top of page
Top of Blog
coffee book glasses SMALL .jpg
  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Three Drowned Girls

Series: Detective Freya Sinclair

Narrator: Amelia Sciandra

Hachette UK | Bookouture

ISBN: 9781835255643

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 04/22/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)


#LitLift Mini Elevator Author Chats


When Freya Sinclair was a little girl, she had no idea what her parents were hiding in the basement of her childhood home…

After five years away from her hometown of Fawn Lake, Detective Freya Sinclair isn’t expecting a warm welcome from the people she’s sworn to protect. She became a detective to bring serial killers like her parents to justice, but the tight-knit North Carolinian community can’t see past her twisted roots.

Minutes after stepping foot back home, the body of a dark-haired young girl is pulled from the river and Freya races to the scene. She’s determined to identify the child and finally prove herself, but before Freya even has a chance to search through missing persons, another girl is reported missing.

Freya’s heart breaks at the sight of little Isa’s blonde ringlets and pristine soccer uniform in the photo her father clutches, but the look on his face says he doesn’t trust Freya. Does he think she’s just like her parents, or does he have a sinister secret of his own?

But when another innocent girl is found drowned, Freya finds a white hair ribbon snagged on a branch, and instantly recognizes it as part of the soccer team uniform at the local school…

Two drowned girls. One daughter still missing. Can Freya save Isa before she becomes the third victim? Or has the killer already set their sights on Freya next?

The first in a new, totally gripping serial-killer thriller series by Amazon bestselling author Emily Shiner. Fans of Melinda Leigh, Mary Stone and Elle Gray won’t be able to put this down!

Audio, Paperback, e-book formats

Buy the Books:

About the Author

Emily Shiner always dreamed of becoming an author. After spending years devouring stacks of thrillers, she decided to try her hand at writing them herself. Now she gets to live out her dream of writing novels and sharing her stories with people around the world. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains and loves hiking with her husband, daughter, and their two dogs.

Exceptional Authors. Standout Books.

Elevator Talk.


with bestselling author, Emily Shiner

and her new Detective Freya Series

Behind The Book and The Author

Welcome to the April 2024 #LITLift Mini Author Chat, a mini #AuthorElevatorSeries. Joining us for the second time, a personal and fan favorite, bestselling author and guest, Emily Shiner — with the introduction of her new riveting cop procedural, Detective Freya Sinclair series: THREE DROWNED GIRLS #1 and ONE LIAR LEFT #2, both out April 24, 2024.

These two enthralling crime/ psychological suspense thrillers will keep you reading past your bedtime—featuring a tenacious Detective and team you will root for while anxiously awaiting the next in the series.


Join us as Emily shares some fun, behind-the-scenes from the book/series and up-close and personal moments from his talented author.

Welcome, Emily!


Q. Give us your best ELEVATOR PITCH for your new book (s) or series.

Freya Sinclair returns to her hometown of Fawn Lake, NC, as the new Captain of Detectives but doesn’t have time to settle in before little girls go missing and are found brutally murdered.

Q. DESCRIBE your novel/series in three words or less.

Tense. Atmospheric. Exciting.

Q. TOPICS: Name 1-3 topics or themes addressed in the novel/series.

  • I’m a big fan of found family and making your family out of your friends, and that’s exactly what Freya does! She was dealt a pretty terrible hand but makes the most of it and surrounds herself with people who support her and lift her up.

  • Every book in the Freya Sinclair series will have plenty of murder, of course. I love serial killer stories!

  • Freya is incredibly resilient, even after everything she’s been through. Her resilience, and that of the town itself, is a theme that will be present in the entire series.

Q. DID YOU KNOW? Name 3-5 things (or more) that readers may not know about THREE DROWNED GIRLS or the Detective Freya Sinclair series.

  • There’s a real Fawn Lake in North Carolina, but it’s not a town. It’s a lake, and my favorite one to swim in all summer long.

