Lepionka and Weary, I mean.
This second installment in the saga of Roxane Weary, a reckless, whiskey-loving, bisexual private investigator in Columbus, Ohio, is every bit as complex and telling as Lepionka's first outing, The Last Place You Look, which I raved about back in April.
When she takes on new client Arthur Ungless, who suspects his fiancée Marin Strasser is cheating on him, Roxane thinks this is going to be an easy, straightforward surveillance job. Unfortunately, her case gets more complicated when Marin turns up dead in an alley and Arthur becomes the prime suspect. Roxane is convinced he was really in love with her and never would have killed her. To clear his name, she searches into the victim's past, discovering a criminal record and a son just out of prison.
Then Arthur and a young woman, Tessa Pomp, are gunned down outside his office. With Arthur struggling to survive and Tessa dead, Vincent Pomp arrives on the scene, Mafia-don style, to avenge his daughter's murder.
Undaunted, Roxane juggles both cases, knowing there is a connection between the two murders while also uncovering cases of real estate scams and frauds.
Everyone who knows any of the players is in jeopardy, even those Roxane loves.
So there's plenty going on to keep Roxane busy—and that's before you throw in her personal life, which includes an ex-boyfriend who just happens to be working the official side of the investigation and an ex-girlfriend who won't quit sending mysterious text messages.
One of the highlights of this series is the modern, bisexual Roxane who tells the story from her point of view. This adds to the reality of the story as you come to know her, her insecurities and troubles, as well as her motivations. Being inside her head is just a joy; she's so full of snark—a mixture of funny, self-deprecating, and downright ballsy that I really love. An admirable trait is that she develops a bond with her clients; she isn't just trying to get justice but also wishes to restore their lives.
Lepionka has an uncanny knack for portraying relationships, for showing what makes her characters tick. With her refreshing style and clever plots, she has established herself as one of the major new voices of private eye fiction.
I am eagerly awaiting book #3!