"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)
2018 Shamus Award Winner and Best First Novel Nominee for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, The Last Place You Look is a head-on collision between an allegedly closed case and a tenacious, troubled private investigator who doesn't know when to quit.
Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The 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 is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.
Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah's vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.
The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case—hers included.
Convicted killer Bradford Stockton, whose case propels Lepionka's action-packed if uneven debut, is scheduled to be executed in two months for the stabbing murder 15 years earlier of the parents of his girlfriend, Sarah Cook. Sarah went missing the day of the crime and is presumed dead. After Brad's sister, Danielle, thinks she sees Sarah outside a suburban Ohio gas station, she hires PI Roxane Weary to find Sarah, in the hope that doing so will prove Brad's innocence. While Roxane investigates, she's harassed by phone calls from someone who breathes heavily but says nothing. Moreover, her car is broken into, the police keep pulling her over for no reason, and she spots a man looking into her apartment window. A loving but dysfunctional family and a habit of overdrinking don't make matters any easier for her. Lepionka has created an appealing, relatable lead, but she falters near the end as Roxane takes too many unlikely risks.