Once You Go This Far by Kristen Lepionka: Good, old-fashioned detective work with a delicious contemporary spin - book review -
Despite her initial scepticism, Roxane soon discovers that what began as a suspicious death probe could become a case that is bigger and more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.
If you haven’t already met award-winning Kristen Lepionka’s tough-nut, down-to-earth detective Roxane, then the fourth book in this thrilling mystery series would be as good a time as any to jump on board and enjoy the ride.
These crime-cracking, excitingly authentic stories feature brilliantly plotted mysteries and a charismatic lead player whose vibrancy and off-beat quirkiness has won the hearts and minds of thousands of readers.
Quick-witted, clever and with an emotional insecurity that renders her achingly vulnerable and likeable, Roxane’s personal life (a bisexual forever in the shadow of her recently deceased ex-cop father) is as complex as the cases she is called upon to solve.
Since the death of her retired cop father, PI Roxane Weary has done everything she can to lose herself in her work but she’s getting tired of the hangovers and avoiding her mother. And now the troubled relationship with her girlfriend has ended with Catherine’s abrupt departure for the East Coast.
But when she is asked by Maggie Holmer from Detroit to investigate what she believes is her sixty-something mother Rebecca Newsome’s suspicious death, Roxane, who is always ‘hungry for the why’ in her cases, dives in with her usual dogged determination.
Junior-high school nurse Rebecca was a seasoned walker and although the police believe her fall from a trail in a Columbus metro park was caused by possibly tripping over her dog’s lead, Maggie is far from convinced and her mother’s ex-husband is her prime suspect.
The self-opinionated Keir Metcalf is a well-connected ex-cop and Maggie is certain that is the reason no one will listen to her suspicions about her former stepfather.
From a series of trips to Detroit and across the border to a casino in Canada, and strange calls from Rebecca’s home to a charismatic political candidate, to a women’s health organisation and an insular and controlling evangelical community, Roxane has to work out how everything is connected before a dangerous secret gets someone else killed.
And in the meantime, her father’s former cop partner Tom has walked back into her life, and a bombshell discovery about her dad will leave her reeling…
Roxane has her hands full, and her heart close to breaking, in this increasingly unsettling and suspense-packed new case which twists and turns like a high-speed rollercoaster and drags her deeper and deeper into the web of a perilous conspiracy.
With her already complicated private life under increasing pressure, and a border-hopping investigation which requires every ounce of her stubborn determination and detective skills, Roxane must travel far beyond her personal and professional comfort zones.
Once You Go This Far sees Lepionka on the kind of form that won her the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel in 2017 with The Last Place You Look.
It’s a tale of our times told through the vibrant, sometimes jaded but intrinsically moral, voice of a charismatic leading lady, and written with the rich detail and mastery we have come to expect from this talented author.
Good, old-fashioned detective work with a delicious contemporary spin…
(Faber & Faber, paperback, £8.99)