  • Cinnamon the tarantula is named after one of my daughter’s tarantulas. (Yes, one of them. She has three.)

  • The idea for Freya and this first book hit me at dinner one evening while my family was talking about an unsolved crime.

Q. When will we see more from Detective Freya Sinclair?

ONE LIAR LEFT Detective Freya Sinclair #2 is out on April 22, 2024. The one killer she never caught may be back—the Fawn Lake killer? Freya won’t let the past repeat itself. But he’s one step ahead. And he’s coming for her…

Q. UPCOMING: Can you share what you are currently working on or what is next in ten words or less (or more)?

I’m taking a (hopefully!) short break from Fawn Lake and working on a psychological thriller that will be released this fall. It’s currently untitled but is beyond twisty and dark.


Q. DID YOU KNOW? Name 3-5 things readers may not know about YOU, the author.

  • I hated puzzles growing up, but now I have one out every time I’m plotting a book. They’re the perfect activity to work on while thinking through a plot twist. (It’s that or go hiking, and this winter was a little chilly, even for me!)

  • I’m a one-book-at-a-time kind of a girl. Not writing them: no, I’m often working on two or three at once. But reading them? One and done, thanks so much.

  • I have a (well-stocked) tea drawer in the kitchen because there’s nothing better than a hot cup of tea while writing. Or editing. Or reading. Or, you know…living.

Thank you, Emily, for spending time with us today.


My Review

Emily Shiner takes a break from her standalone thrillers with the first in this new dazzling cop procedural series, Detective Freya Sinclair #1—THREE DROWNED GIRLS.

The local town's little girls are missing in this small lake town in North Carolina. With a troubled detective, this haunting, deeply unsettling, atmospheric, shocking, and riveting crime thriller will keep you on the edge until the last page is turned.

Innocent little girls go MISSING. Then DROWNED. What SECRETS lie buried in the dark rivers of Fawn Lake, North Carolina?

THREE DROWNED GIRLS is spine-chilling! Complex and multi-layered, with plenty of red herrings to keep you turning the pages. It's a haunting and beautifully written thriller chock-full of secrets and twisted evil.

Surprising and unexpected, it is a dark, unsettling story of a sociopath and a damaged detective out to stop the murderer in a race against time. She must save the young girls from those who should be protecting them.

A big fan of the author —this is one heck of a spine-tingler steeped in the secrets of dark river waters and a mysterious forest. A harrowing venture into a cult-like community hidden among everyday suburban families.

A troubled Detective, Freya Sinclair (emotionally and physically damaged), with her demons, is determined to do the right thing, to make the world a better place, and feels guilt from the past after making a mistake arresting the wrong people for a heinous crime on the road to redemption. Now she has her chance.

The author skillfully hooks you from the Prologue with a drowning and never lets go. A young girl is wearing her best white dress and somehow in the water, and someone is pushing her down. She longs for her mother and someone to help her. She is not strong enough to get to the surface.

Detective Freya Sinclair is back in her Fawn Lake, North Carolina hometown. She knew coming home was always going to be complicated. When Freya was young, she had no clue what her parents were hiding in their basement. They were evil. Due to her last name and the media, she has a bad name in town. She must prove herself.

She had run away from NC to Texas for five years and is now returning. Freya became a detective to bring serial killers like her parents to justice. However, some do not trust her since she is the daughter of two serial killers (she helped put away). In the process, she was shot in the hip and currently lives with the trauma and pain in her hip every day.

She returned for Esther, the kind-hearted woman who raised her when no one else was there for her. Esther owns the local Parker's bakery across the street from the police department, and she adores her.

Now, Freya is a Captain in charge of the detectives due to the department restructuring after she left town when she could not face the scrutiny every day. She must answer to her boss, Chief Callahan, and oversee and work with detective team members Candy and Brad (a rookie).

On her first day back, the call comes in about a body found in the river near the woods. A young girl around 5 to 6 years old. The caller was fishing with his young son and discovered the body. He had pulled her from the body to try and help her but was unable to save her. The body had been in the water for some time.

