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The Last Place You Look: A Mystery (Roxane Weary) Hardcover – June 13, 2017
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"Lepionka reboots the thriller genre with her troubled hero, Roxane Weary, a private eye with little concern for her own safety (or the gender of her shifting sexual partners.) The Last Place You Look riffs off Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane but finds a way to make detective fiction relevant again, in 2017. I have never read a more confident debut."―James Renner, author of True Crime Addict and The Man From Primrose Lane
"In The Last Place You Look, a talented new voice in crime fiction gives us the seedier side of a Midwestern community―and a character worth following anywhere she trespasses. A wonderful debut."―Lori Rader-Day, Mary Higgins Clark Award- and Anthony Award-winning author of The Black Hour and Little Pretty Things
"Roxane is a wonderfully complex character...This is a remarkably accomplished debut mystery, with sensitive character development and a heart-stopping denouement. Let's hope there are more Roxane Weary novels on the way."―Booklist (starred review)
"Introducing a fascinating protagonist who combats her emotional demons with the aid of sugar, booze, and sex, this suspenseful, original, and confident debut will please fans of the hardboiled PI genre."―Library Journal (starred review)
"Lepionka's debut confidently portrays complex characters with multiple, sometimes contradictory, motivations and offers an unusually naturalistic perspective on sexual identity."―Kirkus Reviews
"Action-packed...Lepionka has created an appealing, relatable lead."―Publishers Weekly
"Utterly superb―can't remember when I last read such an expertly written and perfectly constructed book that gave me so much pure reading pleasure."― Sophie Hannah, author of Closed Casket and The Monogram Murders
"The Last Place You Look is a sharp, timely, and assured debut. Lepionka’s got a real knack for character. Her protagonist, private eye Roxane Weary, manages to honor her literary predecessors while still crackling with originality and life."―Chris Holm, Anthony Award-Winning author of The Killing Kind and Red Right Hand
"Just when you think the PI novel is dead, Kristen Lepionka brings it roaring back to life. Roxane Weary is a richly drawn protagonist who proves that 'hardboiled' and 'feminine' aren't mutually exclusive. This book is so good it makes me jealous."―Rob Hart, author of New Yorked and City of Rose, and associate publisher at Mysterious Press
"The Last Place You Look is a beautifully written mystery, one I devoured in a single sitting, late into the night. I’ll now follow detective Roxane Weary anywhere: into her hopes and fears, into her past, and―especially―into danger. An extraordinary debut novel."―Christopher Coake, author of You Came Back
“The P.I. at the heart of The Last Place You Look may be troubled and still green, but Kristen Lepionka’s debut mystery is as confident and deft as they come. A moving, arresting novel.”―Michael Kardos, author of Before He Finds Her
"In her daring debut, Kristen Lepionka blends traditional mystery with heart-stopping thriller elements to create something plenty original. The down-on-her-luck PI Roxane Weary battles her emotional demons to track down a human one, stumbling into plenty of trouble along the way. But she overcomes doubt in all its ugly forms, succeeding where others have failed. Lepionka exceeds expectations, as well, in this ambitious novel. With its memorable characters and surprising twists, The Last Place You Look will stay with readers long after they turn the last page."―Erica Wright, author of The Granite Moth and The Red Chameleon
"Seriously, this is a must read. I loved it."―Martina Cole, author of Close and Betrayal
"Kristen Lepionka spins a twisting, turning, enticing tale that keeps the reader guessing and turning pages to find out what happens next. "The Last Place You Look" is a promising first novel by a remarkable talent and you won't be disappointed if you look here first."―The Oklahoman
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I have loved mysteries since my Nancy Drew childhood days but my absolute favorite type of mysteries usually stars a hard-boiled and flawed private investigator. I like that PI’s can do the work cops can’t or won’t do and that they can get pretty close to crossing over the line since it ends up making for a more interesting story in my opinion. Luckily for me, Roxane Weary fits those points perfectly. She’s is a bit of a mess. She’s not quite at Micky Knight’s (J.M. Redmann) level but she has more issues than an early Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton) did. Roxane drinks too much, has trouble letting people close, and has very complicated family relationships, but she has a detective’s gut instinct and deep down she really cares about people. She was the kind of flawed character that I find really easy to like.
