Happy Thursday everyone! I’m thrilled to be welcoming back Kristen Lepionka’s Roxane Weary to A Knight’s Reads. I’m a little gutted I couldn’t fit in reading The Stories You Tell as I really enjoyed the previous two investigations Roxane has been through. It will be added to my reading pile before long though! And reading the extract I have for you really makes me want to cheat on my TBR….
Big thanks to Lauren Nicholl of Faber & Faber for inviting me onto the blog tour.
A 3AM PHONE CALL IS NEVER GOOD NEWS…
Private investigator Roxane Weary receives a panicked call from her brother, Andrew: his one-time fling, Addison, who turned up at his apartment the night before drunk, bloodied and hysterical, has gone missing.
As police suspicion quickly falls on her brother, Roxane knows she is the only person who believes him. She just has to figure out what happened.
Through tracking Addison’s digital footprint she goes deeper and deeper into the events preceding her disappearance. But, as Roxane struggles to distinguish the truth from the stories people tell about themselves online, the case takes another dramatic turn.
I could never sleep at Catherine’s house, and it made no sense.
Everything about her bedroom was engineered to combat insomnia— from the cool French linen sheets to the plush king- size mattress to the blackout curtains— but none of it worked on me. I could never relax there, never quite felt at home somehow. Maybe I missed the nocturnal rustling of people in the alley that ran the length of my own apartment on the edge of downtown, the creaks and sighs of the century- old building, the coppery streetlights that shone straight through my cheap mini blinds. Not even Catherine’s soft, even breath beside me was enough to lull me into unconsciousness when I stayed over— she was really miles away, cocooned in a satin eye mask and the chemical white noise of Ambien, and I was alone with the starless ceiling, my thoughts, and the kind of silence that only existed in ritzy neighborhoods and, I assumed, death.
The three o’clock hour was usually when I gave up and went home; we’d known each other long enough for that not to mean anything, and maybe it was even better that way, neither of us exactly being morning people. I kind of liked the streets of Bexley in the middle of the night. The giant houses all dark and silent, the traffic lights flashing yellow. But some nights, like tonight, I just lay there and tried to wait it out. Trading the warm bed for the mid- January temperatures outside was hardly appealing.
But then my phone rang.
The tuneless vibration from the floor startled me. Catherine gave a soft sigh and shifted on her pillow but didn’t wake up. I swung my legs out from under the covers, cringing at the chill as I grabbed my jeans and felt for the pocket. I found the phone just as the buzzing stopped and I saw my brother’s name lit up on the screen.
It wasn’t the first time he’d ever called me in the middle of the night.
The last time had been the night my father died.
I went into the guest bedroom and called Andrew back. He answered halfway through the first ring. “Roxane,” he said, his voice tense. “Are you busy?”
“It’s the middle of the night,” I said, “so no.” Through the window, I could see that the street was already blanched white with falling snow.
“Well, I didn’t know.”
I sat down on the futon next to Catherine’s open suitcase, half-full of clothes for her impending trip to Rhode Island. “What’s up?”
Andrew cleared his throat. “Something really weird just happened. Maybe bad-weird. I’m not sure.”
I leaned forward, elbows on my knees. “What, Andrew?”
“This girl I know— woman— Roxane, shit, I’m getting another call. Can you just come over here? Please?”
“Andrew,” I said again, but he’d already hung up.
Who Is Kristen Lepionka?
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.