On a winding mountain road into the small town of Denton, Pennsylvania, Detective Josie Quinn finds the body of a local teenage girl, Dina Hale. The sight of plum-colored bruises gathering around the girl’s neck pierces Josie’s heart, but the discovery of a second girl’s empty purse in the dirt nearby gives her a flicker of hope that one person, at least, made a lucky escape.
Dina’s parents are grief-stricken as the town rallies together in a desperate search for the second girl, Alison Mills, who waitressed with Dina at a local hotel. The two best friends were on their way to a shift when they were attacked. Josie was too late to save Dina, but she won’t rest until Alison is home safe.
Hitting a dead-end with interviews, Josie thinks she’s on to something when a photo surfaces suggesting Alison was romantically involved with one of the hotel staff. But when Josie arrives at the man’s house to find a bullet in his head, and the house ransacked, the case comes crashing down.
Evidence of frantic searching at both crime scenes has Josie convinced a twisted killer is on a hunt for something very personal and precious. And that they won’t stop until they find it. But how many innocent lives will be destroyed before Josie can uncover the missing piece at the heart of this deadly puzzle? And what sacrifices will she have to make to find Alison alive?
408 Pages | 59 Chapters | 5.5 Hours over 2 Days
The Josie Quinn series is now the longest crime series I have on my shelves. It’s just overtaken the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. The first book in this series The Vanishing Girls is the book that restarted my Kindle library and it was one of the first series that I started reading in Kindle and enjoyed so much that not only did I buy the first few I’d read in paperback but I continued reading the series in paperback rather than on Kindle.
It’s been a little while since I’ve read Josie Quinn, mostly because I’ve been terrible at reading my physical tbr list. I already have the 16th book in my amazon basket ready for payday!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, the author Lisa Regan writes in a world where each character gets a book that focuses on them. No new character is brought in without reason and the characters are clearly interwoven through the fabric of the entire series. The only other series I have found that writes the same way is that of Julia Quinn who is now most popular for her Bridgeton series among others.
In this book, Local Girl Missing, we get a reprieve from focusing on a characters backstory and are given an original story. I recognised this as the first book where Josie’s grief over the death of her grandmother wasn’t consuming as it has been in the last 2 books.
This book starts as Josie and Noah are driving back from their honeymoon and only escalates in drama and intrigue from there. This time we have a dead teen, a missing teen, and a valley of lies and twists that keep you occupied till the end.
It’s always interesting to see all of the characters come together collectively to work on a case. At this point in time we’ve had books explaining the stories of all the main characters in the police station: Josie, Noah, Gretchen, Amber, The Chief – although as I’m writing this I realise that while Mettner was instrumental in the telling of Amber’s story, he hasn’t had his own featured story yet.
I noticed a change in this book in the way Josie operates and it really shows the impact that Noah has had on her life and how far they have come as a couple. Noah has been a longstanding grounding stone for Josie and their relationship over the books has been so rewarding to see. They work as a cohesive unit now, not necessarily having to use words to get across what is needed. They have the perfect balance between romantic partners and police that marries together the rest of the group and gives both a thrilling crime read and the more emotional parts that are essential to plot and character development.
Josie is a force to be reckoned with. As a female character she is incredibly strong and I’ve always enjoyed the way Regan writes her through tragedies and milestones without shying away from the darker and more negative aspects of life. I have never felt like Josie’s emotions or actions are ill thought or inconsistent with her character.
Books that include characters any age under 18 can be a little problematic, the writing can be compelling but the plot is not always easy to read. The fact that I read this with ease and without any misgivings or nausea spoke greatly I think to both the writing and the plot. One of the girls we meet in this book is nearing her eighteenth birthday but she is portrayed beautifully as being both almost an adult and still a child who needs her mother. Her portrayal gave great insight into the ongoing plot as it developed.
I didn’t have any guesses or theories as I was reading this book. In this case, I was so swept up in reading that I don’t think I stopped to guess anything. What I particularly like about Regan’s books is that you have always met someone crucial to the reveal. The enjoyment of the overall plot increases tenfold when the killer reveal means something to the plot being spun. A pet peeve of mine is authors whose killer is someone never mentioned or mentioned in passing as it just creates a chasm of confusion and disappointment.
Within this book you also get snapshot chapters of the past, these snapshots aren’t intended to confuse you and you’ll find them essential when the reveal comes. I generally enjoy the snapshots in this series. This one particularly because it gave nothing away and even when I was reaching the final chapters I was still wondering at the importance and meaning behind them.
The reveal, was, good. I don’t say that lightly. It’s another thing that Regan is good at. Being able to spin a reveal is one thing but being able to spin it into a substantial number of pages and make it feel like an adrenaline fuelled chase is something special. When you find an author you click with it’s so rewarding.
I particularly enjoyed this reveal because it joined so many threads and also simultaneously caused Josie to feel emotions she wasn’t expecting (you’ll understand if you read).
I felt like the book had resolved itself by the last page. Everything had been revealed and sorted and the book ended on a high note – in my opinion. Knowing that the next book is already out assures me that the series is far from over. I think, Regan could take this series very far. I don’t feel bored with the characters as they’re still evolving and each plot engages me from beginning to end. While it might not be everyone’s kind of crime book, it is very much one of mine.
I give this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