Kristen Lepionka returns with Once You Go This Far and once again gives Roxane Weary a complex case to tackle in this must-read crime fiction series. Lepionka crafted one of the most unique characters in the genre and once she entered the reader’s consciousness, Roxane Weary blossomed into a force to be reckoned with – both as a character on the written page to be championed and as a symbol of progress in a community too long dominated by the same old same old. This fourth stellar entry in the series does not disappoint.
Once You Go This Far opens with Roxane encountering Rebecca Newsome in the parking lot near a hiking and biking trail. A short while later, Rebecca is dead at the bottom of a ravine and Roxane finds herself investigating what everyone except the woman’s daughter thinks is a tragic accident. Nothing in Newsome’s life seems to be making sense and it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this story. Between the excessive travel, some financial discrepancies, and an asshole of an ex-husband, Rebecca Newsome’s life is proving far more suspicious than even Roxane expected. And when an old nemesis becomes entangled in the whole mess, Roxane must determine if she is telling the truth this time or just setting up another con job.
Kristen Lepionka has populated this series – and Roxane’s life – with a plethora of quirky characters. All the reader favorites make return appearances here and the plot is constructed in such a way that the denouement comes about because of all their participation, while still leaving Roxane Weary as the star of the show. Roxane’s family has always been an integral part of these books and her relationships with her parents and siblings have served as a way of gauging her change across these four books. Once You Go This Far is no exception, with still more surprises – and growth – in store for our heroine.
Kristen Lepionka’s writing style calls to mind the works of an icon of the female-led PI subgenre, Sara Paretsky. Both authors weave social issues and complex relationships into solidly-build mystery plots while never straying from their highly-readable writing style. This is a series that shows diverse does not mean unrelatable; we can all learn from walking in shoes that differ from our own. If you haven’t met Roxane Weary, I encourage you to start from the beginning (The Last Place You Look) – her personal journey is so important to the overall effect – and if you have already made her acquaintance, do not miss this latest addition to her saga.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.