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Last Seen Leaving

By Catherine Lea

Brakelight Press
ISBN 978-0473449773
Publication Date: August, 2018

Last Seen Leaving

Review by Danny Lindsey

Catherine Lea has become a master storyteller. In Last Seen Leaving (Brakelight Press, 2018) she tackles a unique and very difficult protagonist, and succeeds nicely. Syd Schaeffer, former assistant District Attorney, has been blinded by a rogue virus. Her promising career has become little more than a subsistence practice, fed the occasional case from Walt Vander, a police detective. Syd suspects that even the cases he refers are from a sense of pity.

All that changes when her former fiancé disappears in New Zealand. He’s been caught up in an international tug of war over plans to retrofit the targeting software on an A4 Skyhawk, and apparently kidnapped. Syd is determined to not only solve the case, but to travel alone to New Zealand and solve it in person, over the objections of both her assistant and Walt Vander.

Lea describes the hurdles encountered by Syd at each step as though she has personal knowledge of the constant obstacles visually impaired persons must overcome routinely. She makes the reader aware of just how difficult every move can be.

If the telling is done well, the plot is even better. Without becoming so convoluted that the reader needs a program to tell the good guys from bad, Lea weaves an intricate thread, all the while giving Syd the correct doses of pluck and luck to move the storyline along at a good pace.

U.S. readers will find a few words here and there (e.g., lorry) that are not in use in America, but none that need be looked up. In fact, their use often blends right in with the location. All in all, this is a good one. Catherine Lea has once again stepped up her game.


Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services Manager for a Huntsville, A.L.  based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.

Update:  Danny won the 2017 Killer Nashville Claymore Award with his manuscript Serial Justice –  so he will not be unpublished for long!