#Review 4* #TheLastPlaceYouLook by @KMLwrites @MinotaurBooks #DebutNovel

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The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

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.

My Review:

Sarah Cook disappeared 15 years ago, the same night her parents were savagely murdered. Her boyfriend at the time Bradford (Brad) Stockton, currently sits on death row, awaiting execution. When his devoted sister Danielle believes she sees Sarah on day, at a gas station. Danielle hires local PI Roxane weary to locate the woman and solve the case. But solving a 15-year-old investigation is never easy, made even harder by the fact that Brad currently resides on death row.
Roxane has her work cut out for and the little town of Belmont is about to be shaken to its core!

Roxane is still mourning the loss of her cop father Frank, after his recent murder whilst on the job. She has a habitual whiskey problem and forms dysfunctional relationships with those around her. Roxane is very likeable; she is like the friend we all have who makes consistently the wrong life choices but whom we love regardless. Roxane sets her mind to saving Brad and along the way, she may save herself.

Where is Sarah Cook? After Roxane stumbles across dead end, after dead end. It becomes a search that leads Roxane to her father’s old case files. When she spots a comparison with the murder of Sarah’s parents and another cold case. She is determined to solve the case. But what do a murdered young mum, a missing girl, two dead parents and a possible innocent man on death row have in common? When Roxane faces harassment from the Belmont PD. The crimes of the past, spill over into the present and Brad’s execution date looms.
Roxane better solve this case and fast!

I originally picked this, as I do like crime fiction novels, with a ‘did they?’ or ‘didn’t they?’ to it element. I think it adds to the drama and makes you suspect everyone as the story unfolds. But I was cleverly fooled by this one despite the clue in the books title. This is a crime fiction debut and I think we can safely assume the author has a long successful career ahead of them.
It really is a cracking tale, with a massive, shock, twist ending. 4*

Kristen Lepionka
Author bio:
Kristen Lepionka is the author of The Last Place You Look, forthcoming in Spring 2017 from St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books. She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Author Links:
Web: http://www.kristenlepionka.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15613182.Kristen_Lepionka
Twitter: @KMLwrites

4* #Review #MyNameIsNobody by @RichardsonBooks @penguinrandom #SolomanVine @lcnicol #DebutNovel

Released today! Happy publication day to Matthew Richardson!

My Name Is Nobody by Matthew Richardson


‘I know a secret. A secret that changes everything . . .’

Solomon Vine was the best of his generation, a spy on a fast track to the top. But when a prisoner is shot in unexplained circumstances, and on his watch, only suspension and exile beckon.

Three months later, in Istanbul, MI6’s Head of Station is violently abducted from his home. With the Service in lockdown, uncertain of who can be trusted, thoughts turn to the missing man’s oldest friend: Solomon Vine.

Officially suspended, Vine can operate outside the chain of command to uncover the truth. But his investigation soon reveals that the disappearance heralds something much darker. And that there’s much more at stake than the life of a single spy . . .

My review:

I am a huge fan of ww2 and in particular the formation of the SOE and British intelligence. So I am a huge spy nerd and was very interested to read this novel which is set in the modern era.

The novel opens with the protagonist Solomon Vine interrogating a suspect. The suspect is accused of having ties to 5 British citizens known to be arriving in Syria. Vine has Dr Ahmed Yousef bang to rights and the evidence is stacked against him, they only information Vine awaits is the call to ship Yousef to a secret location for further ‘interrogation’. Vine is left reeling when he is asked to release the prisoner immediately! When Vine returns to the cell to release Yousef, he finds him unconscious with blood seeping from, what appears to be a gunshot wound. Who shot Yousef and why?

The novel moves on several months and with the once fast tracked spy, now living in professional exile. When during a meeting with Chair of the Joint Intelligence committee Cosmo Newton, it is revealed that fellow spy Gabriel Wilde has been kidnapped. With the committee wanting to avoid further attention and scrutiny they continue as if nothing happened. Newton orders Vine to discreetly investigate…………

Vine begins by meeting with senior politicians and we begin to see how the world of politics works alongside the intelligence sector. With no communication from the alleged kidnappers and no forensics, the case is a great mystery, that is until Vine receives a note from Wilde himself…….

The note offers little in the form of clues and is almost riddle like in its content. It mentions Wilde’s wife Rose and how Vine must take care of her. There are chapters from the past which detail Vine’s journey to being a spy and the complexity in the relationship between Rose, Wilde and Vine.

When further investigation, hints that Wilde was struggling with the actions of his past and his roles in UK and US foreign policy. Even rumours that he had converted to Islam. Did Wilde betray the government is search of redemption? The mystery and secrecy of the world of spies, flows on every page. When Cosmo Newton is found dead and he leaves Vine a series of codes. Vine has his back against the wall and a desperate need, to crack the codes of these fellow spies. Is there a mole at work, sabotaging his efforts?

“What if the abduction is not what seems?” what if it’s all part of something much worse……… Who is Nobody?

This novel has so many themes betrayal, martyrs, alliances and cover ups. Which leaves one of the most pressing questions, who spies on the spies? Who checks their integrity and honour?

Although this novel deals with completely different themes. The secrecy and mystery of the Spies lives, reminded me, of the TV series written by author Tom Rob Smith, London Spy!
#SolomonVine 4*

Matthew Richardson
Author bio:
Matthew Richardson studied English at Durham University and Merton College, Oxford. After a brief spell as a freelance journalist, he began working as a researcher and speechwriter in Westminster, and has also written speeches for senior figures in the private sector. My Name is Nobody is his first novel.

Authors Links:
Via publisher: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/matthew-richardson/125480/
Twitter: @RichardsonBooks