The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves ~ ARC Book Review (2016, mystery)

The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves ~ ARC Book Review (2016, mystery)Author: Sarah Graves
Title: The Girls She Left Behind
Series: Lizzie Snow #2
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pages: 272
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Genres: Mystery & Thriller

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.
Format: eARC
Also by this author: Winter at the Door
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

The Girls She Left Behind is the second book in the Lizzie Snow series by Sarah Graves.

POV: switches back and forth between 1st and 3rd person

Tense: past

Sexual Content: none

Setting: Maine

my review image

The Girls She Left Behind was an interesting read. I enjoyed the overall premise and plot; I just didn’t like the way in which it was told.

If you haven’t read the first book, Winter at the Door, don’t fear. You can jump into the series here. Sarah Graves gives the reader plenty of information to get going.

This story continues where the last one left off. Lizzie is still dealing with her feelings for Dylan and still looking for her missing niece.

Lizzie has to figure out what has happened to a local teenager and the girl’s boyfriend. She fears it is connected to the recent escape of a rapist from a mental hospital. Meanwhile, Jane, tells her story of how she escaped the rapist when she was a teen, 15 years earlier.

The back and forth between Lizzie and Jane is what I didn’t like about it, especially because the author switches the type of point of view as well. When Lizzie is narrating, it is third person. When Jane is narrating, it is first person. Although this does help distinguish one narrator from the other, I had a hard time switching gears like that so much. I would have much preferred the whole book to have been written in third person.

Another problem I had with this book is that I had a hard time finding a character I could relate to and cheer for. Lizzie wasn’t particularly likable in this book. Yes, she is the ‘good guy’ and she’s trying to help everyone, but her wishy-washy attitudes about Dylan started to wear on my nerves. Also, there were times when she would say one thing and do the opposite.

I thought the mystery was worked out well; it kept me guessing and, at times, confused (which might have been my problem, not the author’s). For a somewhat short novel, the author did a good job of working in a lot of backstory and clues without making it boring.

Overall, I did like The Girls She Left Behind, but it wasn’t an easy read for me. I had questions left over; things that I never did understand.

Still, I would recommend it if you like mysteries involving rapists and/or killers. I would read another book in the Lizzie Snow series if given the opportunity.


About Sarah Graves

SARAH GRAVES lives with her husband in Eastport, Maine, in the 1823 Federal-style house that helped inspire her Home Repair is Homicide books. The series and the author’s real-life experience have been featured in House & Garden and USA Today.

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