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.
Guys, I think I’ve found my new favorite mystery series. Okay, I probably shouldn’t say this given that there’s only book #1 so far, but I wanted to share how much I loved this one. How do I know that this novel was special? Well, I read many series but the truth is that I almost never read a book after having finished the previous one. I need to diversify and I like to change styles. But the moment I finished The Last Place You Look, I knew I wanted to read the next one. Immediately. I needed it. Obviously, I couldn’t because this has just been released, but the important detail is that I was about to change my reading routines because of this book!
I’m not going to lie to you: this isn’t a unique or particularly groundbreaking novel. It’s a mystery book, featuring a PI (instead of a cop) and it follows many of the classic ingredients we all know and love. Still, there was something utterly compelling about the main character, Roxane, and her relationship with her family, friends, and lovers. I haven’t read many books featuring female PIs, except maybe for the Kinsey Millhone series, and while I found those novels entertaining, I was never “in love” with them. They didn’t feature enough personal storylines for my taste, and the cases weren’t that fascinating most of the time. If I need to keep reading a series featuring a particular character, at least, I want to be invested in their lives. However, in The Last Place You Look there was both an addictive case and plenty of interesting secondary storylines, so it was a win-win kind of book.
Roxane is kind of the classic tortured detective, only this time she’s her own boss. However, despite being self-employed, there are plenty of people here who don’t want her to keep investigating. Because Roxane is an amazing private investigator. She “finds things” and she’s great at it. In addition, she drinks a lot, she doesn’t have a family of her own and has a complicated relationship with both a man and a woman. I’m not going to lie, I’m team Tom all the way, maybe because I fell a little (okay, a lot) in love with him, but I admit the ex-girlfriend was quite fascinating, too. Another dynamic that I thought worked really well was Roxane’s relationship with her family. And there’s so much to explore here. I loved that she used her father’s notes to help her with the case.
But let’s talk about the mystery. Honestly, I couldn’t stop reading. The Last Place You Look was fast-paced, nail-biting and simply unputdownable. Sarah Cook disappeared the night her parents were murdered. Did Brad do it? Did she do it? Is she alive as Brad’s sister claims? Was she dead all this time? Is this case connected to a series of unsolved murders? (Let’s not kid ourselves, come on, of course it is all connected).
The ending was a great one, and there was even a smaller twist that I didn’t expect at all. So yes, I’m more than satisfied with this novel and of course, I want you all to read it and help me cope until the next book is out.
ARC, Minotaur Books, 2017