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by Nina Matti

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Place You Look. By Kristen Lepionka. $25.99; Minotaur Books; 321 pages

Brad Stockton's life is on the line.

After being convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend's parents on the same night that she, Sarah Cook, mysteriously disappeared, Brad was sentenced to death. With his execution quickly approaching, Brad's doting sister Danielle is desperate and convinced of his innocence.

Swearing that she spotted Sarah at a gas station nearby, Danielle is willing to try anything to save her brother's life. She hires out of work private investigator Roxane Weary to do whatever it takes to get her brother off of death row.

Roxane struggles through the case, following failed lead after failed lead all while trying to drink away the pain of the recent death of her father, a police officer shot while working on a case. She also finds comfort and distraction from reality in juggling sexual relationships with her father's former work partner Tom and her on-again-off-again lover Catherine.

In the sleepy suburb Belmont, Roxane starts to find connections between multiple recent murder cases, and just as she thinks she knows who is responsible, yet another teenage girl goes missing.

The Last Place You Look kept me on my toes from start to finish. It was the kind of book that kept me up all night reading and hypothesizing wildly about who really killed this suburban couple and kidnapped their daughter, along with many other young girls. Lepionka's writing is beautiful and enthralling. It deepens the thriller-novel genre into so much more: a tale not only of a PI cracking a case, but one that delves into the personal struggles of a bisexual, alcoholic woman working in a male-dominated field and coping with a traumatic loss.

This book is a must-read.

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