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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The first in a series of PI Roxanne Weary novels, The Last Place You Look’s greatest strength is its chief investigator. Weary is a razor-sharp detective hindered by a rather messy private life: she’s struggling with a drinking problem and her cop father’s death, plus managing two equally poisonous relationships (one with a man, another with a woman). The case itself is high-stakes fare with our hero picking up a 15-year-old murder case involving a man on death row. He appears entirely guilty, but as Weary immerses herself into the dark secrets of an Ohio suburb, things get interesting and incredibly grisly.
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.