I started reading The Last Place You Look and was, at first, not sure about whether I wanted to finish it or where it could possibly be going. That was the hook! It’s a story that keeps you thinking and trying to forecast what the next page will contain, even though it seems like a highly predictable plot at first. It is far from it.
Kristen Lepionka has adopted elements of horrific, true life crime stories masterfully with her fictional characters and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride as they speed towards the shocking ending.
PI Roxane Weary is engaged to find a missing, possible witness for murder by the convicted man’s sister. She is sure she saw the woman and, as her brother Brad Stockton, who has been sitting on death row for some time, has had an execution date declared, she is desperate for Sarah Cook to be found. Roxane reluctantly agrees to take the case. As she works her way through many filters of information, from her own personal demons to the desperation of her employer, she uncovers the small town mentality of the local community, including the closed nature of its police force.
Despite this, Roxane continues to piece together not only the pieces of the puzzle around the killing of Sarah Cook’s parents, but sees links with other cold cases in the area, one in particular – a case her father had never been able to solve. She develops several theories and whilst investigating each one she is drawn further in to a web of deceit that has been building for more than the fifteen years since Sarah’s disappearance.
The characters in this tale are real, they are flawed and needy in places, but all of them tie the sadness of the predicament and the underlying links between the thin veils of truth together in a way that allows Lepionka to draw the reader into the confusion Roxane is working through.
As the story is coming to a close, the reader finds themselves hurtling downwards in a spiral of events that come faster and faster until the true culprit and their monstrosity is revealed. Not a story or a style for everyone, but one that is captivating and well-crafted.
Well worth purchasing to add to your collection.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 8
Released by: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: August 2017