The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka – Blog Tour Review

The Last Place You Look

The Last Place You Look was published by Faber & Faber on 13 June 2017 and is available to buy here

What’s it all about?

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 SerialThe Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.

Kristen_Lepionka_credit_Coley & Co

Kristen Lepionka 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.

My thoughts

Kristen Lepionka’s debut hits all the right notes, making them sing beautifully. The Last Place You Look is really rather excellent. A bizarre mystery, a tough female protagonist and the setting of small town America. Gorgeous contemporary noir!

Roxane Weary is a private investigator. She is hired to look into what happened to Sarah Cook, who went missing aged seventeen. A man is on death row, awaiting execution for the death of Sarah’s parents. This man is Brad Stockton. Brad seems to have given up hope. Danielle, Bradford’s sister, reported a recent sighting of Sarah at a petrol station. The big question is what has happened to Sarah Cook? Where is she?

Roxane is a delight. She is mixed up, hurting inside and in need of a hug. Her father died in the last year. This seems to have messed her up emotionally, leading to self medicating with sex and alcohol. In spite of all of this inner anguish, Roxane is completely focused on the job. She is determined to solve the mystery. Kristen Lepionka makes her very human and addictive. You want to know how Roxane will get her way out of trouble. You are rooting for Roxane, as she pieces things together. You are literally cheering for her.

We get a real sense of place. Roxane finds herself in small town America, where she stands out. She is an outsider in Belmont. She is looking into things, that do not concern her. The local police seem to have her on their radar, watching her every move. This makes for tense dialogue and a few moments of comedy.

Yes, this was superb. Just what the doctor ordered. I loved the resolution! Totally unexpected. Recommended.


Author’s website


Amazon UK:  The Last Place You Look

The Last Place You Look - BLOG TOUR POSTER

About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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