Since I mostly read/review lesfic I do want to say this doesn’t belong in that category. However, this book does get the LGBTQ tag. Roxane is bisexual and has relationships with both men and women. Both the m/f and wlw sex scenes where fade to black. I was not personally big on either character for Roxanne so I’m keeping my fingers crossed she will discover someone new in book 2.
When it came to the actually mystery, I was impressed. I had a guess of who the bad guy/girl was but I was wrong and had instead picked up on a red herring Lepionka put out. I normally have good luck guessing the criminal so I’m always happy when a mystery author can sneak one by me. While the books pace was a little slower at times, the book gradually kept ramping up and up. As a reader you started worrying about time, knowing the mystery need to be solved soon. For those reasons it added a bit of this slightly frantic but excited feeling to the book. It got your heart pumping a bit as the excitement kept building up to a satisfying story climax that all good mystery books should have.
If you are a mystery fan this is an easy book to recommend. It is really well done for a debut and just well done period. Books two and three are already out with a book four coming out in 2020. I’m really glad to know I have more of the series to read and I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready for more Roxane.
Brilliantly written with an urgent plot. If you see the ending coming, you're a better reader than me. The main character is flawed and beautiful and perfect and broken.
I think this is my favorite book I've read so far in 2017. Highly recommended.
The only problem with this book is that the author doesn't have another one out yet and now I am SO SAD I HAVE TO WAIT!
Liking Roxane is difficult. She treats others poorly and is her own worst enemy. Rooting for her to solve the mystery is easy. I found the case far more interesting than Roxane. THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK also has unique minor characters.
Debut writer Kristen Lepionka pens compelling, engaging words that help my interest, even when the pace slowed. I wish she had focused more on the murders. Aside from a subplot where the police keep bothering Roxane for being in their small town, the story felt realistic. My favorite part of THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK was the payoff. Until the action-packed resolution, I would have rated the book three stars.
We haven't heard the last from Roxane Weary or Lepionka as the PI will appear in more books. I will be sure to read book two.
Kristen Lepionka has drawn a character I care about, one I cheered for and cringed with. Not an easy feat, to create a flawed but deeply compelling main character alongside a pulse-pounding, electricity-filled plot line.
In short, it's a must read for your summer vacation list.
I hope we get to see more of Roxane Weary soon!!!!
THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK is the story of a sharp private detective who's hired to find a missing woman who disappeared more than a decade before. The trail has gone cold. The local police department is not only unhelpful, but downright obstructive. And our heroine struggles with not just the case, but grief for her father, a police officer recently killed in the line of duty.
Exceptionally well written with a great main character who I was rooting for every step of the way, I definitely recommend it for those who love twisty mysteries and fast-paced stories that will keep you up at night.
Top international reviews
Fifteen-years earlier black Bradford Stockton was placed on death row charged with stabbing Garrett and Elaine Cook, the parents of his younger, white girlfriend, seventeen-year-old Sarah. On that night Sarah also disappeared and has since been presumed dead. The case was closed in record time and appeared as open and shut as they come, with the bloodied weapon found in Brad’s car. His refusal to help himself and speculate that perhaps there was another side to the story didn’t help his cause and he has resolutely refused to contemplate Sarah’s involvement. However, a chance sighting of Sarah at an Ohio gas station sees Danielle hire Roxane to track her down. Glimpsed from across the road, in partial darkness and low on specific detail the odds don’t seem favourable. On the basis of the facts presented, Roxane concludes that Brad is more probably guilty and that his sister is delusional! Just where does Roxane go from here given the paucity of details and that Danielle’s companion on that night, Brad’s friend Kenny Brayfield wasn’t convinced by the fleeting glance?
