For What It's Worth

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

review: last seen leaving by caleb roehrig


25036310Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via ALA16

Review:

Thrillers are so hit or miss for me. The procedural aspect bores me, I hate when an author keeps misdirecting me to the point of my not caring who did it and there is usually a lack of relationships so there’s no one to root for.

Roehrig avoids most of these issues by giving us a very relatable 15 year old Flynn as the main protagonist. After an argument, Flynn’s ex-girlfriend January has gone missing and the police show up at his house for questioning. Flynn has a pretty big secret he wants to keep from everyone but is just as worried as everybody else about her disappearance, leading him to do a little snooping on his own. He discovers that the things January told Flynn about her new swanky private HS and job don’t match with reality and he might not know his best friend and ex girlfriend as well as he thought he did.

There are clues to January’s disappearance peppered throughout with plenty of suspects – her politically ambitious step father, his ruthless campaign manager, her pervy step brother, unhinged mother and a number of other people but I felt this was all delivered in a low key way that let you discover the clues on your own and make your guess rather than saying he/she’s the killer! Never mind they aren’t! Psyche! Not that there isn’t any misdirection but it felt natural to the story for me.

Then we have Flynn’s path to self discovery and acceptance via his search for January. Although January is mostly seen only through flashbacks, she’s just as vibrant a character as Flynn.

The author does a fantastic job of weaving Flynn’s memories of his time with January with his present predicament and new blossoming romance. I cared about all parties involved, worried for the outcome and was rooting for Flynn’s happiness.

There were a few awkward transitions between scenes with Flynn and, Kaz, the boy helping him investigate. They would be having a rather intense personal conversation – get sidetracked by the case – then it would pick up a few days later. I would have liked to see how they ended those encounters but that’s a minor nitpick.

I read very few mystery/thrillers so your mileage may vary on whether this works for you. For me Last Seen Leaving was moody, tense and surprisingly sweet and had the right balance of chills and character complexity. I would describe it as a genre cross between coming of age and a thriller. I’m really looking forward to Caleb Roehrig’s next book – White Rabbit.

25 comments:

  1. Awesome review, Karen! I really like thrillers, but I don't read nearly enough of them! I feel like they are the best sort of escape, because the characters have so many issues of their own it makes your own feel like nothing by comparison. The cover of this one is pretty cool, there's something about the design that really appeals to me. Must be the silhouette effect and soft colours. I love the way you describe this one! Definitely throwing this on the TBR. Thanks! :)

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. This was definitely a thriller but more of a coming of age novel as well so it really worked for me.

      I get bored with mysteries if they drag out to long so I guess I just need to find the right type of thrillers for me. This one showed me it's possible!

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  2. Ohh chills? I want some of that too. My mystery ones have not given me chills

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    1. Ha! I always get bored so I was happy I enjoyed this one.

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  3. Sounds good! Nice they didn't fall into the typical traps.

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    1. I don't read many but this felt fresh and fun to me.

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  4. I really liked this one. I liked the mix of mystery and coming of age. I really look forward to his next book. Great review!

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    1. Agreed. I can't wait to read White Rabbit. I requested it so fingers crossed!

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  5. Same here. Thrillers unless written by my favorite author Mary Higgins Clark,ar a hit or miss for me. Which also explains why I don't read much from other suspense/thriller authors. But this one sounds really good

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    1. This was definitely a mystery/thriller but enough of a coming of age contemp to keep my interest.

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  6. Minus the transitional hiccups, this sounds like a great thriller novel. Thrillers aren't my genre of choice but this definitely sounds like the author created something different and fresh for readers to enjoy.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

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    1. I'm trying the genre a bit more. I think I just have to find a blend like this one was.

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  7. I love thrillers, but it is difficult finding one that really grips me. This sounds like it hit the spot. Great review Karen.

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    1. I hate when I have it figured out by chapter 2 and have to wait a whole book for them to figure out the obvious. lol

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  8. oh I do love seeing complex characters in a story and glad to see that this book had that!!

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  9. I like thrillers but sometimes it just doesn't grab me.

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  10. I loved this one - so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. I can't wait for White Rabbit.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  11. This sounds good! I've been reading so many thrillers lately and so far I'm not tired of them yet, so I'll be adding this one as well. Nice that it doesn't feel like your being beat over the head with clues or misdirection, which yeah some thrillers are guilty of for sure!

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  12. You've put your finger on the reason why I often struggle with thrillers: there are rarely enough character relationships or people to root for! This sounds like it strikes a good balance between intense and sweet, and Flynn sounds like a great MC. It's nice to have a thriller narrator you can actually like for once!

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  13. mysteries are a hit or miss for me too. Glad you enjoyed this one :)

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