Category Archives: Last Night

Review: Last Night by Karen Ellis

Title: Last Night by Karen Ellis
The Searchers Series Book Two
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


NYPD detective Lex Cole tracks a missing Brooklyn teen whose bright future is endangered by the ghosts of his unknown father’s past, in this highly anticipated sequel to A Map of the Dark.

One of the few black kids on his Brighton Beach block, Titus “Crisp” Crespo was raised by his white mother and his Russian grandparents. He has two legacies from his absent father, Mo: his weird name and his brown skin. Crisp has always been the odd kid out, but a fundamentally good kid, with a bright future.

But one impulsive decision triggers a horrible domino effect–an arrest, no reason not to accompany his richer, whiter friend Glynnie on a visit to her weed dealer, and a trip onto his father’s old home turf where he’ll face certain choices he’s always strived to avoid.

As Detective Lex Cole tries to unravel the clues from Crisp’s night out, they both find that what you don’t know about your past can still come back to haunt you.


Last Night by Karen Ellis is a fast-paced and engrossing mystery.  Although this newest addition is the second installment in The Searchers series, it can be read as a standalone.

Titus “Crisp” Crespo is the valedictorian of his graduating class and he has been accepted into Princeton. However, his bright future is suddenly in jeopardy after a racist cop targets the mixed race young man.  After a night in jail, Crisp makes an ill-advised decision to go with casual acquaintance Glynnie Dryfus to buy some more pot from her dealer, JJ. Glynnie then drags both Crisp and JJ along with her on an ill-fated mission in Red Hook. Glynnie’s parents and Crisp’s mom report their children as missing and Detective Lex Cole and Detective Saki Finley work together to locate the errant teens.

Lex is fighting his demons following a horrible fight with his boyfriend, Adam.  Despite these distractions,  he works diligently to find Crisp.  Utilizing all of the technological resources available to them, they manage to retrace many of the Glynnie’s, JJ’s and Crisp’s stops from the night before. Unfortunately, they are a few steps behind Crisp and Lex and Saki are also stymied as they try to find out more details about JJ.

Crisp is highly intelligent but when it appears his plans for the future are ruined, he acts without thinking about the consequences of his choices.  He does have a few qualms about joining Glynnie, but he ignores his doubts. The situation goes horribly awry very quickly but Crisp manages to keep his wits about him as he tries to figure out how to escape from his increasingly dire situation.

Last Night is an riveting mystery that features a topical storyline that is quite insightful. The characters are well-rounded with realistic strengths and shortcomings. Lex’s situation with Adam revives painful memories and fears and he is tempted to return to unhealthy methods to help him cope. Crisp and Glynnie make some very poor choices that force them to grow up and accept responsibility for their actions. JJ’s story arc is utterly heartbreaking  and highlights how easy it is for at risk youths to fall through the cracks.  Karen Ellis brings this suspenseful and thought-provoking novel to an uplifting conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend The Searchers series to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Karen Ellis, Last Night, Multnomah Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Searchers Series