hardcover, 448 pages
The past has arrived uninvited at Jason Danvers’s door .... and it’s his younger sister, Hayden, a former addict who severed all contact with her family as her life spiraled out of control. Now she’s clean and sober but in need of a desperate favor—she asks Jason and his wife to take care of her teenage daughter for forty-eight hours while she handles some business in town.But Hayden never returns.
And her disappearance brings up more unresolved problems from Jason’s past, including the abrupt departure of his best friend on their high school graduation night twenty-seven years earlier. When a body is discovered in the woods, the mysteries of his sister’s life—and possible death—deepen. And one by one these events will shatter every expectation Jason has ever had about families, about the awful truths that bind them and the secrets that should be taken to the grave.
The Forgotten Girl by David Bell is a highly recommended novel that explores past secrets and the bonds between family and friends.
In The Forgotten Girl, Jason Danvers and his wife, Nora, have relocated to his home town of Ednaville, Ohio, after he lost his job in NYC. Jason left Ednaville after he graduated from high school 27 years earlier when he and his best friend Logan, had a fist fight over a mutual friend, Regan. Logan disappeared that night, everyone presumed he left town since he had been threatening to do that for years. Jason was grilled by the police as a suspect in his disappearance, but nothing came of that.
Much to Jason and Nora's surprise Hayden, Jason's sister, appears unexpectedly at their front door, profusely apologizing for her past behavior. They haven't seen Hayden for five years, but with her history of alcoholism and creating drama and problems over the years, Jason has every right to be leery of her contacting him. Hayden claims she's clean and sober now, and asks them to watch her daughter, 17 yr. old Sierra, for just a couple days while Hayden takes care of some unfinished business.
Soon it becomes clear that the unfinished business Hayden is dealing with may be much more dangerous than she let on, and her daughter Sierra is very concerned after Hayden sent her what appears to be a good-bye text. Adding to the mystery is the sighting of Hayden with a local ne'er-do-well-very-bad-boy. Circumstances eventually lead to the police being called in and it becomes clear that whatever Hayden is trying to do may be connected to events that happened years earlier.\
The Forgotten Girl is more of a slowly revealed explanation of what happened years ago. Although it isn't necessarily a thriller, it does uncover a mystery while examining old friendships and family ties as well as parenting, alcoholism, and living in a small town. The big reveal is fairly predictable, but Bell is a skilled writer and will keep you glued to the pages to the final conclusion. A great airplane book choice.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the Penguin Group for review purposes.