EXCERPT: She wanted to make plans.
In two weeks, Emily would be eighteen years old. In another two months, she would be a mother. She would get a job. She would move out of her parents’ house. Gram would understand, and what she didn’t understand, she would forget. Dean Wexler was right about one thing: Emily had to grow up. She had more than herself to think of now. She had to get away from Longbill Beach. She had to start planning her future instead of letting other people plan it for her. More importantly, she would give her baby girl everything that Emily had never had.
Kindness. Understanding. Security.
Emily closed her eyes. She conjured the image of her baby girl joyfully floating around inside of her body. She took a deep breath and started to recite the mantra, this time from a place of love rather than duty.
‘I will protect – ‘
The sound of a loud snap made her eyes open.
Emily saw black leather shoes, black socks, the hem of a pair of black pants. She looked up. The sun flickered as a bat swung through the air.
Her heart clenched into a fist. She was suddenly, inescapably, filled with fear.
Not for herself – for her baby.
Emily curled inward, arms wrapped around her belly, legs pulled up tight, as she fell to the side. She was desperate for another moment, another breath, so that her last words to her little girl would not be a lie.
Someone had always planned to hurt them.
They had never been safe.
ABOUT ‘GIRL, FORGOTTEN’: A small town hides a big secret…
Who killed Emily Vaughn?
A girl with a secret…
Longbill Beach, 1982. Emily Vaughn gets ready for the prom. For an athlete, who is smart, pretty and well-liked, this night that should be the highlight of her high school career. But Emily has a secret. And by the end of the evening, that secret will be silenced forever.
An unsolved murder…
Forty years later, Emily’s murder remains a mystery. Her tight-knit group of friends closed ranks; her respected, wealthy family retreated inwards; the small town moved on from her grisly attack. But all that’s about to change.
One final chance to uncover a killer…
US Marshal Andrea Oliver arrives in Longbill Beach on her first assignment: to protect a judge receiving death threats. But, in reality, Andrea is there to find justice for Emily. The killer is still out there – and Andrea must discover the truth before she gets silenced, too…
MY THOUGHTS: Quietly stunning. It’s the characters: Andrea; Bible – her partner; Esther – the Judge and Emily’s mother; Emily herself whose presence is still felt forty years after her murder; and the ‘clique’: Nardo who is crooked, a con-artist; Blake – a chancer now deceased; Ricky – Blake’s twin; and Clay Morrow – wealthy, arrogant and selfish. But for some unfathomable reason, everyone loved Clay. And hanging around on the fringes, but never quite accepted into the fold, was Cheese – Jack Stilton, the Police Chief’s son.
Emily was much like her mother, Judge Esther Vaughn, in that they both excelled at everything they did and had no concept of how to deal with failure. Judge Vaughn is a complicated woman; imposing, imperious, intelligent and indomitable. Not a woman to be crossed. Emily’s pregnancy could hardly have come at a worse time for the Judge who is busy brokering her next step up the career ladder.
Told over two timelines, 1981 and forty years later, this is a harrowing tale of intrigue and subterfuge. Forty years on, and people are still hiding the truth. With the Judge succumbing to cancer, her husband severely disabled by a stroke, and Andrea detailed to guard them after the Judge received death threats, it seems like there’s no better time to find out if her own father, Clay Morrow, is guilty of murdering Emily.
There are layers and layers of lies for Andrea to wade through. Everyone, it seems, still has things to hide. Andrea is lucky to have Bible, an experienced Marshal at her side. He’s a man who makes up the rules as he goes along, but he is wise and thoughtful, and never oversteps the mark. Mike, a US Marshal from Andrea’s past, and who featured quite prominently in the first book of this series, Pieces of Her, makes a return appearance.
Now, I have to admit to not having enjoyed Pieces of her anywhere near as much as Girl, Forgotten and, as happens with books that I haven’t really enjoyed, I could remember nothing of the plot of the first book. But as you can tell, it really made no difference to my enjoyment of Girl, Forgotten.
The plot is complex, but engrossing. Emily was, at times, astute, at others, incredibly naive. It didn’t stop me wanting justice for her. I loved the way she played ‘Columbo’. That was a great touch. The thread involving the cult is almost secondary, but weaves into the main story with the involvement of two of the main characters. I don’t usually read anything involving cults, but I am glad I decided to override this preference in favour of Karin Slaughter’s writing. It was a good choice.
I: @karinslaughterauthor @harpercollins
T: @SlaughterKarin @HarperCollins
#contemporaryfiction #crime #cultfiction #familydrama #detectivefiction #historicalfiction #murdermystery #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programing. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to HarperCollins Publishers UK, Harper Fiction via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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