The Sleeping Girls by Rita Herron
1/22/24; 402 pages
Detective Ellie Reeves #9
The Sleeping Girls by Rita Herron is a highly recommended police procedural and the ninth book in the Ellie Reeves series. Ellie is again working with FBI Agent Derrick Fox and SAR Cord McCain.
Detective Ellie Reeves from the small town of Crooked Creek in the Appalachian Mountains investigates the case of missing fifteen-year-old Kelsey Tiller in nearby Red Clay Mountain. It seems she disappeared from her bedroom, but evidence shows she went outside via her window. Neighbors say they saw her with a secret boyfriend even though she is not allowed to date. Even though Kelsey is well-liked, evidence is found of teenage cyber-bullying toward her and her two friends. Before Ellie finds Kelsey, a heartbreaking picture is sent to her mother and another girl is missing.
During this same time "Digger" Darnell Woodruff is released from
prison due to the work of the Innocence Project and true crime podcaster
Caitlin O'Connor. He was convicted of killing his sister ten years
earlier while sleepwalking. There may be similarities between Kelsey's
case and what happened years ago, but Darnell has an alibi. Could he
still be the perpetrator or is something else going on in Red Clay
The writing is very good and the drama will hold your attention
throughout. Readers will know from the first chapter that someone who does not have good intentions
is watching Kelsey and her two friends. The narrative switches between
the perspective of different characters, including the unnamed killer,
creating tension and suspense while propelling the action forward. Short
chapters with the different points-of-view help keep the pace fast and
interest high. The ending is very satisfying.
The ongoing attraction and the tension it creates between Ellie and Cord is a plot thread for those following the whole series. This is only my second book from the series so, to be honest, I didn't really care. I was reading for the procedural and mystery rather than any romance. Readers can jump into the series and, as I did, read The Sleeping Girls as a standalone novel for the procedural, however, if you want a more complete picture of the characters personalities and the ongoing interaction between them you might want to start at the beginning.