Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
eBook review copy; 320 pages
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is a very highly recommended mystery/thriller.
Jamie Brandt, a single mother, is running late while on her way to a
birthday party where the whole family is invited. When she stops at
Kmart to buy a gift, she leaves 10-year-old
Kylie and 8-year-old Bailey in the car while she runs into the store.
When she returns, the sisters are gone. After 48 hours with no lead,
Jamie's Aunt Maggie
Shambley, hires California bounty hunter Alice Vega to locate the girls.
Vega is a no nonsense enigmatic investigator who has a well-publicized
national reputation for finding abducted children.
The Denville, Pennsylvania police chief, in a pique of misplaced pride,
immediately refuses to work with Vega to find the girls, despite the
fact that after budget cuts, the department can barely keep up with the
local oxycodone and meth epidemic. With help from "the Bastard," a
computer hacker who assists her, Vega has access to resources and
information the police don't. She also hires a local disgraced former
cop, Max Caplan. Cap is currently working as a PI. Vega knows that he
has inside contacts and a favor he could call in with the local police.
Vega and Cap work together to uncover a complicated web of lies, false
leads, and inconsistent statements to try and find the girls before it
is too late.
I liked Vega and Cap, who are both flawed but well-developed characters.
They work very well together. Cap's problems (and strengths) are
presented upfront, but Vega's are hidden and very slowly revealed in
small increments. Both of them are fully aware of the ticking clock and
how every hour, every minute, the girls are not found is one minute
closer to what may be their death. They are both keen observers of
people and can pick out clues that the police are overlooking.
Luna uses a third-person narrative that allows us access to the
main protagonists' thoughts and feelings. Their thoughts and
motivations are so different and contrast starkly with each other. She
also does a great job describing all of the supporting characters; they
are all written as real people.
This is an excellent nail-biting complex thriller that moves at a
steady pace, building up the tension incrementally with each new suspect
and lead. The writing is exceptional; the plot is complex and carefully
reveals each new piece of evidence. I was totally immersed in the
drama. The final conclusion was a shocker and took me by surprise.
Well, Done, Louisa Luna! I am hoping that this signals the start of a series featuring Vega and Cap.
My review copy was courtesy of Doubleday via Netgalley.
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