Was it MURDER? Or an accident? Why didn't anyone report her missing? Could it be a tourist visiting, or was it a local? The first place to check is the local elementary school.

Then there is vandalism at Esther's Bakery. Was someone trying to get to her through Esther? People had long memories, and it was crazy to think anyone had forgotten what her parents had done.

Deep into the investigation, another girl is reported missing. Her age is six, which is about the same age. Then they find another girl murdered? What is going on? Are the girl's cases connected? These beautiful, innocent little girls. Who would want to hurt them?

The only link is the girls were on the community soccer team, and not all attended public school. Some are homeschooled. There has to be something they are missing. Some of the mothers had taken their daughters out of school. Then the mothers go missing, and the daughters?

Could it be the coach of the soccer team? Why is someone murdering and taking little girls? Then, she discovers a connection between the principal and the janitor (pedophile), who is questionable, creepy, and has a hidden past with a creepy mother.

Two drowned girls. One daughter is still missing. Can Freya save the missing one before she becomes the third victim? What ties all these cases together? How many more little girls are out there dead they do not know about yet?

Sophia, Isa, and Liz

6-year-old innocent little girls.

A leader.

A river.

A forest.

A principal.

A janitor.

A cult.

A soccer coach.

A predator.

Elementary School




What is the connection between them?

There is a sociopath on the loose. A murderer. A serial killer. Then, we hear alternating chapters from a mysterious, evil, anonymous, spine-chilling voice. (trust me, it is not the kind of sociopath you can imagine).

Why hasn't someone come forth to claim the dead girls or report missing girls? A predator or something else? Trauma tourism? Or has the killer already set their sights on Freya next? Freya must put the pieces of the puzzle together by going undercover before the latest young girl winds up dead.

Do we truly know anyone? Often, the monsters are right in front of us, disguised as "normal" in suburban families.

A dark, fully immersive, addictive, twisty whodunit. With many red herrings, you will not see this clever plot twist coming. From manipulation and sinister acts to motherhood, daughters, and families—the author shines in this twisty crime thriller/cop procedural with tension, mystery, action, and suspense in a race against time.

THREE DROWNED GIRLS is psychologically rich, delving deep into the human psyche, with a flawed, troubled detective facing her demons. This emotionally charged story hurtles toward a shocking and unique reveal.

Thought-provoking, the author cleverly parallels the emotional cases of girls not being kept safe and questioning why the parents aren't protecting them, much like Detective Freya's past.

This is a super kick-off series. I look forward to learning more about this mysterious detective and Esther. I also enjoyed the team and how they work together as a family and a support group. (well, some of them).

This is for fans of Christina McDonald's (Det. Jess Lambert) and Robin Mahle's (Det. Rebecca Ellis) and lovers of cop procedural series and crime thrillers.

AUDIOBOOK: I enjoyed the e-book and the audiobook narrated by Amelia Sciandra for an engaging and intense performance.

SERIES: You will want to continue this intriguing saga with #2 in the Detective Freya Sinclair series, One Liar Left: A gripping serial killer thriller packed with suspense (April 22, 2024, pub date). Fingers crossed for a .5 sequel novella about Frey's childhood and past.

Thanks to Bookouture, Hachette UK, and NetGalley for an advanced reading and listening copy.

Blog review posted @

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: April 22, 2024


By: Emily Shiner

Narrator: Amelia Sciandra

Bookouture | Hachette UK|

Detective Freya Sinclair #2

The one killer Detective Freya Sinclair never caught is back…

ONE LIAR LEFT is spellbinding and action-packed! Freya's past and present collide when she fears the killer she never caught may be back, the notorious Fawn Lake Killer—the one case Freya has never solved has haunted her for years. Freya won’t let the past repeat itself and must face her demons if she even stands a chance of stopping this predator. But he’s one step ahead. And he’s coming for her…

Check out my fun

Q&A with Emily

where we go

behind the book

and the author








bottom of page