Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan
Own copy from tbr Kindle
When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing.
Mute and unresponsive, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle’s.
The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust?
Someone in this close-knit town is committing unspeakable crimes. Can Josie catch the killer before another victim loses their life?
‘There’s a man in the woods’
The novel opens with a scene of two young girls in the woods, when one is kidnapped. Right away you know this is going to be a gripping crime fiction read! Although you have no idea who the girls are and their relation to the plot.
It leaves you racing through the pages.
Detective Josie Quinn is on paid leave for her recent use of excessive force. But despite her currently situation, she can’t keep her nose out of the investigation for local missing teen Isabelle Coleman. Isabelle is just 17yrs old and has gone missing form the town of Denton. A town of 30K population, where there are approx. six murders a year. Is Isabelle an abduction case or a run away? The press can’t resist the remarks of how Isabelle makes the ‘perfect’ victim. Her perfect face plastered everywhere.
‘Beautiful teenage girls who were abducted were rarely returned alive and unharmed’
Sgt Ray Quinn, Josie’s ex-husband is the only member of the police force to feed her information. Their separation was far from amicable but Ray’s respect for Josie as a police officer goes a long way. It also enables her to stay in the loop.
Josie accidentally finds herself at the scene of a possible gang shoot-out which coincidentally has links to the missing girl. One of the dead victims Dirk Spencer utters the word ‘Ramona’ before he loses consciousness. But why is Isabelle’s history teacher involved in gang activity? And who is Ramona?
When the forensics arrive, and it is determined that the suspects are the Latino gang ‘The 23’. Who are routinely involved in drug wars, the plot becomes far more layered.
How did Mr Spencer end up in a car full of gangbangers?
Josie refuses to give up her side-line investigation, despite repeated warnings from both her ex and her boss. When she digs into Dirk’s background, she learns he is related to a missing teen. His niece June, having disappeared over a year ago. Dirk made it his personal crusade to save June and now it is Josie’s personal crusade to find the kidnapper. . .
There are scenes from a girl in captivity, as she adjusts to life in her cell. They are harrowing and uncomfortable reading.
‘I want to go home’
When Josie bumps into Misty (Ray’s other woman) we learn two things. a) how Josie and Ray split up and b) exactly how savvy Josie can be. Nobody pushes Josie Quinn around!
When June Spencer is found alive and catatonic from the trauma she has received, you start to believe the case may have its first big lead. But June’s abductor is quickly identified and captured. Yet Isabelle is still out there. . .
Where is Isabelle Coleman?
We then learn more about Josie’s background when she visit’s her grandmother in her nursing home. Her past is complex and layered. Everything I had come to expect from what I knew of Josie so far. With a local outbreak of norovirus, June is admitted to the same care facility and Josie catches her first glimpse of the traumatised young woman, lost inside her own head.
Chief Wayland continues to berate Josie for her interference in his case. Which forces her to reluctantly work with Trinity Payne a reporter with the local press. This added a unique angle on the case. As I could never imagine Josie working with the media. Josie and Trinity are relentless in their pursuit of justice. Although their motives maybe different.
They want to see Isabelle returned.
I don’t want to say too much more for fear of leaving spoilers. But the novel is suspenseful and intense.
The last 25% is sheer brilliance, it reminded me of author Karin Slaughter.
I already have the next in the series, The Girl With No Name waiting patiently on my kindle. So, I shall report back with my review soon. Here is the cover and synopsis. . . .
The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan
Detective Josie Quinn is horrified when she’s called to the house of a mother who had her newborn baby snatched from her arms.
A woman caught fleeing the scene is Josie’s only lead, but when questioned it seems this mysterious girl doesn’t know who she is, where she’s from or why she is so terrified…
Is she a witness, a suspect, or the next victim?
As Josie digs deeper, a letter about a mix-up at a fertility clinic links the nameless girl and the missing child to a spate of killings across the county. Josie is faced with an impossible decision: should she risk the life of one innocent child to save many others… or can she find another way?