I really enjoyed Less Dead and plan to download the next book in the series Though I tend to read mostly fantasy, I’m also a fan of noirs that have flawed, interesting female main characters Some of my favorite mystery authors are JA Konrath, Alan Bradley, Edward Fallon, and Ann Voss Peterson Laura Elvebak is a worthy addition to this list.The book begins as many in this genre do, with the victim, Peter Belton Jade, a runaway wakes up beside this corpse and can’t remember how she got there Worst, she fears she may have killed him I found the beginning very wellwritten, but truly was caught hook, line and sinker when the main character, Niki Alexander is introduced Niki is a flawed hero, excop who now works as a counselor in a teen shelter, a career she pursued out of a sense of guilt and a driving need to help Niki has the perfect character cocktail of vulnerability, toughness, focus, and a deep caring for others The minor characters are diverse and welldefined, and add much to the story I was especially curious about Rube and Jade I hope they both return in the sequel The characters are complex and believable.The dead bodies pile up, all of them runaways except for Peter, a councilman Niki works with her expartner to hunt down the killer and find Jade, who she suspects may have fallen victim to the culprit I suspected the killer fairly early, but there were enough red herrings to keep me guessing until the end.I have lived in Houston and am familiar with the Montrose area Elvebak’s description truly captured the place I strongly recommend this book. How is a Goth teen involved in the murder of a city councilman? Former police officer Niki Alexander risks her life to find out When a homeless teenage girl wakes up in Houston's Tranquility Park next to a murdered city councilman and then disappears, Homicide Investigator Luis Perez turns to his expartner Niki Alexander Now a counselor with a teen shelter, she may be his only hope in locating the girl Three years earlier Niki quit the Houston Police Department after a fatal shooting involving a teenage boy Haunted by the memory and the guilt, she is driven to help troubled teens who have run away or been abandoned Soon she suspects that the missing teen is a street girl she knows as Jade Niki fears there is of a connection between Jade and murdered man than was initially apparent Niki's search takes her among homeless teens, and into predominantly male gay bars, where dangerous secrets are revealed She soon realizes she isn't the only one desperate to find the girl The closer she gets to the truth, the her own life is at risk I really liked this story Laura Elvebak created a great character in Niki Alexander, a compassionate former police officer who has dedicated her life to working with troubled teens A real pageturner as Niki fights against time and frustrations to save one of the teens from a terrible fate Great Book Laura! Wonderful debut novel from Ms Elvebak The characters come to life in this great new mystery series Hope Ms Elvebak is hard at work on the next one because I'm ready to read it.