Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Little Girl Gone ~ Gerry Schmitt (earc) review [@BerkleyPub]

Little Girl Gone (An Afton Tangler Thriller #1)
July 05, 2016
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime...

On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, 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

There's something I really lkke about Afton Tangler (besides her name). She is not like the detectives I've read in other books or series - and not only because, as a family liason officer, she is not actually a detective.  She still thinks very much like a detective and she is soon piecing together clues and investigating in a way that will keep readers captivated.

I liked that she was someone who wanted to be a detective, to be doing that work and solving crimes, but technically, she shouldn't be. Possibly because she's not a detective, because she hasn't spent years seeing horrible things and what people are capable of, her character isn't as hard as many female detective, investigator characters. Schmitt's writing, what we see of each crime and how, isn't as . . . gritty as some other books, either. It works well because we still learn the facts, still know what they're up against, and it's still plenty creepy and unsettling without as much gore or violence or just ick.

It was also nice that Afton in a mom, a recently divorced one, at that. Her daughters weren't a large focus of the story but that she was a mother, how it impacted her work on the case and saw things was a nice addition to the story and her character. I am looking forward to seeing how that plays into future books in the series.

The mystery in this one was fantastic. You quickly know what happened, who it happened to and who did it. The why is not so quick to come, though. Even as you try to discern the why, you become more and more anxious for a safe resolution. Seeing both sides of things - the investigation and watching as they uncover things, piece things together, don't notice some things you wish they would, etc and the perpetrators and their lives - really adds to the suspense and mystery. The more we learn about the abductors, the more you want to nudge Afton and Max in the right direction. The suspense and tension really builds the closer this one gets to the end. I loved it.

Afton Tangler made me think a bit of  Lisa Garnder's Tessa Leoni but not quite as hard and maybe a bit of Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder. - and JJ from Criminal Minds, especially considering the job/role she started with. With her unconventional role in the Minneapolis PD (at least for a thriller series lead), I am really looking forward to more of this series and her character.

received, form publisher, via NetGalley for review

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