The Stories You Tell
The Stories You Tell is Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author Kristen Lepionka’s heart-pounding third novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats with her signature twists and mile-high stakes.
A late-night phone call is never good news, especially when you’re Roxane Weary. This one is from her brother Andrew, whose evening was interrupted by an urgent visit from Addison, a hip young DJ and one-time fling, who turns up at his apartment scared and begging to use his phone. She leaves as quickly as she appeared, but now Andrew is worried―especially when Addison never makes it home and her friends and family demand to know where she is. As the police begin to suspect that something may have happened to her, and that Andrew is involved, Roxane tracks Addison’s digital footprint as she goes deeper and deeper into the events preceding her disappearance. Meanwhile, a cop is found dead on the opposite side of town, leading to a swirl of questions surrounding a dance club whose staff―which includes Addison―has suddenly gone AWOL. As Roxane struggles to distinguish the truth from the stories people tell about themselves online, it's clear that the mystery of Addison's whereabouts is just the beginning.
What You Want to See
May 1, 2018, Minotaur Books
The thrilling follow up to The Last Place You Look, starring troubled and determined private investigator, Roxane Weary
Marin Strasser has a secret. Her fiancé thinks her secret is that she’s having an affair, and he hires P.I. Roxane Weary to prove it.Then, just days into the case, Marin is shot to death on a side street in an apparent mugging. But soon enough the police begin to focus on Roxane's client for Marin’s death, so she starts to dig deeper into Marin’s life―discovering that the elegant woman she’s been following has a past and a half, including two previous marriages, an adult son fresh out of prison, and a criminal record of her own. The trail leads to a crew of con artists, an ugly real estate scam that defrauds unsuspecting elderly homeowners out of their property, and the suspicious accident of a wealthy older woman who lives just down the street from where Marin was killed.
With Roxane’s client facing a murder indictment, the scammers hit close to home to force Roxane to drop the case, and it becomes clear that the stakes are as high as the secrets run deep.
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The Last Place You Look
June 13, 2017, Minotaur Books
Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The 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 is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.
Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah's vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.
The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case―hers included.
What people are saying
"Lepionka reboots the thriller genre with her troubled hero, Roxane Weary, a private eye with little concern for her own safety (or the gender of her shifting sexual partners.) The Last Place You Look riffs off Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane but finds a way to make detective fiction relevant again, in 2017. I have never read a more confident debut."―James Renner, author of True Crime Addict and The Man From Primrose Lane
"In The Last Place You Look, a talented new voice in crime fiction gives us the seedier side of a Midwestern community―and a character worth following anywhere she trespasses. A wonderful debut."―Lori Rader-Day, Mary Higgins Clark Award- and Anthony Award-winning author of The Black Hour and Little Pretty Things
"Roxane is a wonderfully complex character...This is a remarkably accomplished debut mystery, with sensitive character development and a heart-stopping denouement. Let's hope there are more Roxane Weary novels on the way."―Booklist (starred review)
"Introducing a fascinating protagonist who combats her emotional demons with the aid of sugar, booze, and sex, this suspenseful, original, and confident debut will please fans of the hardboiled PI genre."―Library Journal (starred review)
"Lepionka's debut confidently portrays complex characters with multiple, sometimes contradictory, motivations and offers an unusually naturalistic perspective on sexual identity."―Kirkus Reviews
"Seriously, this is a must read. I loved it."―Martina Cole, author of Close and Betrayal
"Utterly superb―can't remember when I last read such an expertly written and perfectly constructed book that gave me so much pure reading pleasure."― Sophie Hannah, author of Closed Casket and The Monogram Murders
"The Last Place You Look is a sharp, timely, and assured debut. Lepionka’s got a real knack for character. Her protagonist, private eye Roxane Weary, manages to honor her literary predecessors while still crackling with originality and life."―Chris Holm, Anthony Award-Winning author of The Killing Kind and Red Right Hand
"Just when you think the PI novel is dead, Kristen Lepionka brings it roaring back to life. Roxane Weary is a richly drawn protagonist who proves that 'hardboiled' and 'feminine' aren't mutually exclusive. This book is so good it makes me jealous."―Rob Hart, author of New Yorked and City of Rose, and associate publisher at Mysterious Press
"The Last Place You Look is a beautifully written mystery, one I devoured in a single sitting, late into the night. I’ll now follow detective Roxane Weary anywhere: into her hopes and fears, into her past, and―especially―into danger. An extraordinary debut novel."―Christopher Coake, author of You Came Back
"In her daring debut, Kristen Lepionka blends traditional mystery with heart-stopping thriller elements to create something plenty original. The down-on-her-luck PI Roxane Weary battles her emotional demons to track down a human one, stumbling into plenty of trouble along the way. But she overcomes doubt in all its ugly forms, succeeding where others have failed. Lepionka exceeds expectations, as well, in this ambitious novel. With its memorable characters and surprising twists, The Last Place You Look will stay with readers long after they turn the last page."―Erica Wright, author of The Granite Moth and The Red Chameleon
"10 Great Female Detectives in Crime Fiction" - The Guardian
"7 Things I've Learned So Far About Being a Writer" - Writers' Digest Online
"The QUILTBAG Detective: LGBTQ+ characters in mystery novels" - Criminal Element
"Voting: A Love Story" - Bullshit.ist
"5 Books That Influenced My Writing" - Dead Good
"If You're Anxious and You Know It" - Women Writing, Women's Books