Texas Author Laura Elvebak introduced readers to counselor Nikki Alexander and the plight of homeless teens in Houston in her novel “Less Dead.” While the subject matter of homeless kids is painful for any caring parent, the book was a good one filled with plenty of realistic characters and mystery. Nikki Alexander and many others return in this sequel titled the “Lost Witness.”


While outside the shelter known as “Open Palms” one fall evening on another matter, one of her kids known as “Barky” brings Nikki a very young child. A seemingly scared Barky claims to know nothing about the boy and quickly vanishes back into the Houston night. The boy is dirty, incredibly thin and shivering from the cool fall air. With nobody available from the police or other workable options, Nikki takes him home for the night. Clearly the child has been traumatized and Nikki is still very concerned about the boy when she meets with the police and a caseworker for Child Protective Services the next day.


Before long, it becomes clear that the boy may have witnessed his own mother’s murder. With Barky missing and possibly having crucial knowledge in the case, the police in the form of her old partner Sergeant Luis Perez and his new partner Nelson Spalonetti need her help. They aren’t the only ones who are looking for Barky and the mute little boy. With so many looking for the kids, it becomes imperative that Nelson and Nikki solve the case first to protect both kids.


Featuring many of the same characters as the first book, author Laura Elvebak has crafted another well done cozy style mystery with some romance. While the focus is on solving the case, there is no denying the heat generated between Nelson and Nikki which leads to some descriptive erotic scenes that for some readers push the boundaries of the cozy genre. Those pleasant interludes between Nelson and Nikki are not forced and come about naturally as a result of character development and storylines.


Billed as a sequel, this book could easily be read as a very enjoyable stand alone. Matters in the first book are briefly referenced in such a way as to not prevent readers from reading that book later. Both “Less Dead” and “Lost Witness” are available from Texas based publisher L&L Dreamspell who has developed a strong reputation of providing quality books.


Less Dead





Lost Witness

Laura Elvebak


L&L Dreamspell                                                                         



ISBN 978-1-60318-144-0


286 Pages




Material supplied by the author at my request in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2010

Carpathian Shadows 2 is an anthology in print and e-book form that includes my story “By The Light Of The Moon”

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