Laura Griffin is quickly becoming my go-to author for romantic suspense and mystery. I enjoyed the sneak peek of Last Seen Alone at the end of Flight and couldn’t wait to get my hand on this story.
Brandon is an Austin police detective who catches an unusual missing persons case and immediately believes it to be a murder. The only problem is there is no body.
Leigh is an attorney who specializes in cyberstalking and revenge cases. Her client turns out to be the missing person involved in Brandon’s case, which puts her on his radar.
Although Brandon and Leigh are wary of working together, they are both concerned about their mutually missing person and as the search heats up, so does their relationship.
What I like about Laura Griffin’s writing is that she keeps the story moving at a quick pace, she develops the characters with plenty of backstory, and she keeps you guessing until the end of the book.
Brandon and Leigh have chemistry from their first meeting, but their case definitely takes priority. I enjoyed watching them verbally spar with one another, although Brandon’s patience with Leigh’s unnecessary risk-taking was far better than what mine would have been.
This story was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. It is fast-paced, engaging, and kept me guessing at when the big reveal would happen.
“Last night, we got a callout to an abandoned vehicle on Old Quarry Road at the east edge of town.”
Her eyes filled with concern. “Is it Vanessa’s?”
“It’s a Toyota Corolla registered to her name, yes. And her identification was inside.”
“She left her wallet?”
“Her wallet, her keys, her phone.”
Leigh’s expression turned grim. “That doesn’t sound good.”
“Not that I can share.”
She turned away, settling her gaze on the crowded bar. But her thoughts looked to be miles away.
“The phone thing is weird,” she murmured.
“When she came to visit me, she had it in her lap the whole time.”
Brandon watched her, absorbing details he hadn’t noticed at the courthouse. Her dark hair had glints of red in it, and loose strands fell around her neck. He liked the bun, and he couldn’t look at it without wanting to pull it loose. She wore a chunky man’s sports watch that seemed at odds with her feminine clothes, and for some reason the combination was unbelievably sexy.
Brandon sipped his ice water.
“Was Vanessa having a problem with anyone?” he asked.
“A legal problem?”
“Any kind of problem. The thing with her landlord, for instance.”
“I can’t discuss her legal issues.”
And there it was, the dodge he’d expected. If it had been a homicide investigation, he could have compelled her to give him at least some information. As it was now, though, he needed to rely on persuasion.
“How’d she seem when she came to see you?” he asked, going for the indirect approach.
Leigh’s expression turned wary. “How do you mean?”
“Did she seem stressed out? Upset? Scared?”
“She was stressed out. But that’s not remarkable. I mean, people don’t generally come see me to tell me how great their life is going.”
“What kind of law do you practice?”
He tamped down his impatience. “Does Mendez and Larson have a specialty?”
“Officially, no. But we do a fair amount of work going after psycho-exes, stalkers, and online perverts.”
He eased forward. “Psycho-exes?”
“You know, pissed off boyfriends and husbands. Guys who harass and trash and post revenge porn, that sort of thing.”
For the first time since he’d shined his flashlight on that abandoned Toyota, Brandon felt like he was getting somewhere.
“Is that what was going on with Vanessa?” he asked. “And before you say anything about privilege, you should know that time is working against us here.”
“I don’t know. I wish I did.” Leigh looked sincere, but he figured that was an expression she had in her arsenal after years as an attorney. “We had a short preliminary conversation—mostly about our fee structure, to be honest with you. She seemed to be concerned about money. And then she left. When I didn’t hear back, I assumed she decided not to hire us.”
Brandon leaned back in the booth. He hadn’t had time for more than a quick internet search, but he hadn’t come up with this psycho-stalker angle when he’d run Leigh’s name. She must not be established in the specialty yet. Which meant Vanessa might not have gone looking for help with some guy giving her trouble. Maybe she simply needed some legal advice.
“You guys keep pretty busy with cases like that?” Brandon asked.
“Online harassment, you mean?”
She nodded. “There’s no shortage of bad actors out there. Same reason you stay busy, right? Some people are sick. And a depressing number of them use technology to terrorize women and upend their lives.”
“Mostly. At least the ones who come see us.” Her expression darkened. “Social media is rife with misogyny, you know. Harassment, rape threats, extortion. Some people do it for profit or for fun or because they’re sadistic. Some people are just flat-out crazy, and someone in their life becomes a target for that.”
Target. Exactly what Brandon was worried about with this missing person case.
Thank you for the advanced copy of LAST SEEN ALONE by Laura Griffin. All opinions are my own.
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date published : September 28, 2021
pages : 334
audiobook narrator : Cynthia Farrell
audiobook length: 9 hrs, 19 min
Up-and-coming attorney Leigh Larson fights for victims of sexual extortion, harassment, and online abuse. She is not afraid to go after the sleaziest targets to get payback for her clients. Leigh is laser-focused on her career–to the exclusion of everything else–until a seemingly routine case and a determined cop turn her world upside down.
Austin homicide detective Brandon Reynolds is no stranger to midnight callouts. But when he gets summoned to an abandoned car on a desolate road, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with an unusual crime scene. A pool of blood in the nearby woods suggests a brutal homicide. But where is the victim? The vehicle is registered to twenty-six-year-old Vanessa Adams. Searching the car, all Brandon finds is a smear of blood and a business card for Leigh Larson, attorney-at-law.
Vanessa had hired Leigh just before her disappearance, but Leigh has no leads on who could have wanted her dead. Faced with bewildering evidence and shocking twists, Leigh and Brandon must work against the clock to chase down a ruthless criminal who is out for vengeance.
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