Ever resourceful and undeterred, Roxane tracks down the private investigator who assisted on Brad’s trial, Peter Novotny, a man close to eighty who remembers Frank in his heyday and clarifies the specifics of the prosecution. Brad’s failure to offer an alibi, explain how the murder weapon found its way into his car and the absence of Sarah made for the very definition of reasonable doubt. As a licensed private investigator Roxane is allowed entry to the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, but Brad is loathe to play ball and answer the same questions that have plagued him and the fifteen-years that he has languished inside have made him cynical and left a slightly menacing air. Given his initial lack of cooperation and subsequent disclosure about his teenage misdemeanours along the lines of vandalism and his best friend, Kenny, being the regular supplier of weed in Belmont, he does’t appear anyone's idea of a paragon of virtue. As Roxane tracks down thee remaining Cook family relatives, asks around about the missing Sarah and is harassed by a silent and unknown heavy breather repeatedly phoning, she comes up against a brick wall fast, but the mysterious phone calls are enough to believe she has unsettled someone.. The Belmont cops are also keeping a close watch and inordinately concerned with her loitering in the area.
As any decent private investigator worth their fee knows, a different approach to a problem can pay dividends and Roxane takes an alternative angle, specifically by looking into the stabbing deaths in Franklin County and hoping to establish a pattern of similar crimes. Her initial probing reveals that her father was assigned to the remarkably similar case of high school dropout and young mum, Mallory Evans, which still remains unresolved. Tracking down Mallory’s husband and daughter she compares the overlap and similarities… and it isn’t just Mallory that seems to have gone missing and all within the small suburb of Belmont. As a location, Belmont smacks of small town suburban America where there are very few notable events and is clearly divided by an ‘invisible line’ which separates the poorer east side from the more affluent, and whiter, west side where the opportunities lie. Whilst Roxane does benefit from some truly fortuitous good luck in her endeavours, Lepionka also introduces a barrage of twists which offer potential for exploration and unexpected detours.
However tightly plotted and twisty this case proves, it is some outstanding characterisation that marks this debut out as something mighty special. Smart-mouthed and driven, Roxane Weary is the narrator and addresses her audience throughout in an engaging conversational style. Underneath the spiky and witty exterior, she is hugely self-doubting and in fact rather vulnerable. Roxane is the epitome of a self-deprecating modern female struggling to cope with keeping her life on the straight and narrow. However, it is not just Roxane who magnetises, every one of the supporting cast are pinned down and leave a strong impression, from rich boy and would be gangster, Kenny Brayfield to confused teenager, Shelby Evans.
In the final third of this novel, when Roxane is stymied by the Belmont police after numerous run-ins and eventually arrested for criminal trespass, the pace does seem to abate with things becoming a tad repetitive and the plot takes a pause for breath. All credit to Lepionka however, as she leads her readers a merry dance into the denouement, placing one alternative scenario clearly in the frame only to then unleash a totally unexpected conclusion. With one-n as opposed to two, edgy, nosy and impatient Roxane Weary is a modern day heroine to applaud and I look forward immensely to seeing her in action once again!
Review written by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
Please Ms Lepionka do not leave us Roxane fans hanging for too long.....
I know I can use the term "us Roxane fans"......because there will be thousands of us clamboring for the next adventure....
An outstanding debut novel....I read it straight through.....could not put it down....Roxane Weary is an amazing protaganist and I almost feel like I know her in real life.......I do know I want to be her......PLEASE hurry and release her next book as I am already getting withdrawal symtoms.....
An amazing....twisting....funny ....breathtaking....suprising novel from an extremly talented author
Not read this author before so I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more.
In short, this book is exciting and very well written (i cannot stand boring, overly descriptive nonsense!!).