Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: The Forgotten Girls (Audio)

Summary: Four days later, Louise Rick still had no answers.

The body of an unidentified woman was discovered in a local forest. A large, unique scar on one side of her face should have made the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. As the new commander of the Missing Persons Department, Louise risks involving the media by releasing a photo of the victim, hoping to find someone who knew her.

Louise's gamble pays off: an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a "forgotten girl." But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates more than thirty years ago. Aided by her friend journalist Camilla Lind, Louise finds that the investigation takes a surprising and unsettling turn when it brings her closer to her childhood home. And as she uncovers more crimes that were committed--and hidden--in the forest, she is forced to confront a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed. -Hachette Audio

A few years ago, I read  ONLY ONE LIFE by Sara Blaedel in preparation for meeting her during the week of BEA. I really enjoyed the story and was very impressed with how she wrote not only an interesting mystery but also managed to touch upon some relevant issues in Denmark. I also enjoyed discussing the novel with her albeit very briefly at a party!

So when THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS was released in the United States, I was certain that I wanted to read it... or listen to it! THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS stars detective Louise Rick and reveals a horrific murder mystery. It's both intriguing and disturbing, and I was even more disconcerted to learn that the story is actually based on some true incidents. That totally creeped me out!

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS begins when an unidentified woman is found dead in the woods. The police are stumped when no one is reported missing; however, she does have an identifying mark on her face -- a large scar. Louise, the new commander of the Missing Persons Department, definitely has her hands full so she releases a photo of the victim to the media in the hopes that someone will come forward.

An older woman calls the police and says the victim is Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution. Lisemette, along with her twin, were issued death certificates more than 30 years ago! How strange is that? As Louise returns to her childhood hometown to investigate the murder, she makes some startling discoveries while also dredging up some things from her past.

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS was a terrific mystery and I have to admit that I was absolutely shocked by how the events played out. I loved the complexity and "twistedness" of this story, and I am still reeling from Louise discovered. As far as creepy mysteries go, this was most definitely a good one!

However if I'm being entirely honest, I felt as if the side story of Louise's personal life wasn't as strong. I didn't love the romantic aspect of the story -- it was just a little too predictable. In addition, I found the role of her friend Camilla, a journalist who was helping her with the mystery, to be odd. One on hand, she delved into the case and uncovered some interesting clues. But on the other, the circus surrounding her marriage was just weird.

Maybe it was the juxtaposition of Louise's current life with the serious nature of the crime, but something just seemed off. I am the first to admit that the crimes in this novel were brutal and the book might have needed some lighter moments. I'm just not sure Camilla's marriage and Louise's hookup were the right ones.

The audiobook of THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS was read by Christine Lakin. She also read GLORY O'BRIENS HISTORY OF THE FUTURE which I listened to (and enjoyed) a few months ago. As much as I loved her performance in GLORY O'BRIEN, I was a little disappointed with it in this book. I think she had the right tone for the story, but I found myself distracted by some of the accents she used. Granted, the book seemed to require some complex accents because it took place in Denmark; however, I wasn't convinced that her accents sounded authentic.

Overall, I appreciated THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS and am glad that I listened to it, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I loved this story. The mystery was intriguing though, and for that reason, I do recommend it to fans of mysteries and thrillers.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

Oooh, I love a mystery that shocks me!

Beth Hoffman said...

Lately I've been drawn to mysteries and this one sounds good. Thanks for the recommendation, Julie!