Tears stream down her face as she feels the cold blade press against her neck. The sweet scent of her daughter’s favorite strawberry pancakes all around, her last thought is for her beautiful girl. Please, please let Lisa have escaped.
When Detective Casey White is called early one morning to a beachside vacation campsite in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she finds the bodies of Carl and Peggy Pearson side-by-side, their throats cut, and their thirteen-year-old daughter Lisa nowhere to be found. Haunted by memories of her own missing girl, Casey fears this could soon become a triple murder: because without the medication found in the bathroom cabinet, Lisa has just days to live.
As her team struggle to untangle the meaning of the cryptic symbol carved into the victims’ skin, Casey searches the area for signs of Lisa and is rewarded when she finds her blistered and barefoot, staggering along the highway. The girl barely has breath left to whisper ‘he invited me’ before blacking out.
Days later, another couple is found murdered on a vacation yacht. A different symbol is etched on their bodies, and their teenage daughter is also missing. Casey’s only clue is an unsettling ‘invitation’ found on the girl’s phone, to a secluded building out in the cornfields.
Desperate to uncover who is luring these innocent families to their deaths, and certain forensics have missed something vital, Casey matches up the crime scene photos herself. The symbols combine to form an upcoming date. The killer is taunting them with the timing of the next murder.
Racing to follow the invitation in time, when Casey arrives she is shocked to glimpse not the missing girls from this case, but her own missing daughter…
An absolutely addictive mystery thriller that will have you holding your breath until the shocking final twist. Perfect for fans of Kendra Elliot, Robert Dugoni and Melinda Leigh.
Read what everyone’s saying about The Innocent Girls:
‘A real thrill ride… a conclusion which literally blew me away. Everything and more you expect from a real gritty crime thriller. LOVED IT!!!!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘This fabulous crime thriller with its super mix of characters will keep you on the edge of your seat and deeply engrossed from the very first page to the nail-biting twist at the end… Loved it and deserves all of its 5 stars from me.’ NetGalley Reviewer, 5 stars
‘Absolutely phenomenal… devoured in practically one sitting!... the conclusion was quite the surprise… I would recommend this one to crime thriller and police procedural enthusiasts everywhere!... keep the reader frantically turning the page!’ Misty’s Corner Reviews, 5 stars
‘What a cracking book… intriguing… brilliant. It’s just complex enough to keep you guessing… the most addictive stories I’ve read for a long time… the very definition of ‘page-turners’… I love this series.’ Nigel Adams Book Worm, 5 stars
‘I felt like I was on a roller-coaster when reading this… twists and turns throughout… a unique storyline with plenty of unexpected events… really hits full throttle… filled with suspense, action and tension.’ BookWorm86
‘Compulsive, addictive and fast-paced… a plethora of twists, turns and red herrings… right from the beginning I was hooked… the tension is ratcheted up… A highly entertaining and absorbing police procedural.’ Readers Retreat
‘So engrossing… intriguing… That ending though! It left me on pins and needles wanting the next book.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
Strong Female Protagonist and Action-Packed Thriller
Although this is the second book in a series, I read it as a standalone and had no difficulty following the plot and characters. In fact, I was drawn into the story from the very beginning and raced to finish it as the tension seemed to ratchet up with each new chapter. Detective Casey White is a strong female protagonist but her vulnerable side is shown also since she has nightmares about the kidnapping of her daughter Hannah as a toddler. When parents are killed with a message carved on the mother and a teen girl missing each time, Casey’s determination to find the girls is understandable. The police procedural part of the story was absolutely engrossing. There is a sub-plot about a weird church in the middle of nowhere, a charismatic pastor who seems evil in many ways, and the mysterious fact that attendees have to be invited in order to attend. The mystery of the invitation was definitely enticing since one girl was found and could only say “he invited me” before she was whisked off to the hospital. Casey’s desperation to find subsequent missing girls is evident and the tension in the plot increases accordingly, making me as the reader enthralled by each new crime, each new detail and each new clue. There were plenty of unexpected twists and a whole gallery of possible suspects, perfect for a mystery/suspense enthusiast like me. The revelation of the killer was a real surprise to me and the final scenes were totally riveting. Fans of thriller/suspense will really enjoy this book. I know for sure that I will look for the next book in the series and Casey White’s next adversary who cannot possibly be a match for her skill and intuition.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Another great one!
I had a hard time figuring out which way this book was going to go! The storyline has my mouth drop open several times!
An amazing sequel!
It has been my absolute pleasure to read and review "The Innocent Girls" by B.R. Spangler! This second installment in the Detective Casey White series was absolutely phenomenal. Luckily I was able to read these two, for the first time, back-to-back, devouring the sequel in practically one sitting!
Set not long after book one, "Where Lost Girls Go," book two picks right up with Detective Casey White and team on a double murder case and possible child abduction in North Carolina's Outer Banks! Soon after, there's a discovery of another body and a missing child. As the bodies pile up, there's something that just doesn't quite add up; this murderer is set on carving into and killing the parents but never touches the children. Aside from the symbols etched into the parent's dead bodies, the only clue Detective Casey and the team have to go off of are the heavily coveted invitations that the teen girls received before going on vacation. Is there any relevance? What are these symbols? You'll have to read it to find out!
I was quite thrilled to discover that "The Innocent Girls" followed the same writing style as "Where Lost Girls Go." There were short to mid-length sized chapters mostly told from Casey's first-person perspective, the additional snippets from key characters here, and there was quite the added bonus. I rather enjoyed the hunt, the race to figure out the clues—especially the symbolism and the cult-like vibes from the mysterious church. I had a few of my own idea along the way, usually following closely with the team's theories. Let's not forget the chemistry between Detective Casey and Marine Control's Jericho Flynn! While not as central to the story this time around, Jericho's interactions with Casey fit perfectly within their relationship progression and Casey's advancements within the department. I have to say, the conclusion was quite the surprise, not necessarily the perp, but rather the actual events. I'm anxiously looking forward to a possible book three!
I would recommend this one to crime thriller and police procedural enthusiasts everywhere! B.R. Spangler has quickly made his way into my private selection of auto-buy authors, and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next! My heart goes out to Casey and her journey to discover what happened to her own daughter, taken from her some fourteen years ago. While her daughter's case and history are mentioned throughout this book, I feel that it's important to state this can be read as a standalone. There's enough main story and inferred history within the text to keep the reader frantically turning the page!
Thank you to @NetGalley, the publishers at @Bookouture, their PR and Social Media Manager @author_noelleholten (@nholten40), and the author @BR_Spangler for providing me with a complimentary copy of this title. I have voluntarily and honestly reviewed this title. It has been an absolute pleasure taking part in this Books-on-Tour event!