane misses him and it takes a toll on her career. 

After the scenario is set up and the characters introduced, I became more involved in the story and was anxious to find out what happened. An African-American teen was swiftly found guilty and put on death row years ago for the murder of his white girlfriend's parents, and her own disappearance. He is now facing death soon and Roxane is hired by his sister to find the missing girlfriend, whom she swears she spotted recently in town. Everyone else thinks the sister is grasping at straws and is uncooperative, but then Roxane digs up another murder in town that fits the M.O. and tries to connect the dots. The other murder took place while the young man was incarcerated, so she begins to dig into police files and question witnesses, much to the chagrin of the cops and the people in the wealthy, inclusive neighborhood. Why is everyone so eager to finger the boyfriend as the murderer? Who is keeping secrets in town? You'll have to read this intense thriller to find out!

 

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