Last Seen Leaving, Catherine Lea
The blurb for LAST SEEN LEAVING outlines a particularly interesting concept - high-flying, New York District Attorney, with a happy personal life is struck down by a viral eye infection which renders her blind. Now running a small, suburb based law practice, her ex-fiancée is reported missing in New Zealand, and his mother receives a ransom note, and a gruesome example of the kidnapper's intent. Syd Shaeffer is contacted by Spinelli's mother which leads to her heading for New Zealand to try to find the missing man.
Now I will admit that if you sit down and think about this for a while it may sound a little unlikely, but why shouldn't a blind woman head off on her own to New Zealand. Although it is a place she's never been to before, she's left to rely on total strangers to guide her about, on an unknown trail of a missing ex. It get's a bit hairy at points needless to say, and whether or not you're going to be comfortable with all of that will depend a lot on how much the character of Syd Shaeffer convinces you of her abilities and determination.
Syd's an interesting character. On the one hand, no idiot, but on the other she does some seemingly daft, almost fem-jep things in LAST SEEN LEAVING. She's does manage to remain believable, despite the occasional "what the" moment though. What's less convincing about the novel overall where some of the seemingly endless byways that we were dragged into, with a tendency to just go on for way too long, rendering any sense of tension lukewarm. The other issue was some rather over the top depictions of the secondary characters - I must admit I never did decide if Spinelli's mother was supposed to be comic or not.
With some tightening of the plot elements, and more clear-cut depictions of the secondary characters, there's some potential in Syd Shaeffer and it would be good to see where she could go in the future.
Syd Shaeffer used to be so much: ambitious and fearless, a stellar New York District Attorney, and fiancée to love of her life, Frank Spinelli.
A viral eye infection changed all that. Now she's blind and runs a failing law practice out in the burbs.
But when Frank goes missing in New Zealand and the ransom note tells his mother not to call the police, Syd just may be the only one who can find him.
Is Syd just driven by honor? Or is she trying to prove that she's still good enough? And when the first dead body turns up, can a blind woman see what everyone else has overlooked?
Or will she be next on the killer’s list?