Book Title and Author: What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka
Series: Roxane Weary #2
Publication Date and Publisher: May 1, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Procedural
Pages: 294 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: April 14, 2018 (e-arc)
Marin Strasser has a secret. Her fiancée thinks her secret is that she’s having an affair, and he hires P.I. Roxane Weary to prove it. Then, just days into the case, Marin is shot to death on a side street in an apparent mugging. But soon enough the police begin to focus on Roxane’s client for Marin’s death, so she starts to dig deeper into Marin’s life—discovering that the elegant woman she’s been following has a past and a half, including two previous marriages, an adult son fresh out of prison, and a criminal record of her own. The trail leads to a crew of con artists, an ugly real estate scam that defrauds unsuspecting elderly homeowners out of their property, and the suspicious accident of a wealthy older woman who lives just down the street from where Marin was killed.
With Roxane’s client facing a murder indictment, the scammers threaten Roxane’s mother by ensnaring her house in their web of fraud unless Roxane drops the case, and it becomes clear that the stakes are as high as the secrets run deep.
I have loved detective stories and mysteries since I was a kid reading Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, and Kristen Lepionka more than delivers both with her main protagonist Roxane Weary, private eye, and the complicated, intriguing cases she solves. When I read Lepionka’s The Last Place You Look last summer and was first introduced to Roxane, I knew that I was going to love her, flaws and all…and she has many like most of us! What I didn’t expect was that I would love What You Want To See even more than the first book since so many sophomore entries into any crime procedural can fall flat and lose their shiny appeal. Not this time! Oh no, I loved What You Want to See so much!!
In book two, Lepionka has crafted an extremely well-written detective novel that has an outstanding plot, and the case Roxane solves is suspenseful, intriguing, dangerous, and will keep you guessing right up till the end! If you read the first book, then you know that Roxane has a tendency to investigate cases even after she’s been told to stay out of the way and let the police do their job. In this book, it is even after Tom, her former lover and her dad’s ex-partner, tells her to stay off the case and out of the way! But…she is Roxy and super inquisitive (nosey!) by nature, so she continues to dig into the case she was hired for by Arthur Ungless, especially after his fiancee, Marin turns up dead and he becomes the prime suspect for her murder!
Actually, I’m not going to say much more about the plot except that this book begins almost immediately after book one ends (and I highly recommend you read them in order, so you know exactly what is going on with several characters!), and that it is riveting! The main reason that I’m not going to write much more about the plot is that the synopsis of the book is so detailed and pretty much tells what the book is about! And I really want you to read these books (both)!! You’ll fall in love with Roxane as much as I am if you do…promise!
And that really brings me to what I love most about this series and especially this book: in this second book, the characterization is just superb and if you know me from reading my other reviews, characters, their development, and their overall characterizations are my weakness in any novel. If I can’t connect with the characters in an emotional way, then I’m not going to enjoy the plot as much as I normally would no matter how marvelous it might be! Roxane is one of the most interesting female characters that I’ve encountered in a long time because she is so raw, sarcastic, honest, complex, smart, vulnerable, so real, and I could just go on!
In case you aren’t familiar with the books, Roxane is bisexual, and I love how that brings much-needed diversity to this genre but doesn’t define Roxane nor does the novel revolve around her sexuality. She is really a fantastic, strong female lead character that I wholeheartedly love!
Besides the character of Roxane, Lepionka really developed the secondary characters as well, and I was glad to see this since you never know in a book series who will reappear! Roxane’s relationship with teenage Shelby from book one was a relationship that I loved since it showed a completely different side of her as she stepped into the role of “aunt” to the younger girl. There was more in book two of Roxane’s relationship with Cat, and this completely knocked me off my feet since after book one, I was not Cat’s biggest fan. It also had less of a romantic relationship with Tom, yet the love triangle remains and although love triangle tropes can be overdone and trite, it isn’t in this case because Lepionka knows what she is doing…I’m amazed at what a fantastic writer she is! I anxiously look forward to where Roxane’s love life heads in book three.
Okay, so I’m done gushing about Roxane and Lepionka’s amazing plot, characterizations, oh and the story has impeccable pacing too! I loved this book…I know I said that already, but I can’t find anything but good things to say about Lepionka’s newest novel! You’ll love the clever, suspenseful mystery and the characters are fantastic. I can’t wait for book three, and I highly recommend you What You Want to See!!
**Thank you, NetGalley, Minotaur Books, and Kristen Lepionka for an ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review.**