Sure to thrill readers of Jenny Milchman, Linda Castillo, and Lisa Gardner, The Girls She Left Behind marks the return of ex–Boston homicide detective Lizzie Snow, the new sheriff’s deputy in Maine’s Great North Woods.
For Lizzie Snow, the ice and snow of her first punishing North Woods winter are dreadful enough. But near the small town of Bearkill a stubborn forest fire now rages out of control, and as embers swirl dangerously in the smoke-filled air, a teenage girl with a history of running away has dropped out of sight again. The locals and the law both think Tara Wylie is up to her old tricks—until her mother receives a terrifying text message.
Equally disturbing: Henry Gemerle—a kidnapper and rapist who once held three girls prisoner for fifteen years—has escaped, and may be lurking in Bearkill. As the fire closes in, Lizzie teams up with her boss, Sheriff Cody Chevrier, and state cop Dylan Hudson to search for the missing girl and the wily fugitive. But they’re blocked by Tara’s mother, a frustrating teller of needless lies and keeper of dark, incomprehensible secrets.
Following a trail of grisly clues—a bloodstained motel room, a makeshift coffin in a shallow grave—Lizzie is drawn ever closer to the flames in her race to save an innocent and corner a monster. Someone else also wants to find Tara Wylie and Henry Gemerle, though, for reasons that have nothing to do with mercy or justice. And when they all meet, the inferno threatening Bearkill will pale in comparison to the hell that’s about to break loose.
Praise for The Girls She Left Behind
“[Sarah] Graves writes at full strength when she’s focused on this economically depressed region, once the hub of a thriving lumber industry but now mostly the domain of meth cooks, unhappy teenagers and scores of volunteer firefighters battling tenacious blazes in the surrounding forest. . . . [A] rugged landscape with its down-to-earth characters.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Graves is firing on all cylinders. Lizzie Snow is a dynamic protagonist, just the right blend of capable and flawed. The fictional town of Bearkill is definitely coming into its own—the richness of the backdrop seems destined only to increase. And Graves has spent years demonstrating an ability to construct textured, nuanced mysteries. Put it all together and The Girls She Left Behind is another worthwhile entry in this series.”—The Maine Edge
Graves's dark second Lizzie Snow mystery (after 2015's Winter at the Door) examines the ugly, soul-destroying things that mark the aftermath of a child abduction. At age 15, Jane Crimmins is kidnapped from a party in a New Haven, Conn., park, along with her 15-year-old cousin, Cam Petry. Jane escapes soon afterward, but she tells no one of her experience or that three other victims remain in captivity. Fifteen years later, the police arrest Jane's abductor and rescue three young women, including Cam, from his New Haven house. Now Jane lives in terror that someone will find out what she did and didn't do. Jane retreats to Bearkill, Maine, where Lizzie, a sheriff's deputy, hopes against hope to find her niece, missing since her sister's murder eight years before. A tough cookie, Lizzie can't resist getting involved in the case of another missing girl, whose mother is less than forthcoming. Meanwhile, a fire raging in the nearby woods serves as an objective correlative of the case, burning all who touch it.
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Second book in LIzzie Snow series!
The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves is the second book in A Lizzie Snow series. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Snow is a former Boston Homicide Detective who moved to Bearkill, Maine. Lizzie is now a deputy with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department (she is the liaison from the sheriff's department for the town). Lizzie gave up her dream job (as a detective) to look for her deceased sister’s (Cecily) daughter, Nicki who has been missing for eight years. There was a sighting of Nicki in the area (but it is a big wooded area in this part of Maine). The Girls She Left Behind starts fifteen years prior when a man kidnaps Jane Crimmins and her cousin, Cam. Jane manages to escape from the man, but she never tells anyone of what happened to her, her cousin, or the other girls in the basement.
Fifteen years later three girls are rescued from the basement of the man’s house. Cam is one of the girls rescued. Henry Gemerle is the kidnapper, but he is found incompetent to stand trial. He is sentenced to a mental hospital. In Bearkill, fourteen-year-old Tara Wylie has disappeared. At first her mother, Peg believes that Tara just took off for a day again. Tara usually shows back up. This time Tara does not return and actually misses school (something she has never done before). Then Lizzie finds out that Henry has escaped from the mental asylum and may be in the area. Did Henry take Tara? Lizzie will have to work quickly to find Tara but she has the added difficulty of forest fires breaking out in the area. The might have to evacuate the area at any moment. Lizzie works with Dylan Hudson of the Maine State Police (and Lizzie’s ex-lover) to find Tara. But Lizzie thinks Peg is hiding something from her. Is Peg Wylie’s secret more important than her daughter’s life?
The Girls She Left Behind is a good book, but not as wonderful as the first book in the series. I had a little trouble getting into The Girls She Left Behind. The mystery and suspense are excellent (and the book does pick up the pace and get much better as you get further into the book). I am, though, tired of the relationship between Lizzie and her two (maybe) beaus (Dylan Hudson and Trey Washburn). (Spoiler Alert) The relationships really do not advance or change in the book. There is also no further progress on Lizzie's search for her missing niece. (Spoiler complete) I found that part of the book to be frustrating (and really unnecessary). I give The Girls She Left Behind 4.25 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it).
I received a complimentary copy of The Girls She Left Behind from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.