Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Twisted Tale from The Great North Woods

Sarah Graves
January 5, 2016
Bantam Books

The Girls She Left Behind begins 15 years ago on the mean streets of New Haven, CT. Two young cousins, Jane and Cam, make a mistake that has far reaching consequences. Jane is a bit of a goody-two-shoes who is often led astray by her "wild child" cousin, Cam. The two sneak away from their youth group meeting to go to an outdoor party in the park. When they leave the party they are abducted by a sexual predator and imprisoned in a basement with two other girls. Jane manages to escape and tells no one, believing that Cam is dead. But is she? And what about the other girls?

In the present day, Lizzie Snow is settling into her new job as a deputy in Bearkill, ME, on the edge of The Great North Woods. We left Lizzie (Winter at the Door) in a blizzard, in the midst of one of the worst winters on record. Now the area is suffering from extreme drought and fighting widespread wildfires. Bearkill itself is threatened and local manpower is stretched to the limit. When a local girl goes missing, Lizzie is just about the only one available to search. The girl has gone missing before and showed up unharmed, and her mother is oddly unforthcoming. Lizzie has a bad feeling about this disappearance, though. Maybe it is her ongoing search for her lost niece that has her spooked, but Lizzie doesn't think so. Strange people and connections to the earlier New Haven case keep popping up as well.

The Girls She Left Behind is a very dark look into the effects of sexual crimes on the victims. Secrets and revenge play a part in those effects and lead to a pulse-pounding conclusion. The Lizzie Snow Series is one that I greatly enjoy, but it is by no means cozy or light reading. I highly recommend The Girls She Left Behind for thriller and suspense fans. Thanks to NetGalley and Bantam for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.


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