Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wanted to read this book after taking part in a Twitter book chat a few months back with the author.
I was not disappointed.
Going into Last Seen Leaving, I saw quite a few comparisons to Gone Girl, which gave me reservations because I was one of the few who didn't like that book at all. After reading it, I see that the comparisons were pretty spot-on in terms of storyline - girl goes missing, boy who loves her reevaluates their relationship in light of stuff we're only seeing in flashbacks - but Roehrig delivers a far better, more unputdownable, and certainly more relatable story than Gillian Flynn ever did.
A better comparison, for me, would be USA's new series, Eyewitness, with which Last Seen Leaving has a few threads in common. Like a general Nordic-noir vibe (appropriate since Eyewitness is adapted from a Norwegian miniseries), or flawed teenage male leads you can't help but love, especially because of their coming-out stories. Not unlike Eyewitness' Philip, Flynn gave me those protective big-brother feels - which made me an absolute sucker for this story, because I just needed him to come out the other end unscathed, even as he unearthed all manner of potential suspects in his girlfriend January's disappearance and almost-certain murder. So much loathsome classism, political-aspirational bullshit, and victim-blaming going on. (And the part where Flynn finally comes out - while being questioned about January, too, so the police think he's lying or deflecting or something. Um, no.)
It's a hard read, but only because of the visceral reactions it gives you. Especially, for me, the climax, which had a few shades of some of those I've written myself. (I won't say which ones, because - insert River Song voice here - spoilers.)
I have the feeling that after Jeff Davis is done with Teen Wolf and all the other projects he's got in the pipeline, he might want to tackle this story - it's right up his alley. (Oh, and on the subject of Teen Wolf, I'd like to offer my own viewing experiences as proof to debunk Micah's supposition that a guy can't watch that show for the plot.)
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