The Girls She Left Behind
By: Sarah Graves
Series: Lizzie Snow #2
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1/12/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Sure to thrill readers of Jenny Milchman, Linda Castillo, and Lisa Gardner, The Girls She Left Behind marks the return of ex–Boston homicide detective Lizzie Snow, the new sheriff's deputy in Maine's Great North Woods. For Lizzie Snow, the ice and snow of her first punishing North Woods winter are dreadful enough. But near the small town of Bearkill a stubborn forest fire now rages out of control, and as embers swirl dangerously in the smoke-filled air, a teenage girl with a history of running away has dropped out of sight again. The locals and the law both think Tara Wylie is up to her old tricks—until her mother receives a terrifying text message. Equally disturbing: Henry Gemerle—a kidnapper and rapist who once held three girls prisoner for fifteen years—has escaped, and may be lurking in Bearkill. As the fire closes in, Lizzie teams up with her boss Sheriff Cody Chevrier and state cop Dylan Hudson to search for the missing girl and the wily fugitive. But they're blocked by Tara's mother, a frustrating teller of needless lies and keeper of dark, incomprehensible secrets. Following a trail of grisly clues—a bloodstained motel room, a makeshift coffin in a shallow grave—Lizzie is drawn ever closer to the flames in her race to save an innocent and corner a monster. Someone else also wants to find Tara Wylie and Henry Gemerle, though, for reasons that have nothing to do with mercy or justice. And when they all meet, the inferno threatening Bearkill will pale in comparison to the hell that's about to break loose.
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sarah Graves returns with more mystery and suspense, following Winter At the Door (recommend reading prior to #2) to learn the background of Lizzie Snow. A homicide detective, who has left Boston for Bearkill, Maine-- with her second installment, THE GIRLS SHE LEFT BEHIND, she continues to look for her niece who went missing after her sister was found murdered. New Haven, CT: As the book opens we meet two cousins, fifteen-years-old—often mistaken for sisters. Their mothers were sisters. One was the good girl (Janie), attending knitting classes, always agonizing over her sins, the other (Cam) wild one, very good at convincing her to do bad things. Leaving the youth group, they are abducted by a sexual predator and imprisoned in a basement with two other girls. Jane manages to escape and tells no one—while believing Cam is dead. But is she? And what about the other girls? Fifteen years later, nightmares. Terrified, traumatized, drugged. Three saved from basement prison. Someone left their cousin in the hands of a monster. Secrets. Now, what will she tell? Lizzie Snow has a lot on her plate. She is dealing with a forest fire out of control and now a local teen has gone missing (plus her men). A fourteen-year-old along with her older boyfriend. Lizzie is working with Dylan, a murder cop—she knows all too well about missing girls: the found ones, and the ones; never found. However, in this town, if she were a teen--she probably would have run herself. Tara had taken off several other times and always returns; however, this time, they are not so sure. To make matters worse, Henry, a kidnapper and rapist escaped from a locked hospital ward in Connecticut, who had held three girls’ prisoner for fifteen years --has escaped and may be in Bearkill. Tara thought of calling home, but she would explain when she returned home. Someone traps, cages, preyed upon women, and brutalizes them. Then there is Tara’s mother, a desperate text—the mother is hiding something—more lies. Lizzie is getting annoyed. What is Peg (Tara’s mom) the volunteer firefighter lying about? "Secrets like Peg's were like acid. They ate through you. If you kept them, they ate right through your soul." Someone else is looking for Tara and Henry. A victim of the monster, Jane (survivor) is also hiding a secret. Who is the real monster? From past to present. A box, a grave, a motel, a fire. The case fifteen years ago, combines with the present. Sexual crimes. How are the two events connected? Dark, complex, clever and twisted. Revenge! As always, Sarah Graves keeps you in suspense with multi-level mystery, crossing into psycho-thriller, with many twists and turns. We continue to learn more about Lizzie’s haunting past, and her present situation. From her ongoing search for her niece, her old partner, and of course always plenty of new crimes and drama in Bearkill. Graves definitely knows her way around the Great North Woods. Hoping Lizzie finds her niece in the next installment and decides on her man.
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About the Author
Sarah Graves is the pen name of American mystery and crime novelist Mary Squibb. Based in New York, her Home Repair is Homicide series follows transplanted New Yorker Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree and her friend Ellie White as they solve murders in Eastport, Maine, all while she repairs her centuries-old house.
This series and the author's real-life experience have been featured in The New York Times Home & Garden, USA Today, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In 2012, Random House reported that she has "more than 1 million copies in print" and her "first ten titles in mass market combined move nearly 3,000 copies per month".