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.
With echoes of Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane and the hit podcast Serial, The Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.
What does TWG think?
Despite being content knocking back countless shots of whiskey, Roxane Weary knows that her bank balance won’t exactly be jumping for joy. Luckily for Roxane an out of the blue phone call from a lady with a cheque book, seems to be enough to knock her backside into gear. For now.
A missing teenager. Her dead parents. A man on death row. His sister adamant that he’s innocent. Outlandish? Maybe so. Impossible to solve in two months? Who knows…
The story started with a character hangover and a missing person, but it didn’t take long for the storyline to turn incredibly twisted. Whilst PI Roxane Weary is ballsy and determined, I am genuinely surprised that she didn’t land herself in more trouble. She got herself into some scrapes, that’s for sure. But, I could see why she did. She was going with her gut instinct and in my eyes, that made up for the fact she chose not to use her noggin.
Having read multiple storylines which start off with a missing person just like this one, I really hoped that the story was going to be unique and not just be a case of hide and seek. Thankfully, the plot grew darker and darker with every chapter. Just when I thought that the case was nearly solved, something else came out of the woodwork and turned the investigation on its head.
I found it exceptionally easy to get lost in the storyline, mirroring the main characters frustrations in the investigation which resulted in a complete, and utter head funk. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going! There were so many police offers popping up sporadically, I couldn’t keep track! By the way, everything I’ve mentioned so far is all good as I was so invested in the book.
Most of the time I liked Roxane’s uniqueness, and her ‘I don’t give a f…’ attitude to regulations. However, I did find myself disliking the way she refused to take certain things seriously. There’s being laid back and then there’s being uninterested, and I found that Roxane was the latter. Don’t get me wrong, she was determined to get results and I praise her for that, but I felt that something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what.
Overall, ‘The Last Place You Look’ was a dark, and twisted story which managed to keep me on my toes. I thoroughly enjoyed the intensity of the plot as well as the rollercoaster ride of events. Such a promising debut from author, Kristen Lepionka, I am looking forward to seeing what she produces next.
Thanks Faber and Faber.