Little Girl Gone
An Afton Tangler Thriller #1
Berkley Books, July 2016
From the publisher—
In the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime…
On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.
As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.
But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing .
A year ago, I would never have expected this novel from this author and the reason is simple….Gerry Schmitt is Laura Childs and, if there has ever been a Queen of the Cozies, it’s Laura Childs. I really like her various series so, when I heard this book was coming, I was intrigued. For the most part, I think this new direction is successful and quite promising.
One minor quibble is in the label “thriller”. Since we know from the beginning who the bad guys are, I tend to think of this as suspense, not so much thriller. It’s really just semantics, though, and the book world has been debating how to apply labels, subgenres, categories and so forth almost for as long as I can remember so it doesn’t truly matter. In this case, calling it a thriller probably won’t matter to anyone but me 😉
Afton Tangler (nifty name) is a woman who, like many of us, has accomplished part of her dream but isn’t quite all the way there yet. As a liaison between the police and the victims of crime and their families, she has her job with the police but what she really wants is to be a detective and she does whatever she can to connect with the people who can help. That’s not to say she uses them, far from it. Afton is a woman who’s easy to like and her boss, Deputy Chief Gerald Thacker, does recognize her value as liaison and encourages her up to a point. Another supporter, with some reluctance, is veteran detective Max Montgomery and he is the lead on the baby kidnapping case. Since Afton needs to work with the Dardens, parents of the missing Elizabeth Ann, Max includes her in much of his investigation even though Thacker has reminded both that she is not to do any detecting. That right there was enough to make me like Max.
Twists and turns, not to mention the creepy idea of reborn babies, send Afton and Max in more than a few directions and going along with them as they work to find the baby before it’s too late kept me engaged. There were a few spots where Afton’s behavior was out of touch with what a “real” detective would do and where the story dragged just a mite but I really liked that the story is told from multiple points of view including that of the very unsavory bad guys.
Besides being a compassionate, intelligent person, Afton is also a bit of a kickass as an ice climber and the physical and mental qualities, as well as sheer courage, needed to be successful at climbing carry over to her work. She bumbles occasionally, especially with this being such a sensitive and high profile case, but Afton is the kind of person who could make a most excellent professional sleuth given the opportunity. I can’t wait to find out what happens next with this aspiring police detective when Shadow Girl comes out next July.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2016.
To enter the drawing for a print copy
of Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt,
just leave a comment below. The winning
name will be drawn on Monday night,
November 28th. This drawing is open
to residents of the US and Canada.
This sounds really interesting. I also like Laura Child’s other series, so I look forward to reading this one. Thanks for the chance to win.
Loving cozies, agreeing with your opinion on the ‘nifty name,’ and the premise of this book, I am interested. Also thanks for your definition of ‘thriller vs suspense.
I really want to read this book! And you make it sound so great! Lovely review!! Also, thank you for the chance to win a copy!
Great review! I’ve wondered about this book, good to know it’s more suspense than thriller
I have not read any other books by this author, but this sounds interesting.
Evil lurks in the mind of one of my favorite cozy authors. Sounds good to me.
This novel sounds compelling. Thanks for your great review.
Thanks for this intriguing giveaway which interests me greatly.
I have looked at this book a couple of times. sounds like a good winter read! Thanks for the chance to win. email@example.com
I’ve read several of Laura Childs’ cozies. Loved your review and the book sounds interesting. I never truly get why authors use different names, but I’m sure there’s normally a good reason. In her case if she tried to put the Laura Childs name on a thriller, she might have a lot of cozy readers running the other way. Personally I like cozies, regular mysteries, hard boiled, and occasionally a thriller. I’m not much of a romance reader. And vampire type books are out for me.
Well done writing a review which makes the book interesting without giving away too much.
Pretty much impossible not to be intrigued by this one.
Can’t wait to read thius one! Loved her tea house series! Always fun to see someone local (Minnesota) have such success.
Sounds like a really good story! Thanks for offering it to us!
I’m always looking for another police detective novel to read.
Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. I have read some of Laura Child’s tea mysteries and would love to read this book as well. Thanks again.
Just goes to show you that you can’t keep a good author down (to one genre). Looking forward to reading this. Thank you.