‘You know Reacher, Rebus and Grace. Now meet Roxane Weary…‘
– Once You Go This Far
[ About the Book ]
After the death of her cop father, PI Roxane Weary did everything she could to lose herself in her work – but she’s getting tired of the hangovers, of fighting with her ex-girlfriend, and of avoiding her mother. When she’s asked to investigate a suspicious death, she delves into the case with her usual stubborn determination.
Pulling her far from home, and into an insular and controlling evangelical community, the case might just be bigger than Roxane can handle alone. But is it too late, or too dangerous, to call on the people she needs?
[ My Review ]
Once You Go This Far by Kristen Lepionka will be published in paperback January 21st with Faber & Faber. It is the fourth book in this series featuring private investigator Roxane Weary. It is a series that is garnering great acclaim from across the globe, with Lee Child stating that ‘Lepionka is a major new talent….wise, knowing, propulsive and perfectly pitched.‘ I hadn’t read any books in this series before so I was a little hesitant but, as the character really appealed to me, I decided to jump in. I like a story featuring a strong, kick-ass female and Roxane Weary seemed to tick that box perfectly.
In Once You Go This Far, Roxane is attempting to move on from the death of her father, a policeman with a reputation. She is drinking too much, damaging relationships with those who love her and just in a complete funk about her life and what she wants from it. She is very much off-kilter, struggling to deal with the everyday. On an uneventful morning, Roxane is near the scene of a tragedy when a hill walker, Rececca Newsome, has an accidental fall off the path. The injured woman is retrieved, Roxanne gives her statement and later returns home thinking that all is wrapped up but some time after she receives a call from Rebecca’s daughter, Maggie Holmer. Rebecca died from her injuries three days after her fall and Maggie suspects foul play. Her mother was a very experienced hill-walker, used to the undulating hills, having previously hiked on the Grand Canyon among many other well known challenging walks. Maggie raises concerns over other avenues that she feels were never explored properly and now wishes to hire Roxane in the hope of unearthing the truth behind her mother’s very untimely death.
Roxane is initially sceptical of Maggie’s claims, but it’s work, so she is perfectly happy to see if there is any evidence to be found that supports her accusations. Roxane compartmentalises her personal life, leaving untended conversations behind her as she embarks on a journey that leads her down some very unexpected and dangerous paths. As the layers peel away, Roxane makes some very startling discoveries. Handling multiple societal themes including emotional domestic abuse and fundamentalism, as well as the family dynamic and personal relationships, Kristen Lepionka packs a lot between the covers with multiple threads cleverly interwoven to a satisfying conclusion.
Roxane is a great character. She has many flaws that really humanise her, bringing her very much alive for the reader. She is quite a complex individual dealing with many personal issues and it’s clearly obvious that her job is her escape. But, as much as she hopes to rely on herself only, situations arise where Roxane has no choice but to let others in.
As I have not read the previous three Roxane Weary books, I cannot compare them but, what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the pure escapism of Once You Go This Far. It was very easy to get an overall sense of the general trajectory of Roxane’s life to date. I was well hooked into the story, intrigued to uncover the truth behind Rebecca’s death and follow the tangled web of deceit that Roxane had to unravel along the way. With plenty of twists and turns keeping the suspense alive, Once You Go This Far is a straight-up PI novel with nothing too far-fetched in its storyline. Quite simply just pure entertainment. If you are looking for an easy, realistic and enjoyable page-turner may I recommend you give this series a try.
[ Bio ]
Kristen Lepionka is the author of The Last Place You Look (2017), winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P. I. Novel, and What You Want to See (2018). She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.
Twitter – @KMLwrites