eBook review copy; 448 pages
The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad is a highly recommended police procedural/thriller. Detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test work together again to track a depraved killer through rural Vermont and into Canada. This is a sequel to The Silent Girls, but can be read as a stand alone novel.
Rachel Rath is now a college student and she us being watched. Frank Rath and Rachel are sure the man who is watching her is the same man who killed her parents when she was a baby. Ned Preacher is out on parole now and he has called Frank, threatening Rachel. Frank has tried to protect his niece/adopted daughter from the horrifying details of her parents death, but now Rachel wants to know - and she may need to since Preacher is planning to harm her.
When Dana Clark, a woman who was the only survivor of an attack by the Connecticut River Valley Killer, goes missing, and another girl is found murdered, Frank Rath leaves retirement and works again with Sonja Test to investigate the murders and try to figure out if it is the Preacher or someone else. They are looking at old cases along with the new ones to try and piece together the information they need to find the killer. This includes withing with Canadian police detective Inspector Gerard Champine. Apparently there have been similar murder cases in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
The writing is excellent and there are several twists to the plot. Rickstad does an excellent job developing his characters while ratcheting up the suspense as the murder investigation is underway. The ever present, oppressive fog is both a character and a setting in The Names of Dead Girls. The heavy fog infiltrates the whole book and creates a foreboding atmosphere that, in turn, increases the tension you feel when reading. The Preacher and the heavy fog are both very creepy.
This is a nail biter, full of suspense, and should hold your attention from start to finish. It did feel like the actual procedural part, the detective work, was slightly lacking and it would have been nice to see more of the steps and the discovery as it all pertained to the investigation. While the main investigation is solved, there are still a few unanswered questions that may point to another book in the series.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.