A Book Spy Review: ‘The Forgotten Girls’ By Owen Laukkanen

412CTOiRKtL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSomeone is preying on young girls that nobody notices, and who no one is looking for should they go missing… Until two detectives take notice, and set out to end a killers reign on helpless victims.

Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere are both part of the Minnesota-based FBI and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension violent crimes task force. Follwoing the events of last year’s The Watcher In The Wall, Stevens and Windermere happen across a murder they begin investigating by chance, only to realize things are far worse than they initially thought. 

It all starts when a twenty-something-year-old woman named Ash is found dead near the railroad tracks outside of Boundry County in Idaho. Police do little to investigate her murder, and the world never seemed to mourn the death of the young runaway. But then, somewhat by chance, Ash’s case lands on Stevens and Windermere’s radar, and the duo finally gives her investigation the respect it deserves. 

Through another girl named Mila, Stevens and Windermere quickly realize that a predator has set up shop, and is targeting women riding the High Line train. Somehow, the killer is able to blend in without drawing any attention, and they’re willing to brave frigid conditions to stalk their prey. Until now, they’ve flown under the authority’s radar, racking up a staggering body count. 

Laukkanen makes the reader privy to information about the killer before his main characters know the man’s identity. It turns out that the killer washed out of the army, and has taken to murdering due to do his own deep psycological issues. He kills because he can and because he enjoys it, and until now no one has stood in his way. 

While Stevens and Windermere search for the ghostly murderer before he can strike again, Mila pursues the deranged killer on her own. She was friends with Ash, and she vows to avenge her frineds’ death. The young woman is both brave and strong and while the world sees her a misfit, readers will root for her because of her loyalty and spunk. Her story is compelling, and Laukkanen does a really good job develping her and making her relatable to readers. 

As Stevens and Windermere’s investigation spans across multiple state lines, they’re able to trace more than twenty murders back to the High Line killer, and the duo makes finding him their only mission. But doing so will test all their resolve unlike any case they’ve ever worked before. 

The story, which is told through multiple viewpoints, is more linear than previous books in the series. While Owen Laukkanen has written some twisting plots, The Forgotten Girls is a seemingly straightforward thriller that’s driven by readers’ desire to see the savage villain caught and apprehended so he can pay for his crimes. That formula works just fine, but the story does seem to reach a boiling point three-quarters of the way in only to drag on a bit longer when things could have been tied up sooner. 

Last year’s The Watcher In The Wall was, in all honesty, a hard book to review due to its powerful message. This year, Laukkanen wrote more of a pure mystery thriller, and The Forgotten Girls it’s just the kind of dark, suspense-filled story that fans of this series have come to expect. 

Book Details

Author: Owen Laukkanen
Series: Stevens and Windermere #6
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399174559
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: March 14, 2017 (Order Now!

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