Title: The Girls She Left Behind Author: Sarah Graves Expected Publication: January 12, 2015 Format: Hardcover, 272 pages Genre: Suspense Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book. Series: Lizzie Snow #2
I know that when it comes to prologues, some readers choose to skip that part, but when it comes to “The Girls She Left Behind”, you have to start there. This sets up the whole book and without it, the reader will be a bit in the dark as to what choices were made deeper in the book.
Cam was the bad cousin that smoked cigarettes and liked boys; Janie was the good cousin that likes to attend the knitting club in the church basement. On that fateful night, Cam convinced Janie to head out to the park for music and boys. Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who kidnapped girls and kept them imprisoned in the basement, inspired what happens next -- Sarah Graves put her spin on the story by allowing one an early escape and therefore creating a new dynamic to the story.
Janie never told anyone what happened that night, she assumed that the lump she saw on the mattress was her dead cousin and all she could think was to get out, take no one with her, just save herself. Years later, when the group of women are released from the home where they were kept, she goes into panic mode. How is she going to keep her secret hidden?
Lizzie Snow, the new sheriff deputy in Bearkill, Maine already has her hands full with a forest fire that is bearing down on her town of 1,100 people and a missing teen that has a history of running away. Tara Wylie the blonde haired blue-eyed cheerleader tends to disappear for a day or two at a time so no one is concerned - that is until her mother starts to panic and does not tell all that she knows.
Henry Gemerle, the man that has kept three girls prisoner in his basement for fifteen years has managed to escape from the forensic hospital that he was being held in and is on his way to Bearkill. He is out for revenge, the person who betrayed him is there, and he will get his vengeance.
Dylan Hudson and Trey Washburn are both making hard plays for Lizzie who is not sure that she wants to stay in Bearkill since all the leads for her missing niece Nicki are leading her nowhere. If the reader remembers, Winter at The Door (book one in this series) that is what brought Lizzie to Maine in the first place. When her sister was found murdered, her niece went missing so now every time a child or body is located that matches a very vague description, Lizzie races to find answers.
As Lizzie tries to locate Tara, the story of Cam and Janie takes over. As the town is slowly being consumed by an inferno, Lizzie finds herself rushing into this firestorm one more time. Stories are not adding up and if one more person lies to Lizzie, she is going to take everyone down. She knows that the answers are on this fiery mountain and she has to get there before all is lost.
You bounce back and forth between present and past in addition to having multiple speakers in each chapter. Several times, I found myself stopping and rereading so I could figure out who was talking. You definitely need to read this book in large chunks otherwise you will get lost.
This is a captivating series and I do hope that Sarah Graves brings us more Lizzie Snow.