Monday, July 6, 2015

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

First Sentence:  Gone is coming, Gone is coming!
Detective Louise Rick has accepted the position of heading a Special Search Agency, responsible for unsolved missing-person cases.  Believing she could appoint her own team, she is dismayed to find a partner, Eik Nordsrom, has been assigned to work with her.  Their first case involves the body of a woman, with a large burn scar on one side of her face, is found in a local forest. With no way to identify her, the police release her photo to the media asking for the public’s help, only to learn that she was on of a set of twin sisters who were supposed to have died 30 years previously in a sanitarium.  Working the case becomes much more involved, and much more personal, than Rick every anticipated.
The story begins with a very intriguing and compelling prologue that is a true prologue.  This is not something which is lifted from a later section of the story, but is an introductory chapter that immediately elicits a sense of dread.
Louise Rick is an interesting character and cleverly created. One initially isn’t certain they like her as she is very defensive and prickly in her demeanour.  At the same time, there are hints at reasons for her attitudes and a feeling that the author will make these reasons known.  Most can, however, also empathize with her frustration of being made to working with someone who has created a negative first impression.  Even here, however, one wants to see how things will develop and it is interesting to see how Louise and her partner do learn to work together and build a trust. 
Blaedel includes powerful, and rather depressing information as to the number of people who go missing in Denmark every year—1,600 to 1,700—and brings home the reality of institutions everywhere where people are sent and simply abandoned by their families. Suicide is a very common theme, along with the disappearances. 
One small thing, as an American reader, is that it would have been to have helpful to have known/learned more about Denmark and how property laws function there.  Readers might find some of the information related to that a bit confusing, but not enough to severely detract from the story.
The Forgotten Girls” has a plot which is fascinating with amazing, well-done twists all along the way.  What starts as three separate cases are linked by DNA into one case, and ends with startling revelations right up to the very end.  

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS (Pol Proc-Det. Louise Rick/Camilla Lind-Denmark-Contemp) – VG+
Blaedel, Sara – 4th in series
Grand Central Publishing – February 2015

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