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.
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 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