Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Little Girl Gone

Summary: On a frozen night in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.

As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues. But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing . . . -- Berkley

I am a big fan of the cozy writer Laura Childs and have reviewed many of her books here on Booking Mama. Many of you might not know this, but Laura Childs is actually a pen name for Gerry Schmitt. Ms. Schmitt has taken a departure from her cozy series to write a mystery/suspense novel titled LITTLE GIRL GONE. This book is the first in a new series starring Afton Tangler.

LITTLE GIRL GONE begins one cold night when a teenage girl is babysitting a little baby. Things take a dangerous turn when the babysitter is assaulted and the baby is kidnapped, and the Minneapolis police department is left with little, if any, clues about the violent crime.

Afton Tangler is a family liaison officer with the police department, and she has been assigned to work with the grieving parents. Afton, a single mother of two, is desperate to prove herself to her superiors in the hopes that she can one day move up to an officer position in the department. However, this case is proving to be rather challenging with little clues that make any sense.

As Afton becomes more involved with this disturbing case, she realizes that this incident might only be one kidnapping in a much larger crime spree. Time is of the essence before something happens to this baby as well as additional ones!

I enjoyed LITTLE GIRL GONE quite a bit. I definitely thought the mystery was disturbing, and I liked that it was more complex than I first guessed. I also enjoyed the character of Afton and how the author balanced her personal and professional lives. She is definitely a very likable character and one that I wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future.

I guess because I'm used to reading Ms. Schmitt's cozy novels, I wasn't exactly expecting this book to be so dark and even gruesome. I don't mean that the entire book is scary, but there is a violent crime to begin the novel and the characters responsible are more than a little disturbing. Ms. Schmitt has also included a side story of doll making and taxidermy which I admit I found a little creepy... but also a little interesting.

I do think my favorite thing about LITTLE GIRL GONE was the character of Afton. I guess that's a good thing because this novel is the first in a series starring her! I definitely liked Afton and how persistent she was at solving the crime; however, I also enjoyed the scenes with her family, her co-workers, and even her potential love interest. I will admit that I was impressed with her crime-solving capabilities, especially as she figured out connections that weren't necessarily apparent to others.

The next book in the Afton Tangler thriller will be out in August and I'll be sure you let you know what I think closer to the book's publication date. In the meantime, make sure you check out LITTLE GIRL GONE. It's a suspenseful mystery with more than a few twists and turn, and I definitely recommend it to fans of mysteries!

Thanks to the author 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.


The Book Sage said...

Always looking for a good mystery.

holdenj said...

I still need to read this too. It's intriguing because I live near Minneapolis and like you, am a fan of her work as Laura Childs.

bermudaonion said...

Holy cow! That sounds disturbing and addictive!