The Forgotten Girls

With a title like that, how can you not be intrigued?

Though I’d never even heard of Sara Blaedel, apparently Denmark’s queen of crime,  the synopsis on the back of the book was enough to convince me to bring it home.

The story is about Louise Rick, head of a new police unit for missing persons. Her first case is kind of a reverse– a woman was found dead in the woods, and no one has identified the body, despite telltale scarring on the woman’s face.

When her identity is finally uncovered, it leads Louise down a new path in search of the dead woman’s twin sister and answers as to why both women were issued death certificates 30 years earlier.

Everything leads back to the small town area where Louise grew up, dredging up her past and bringing up even more unresolved questions.

Though the book deals with potentially touchy topics– both the missing girls and other characters have mental disabilities– the book takes a look at how far people are willing to go for their families, and the choices some people make in the name of the greater good. Like Louise, I found myself feelingboth disgusted and just a little sympathetic to characters.

Blaedel does an excellent job with the story, weaving narrative from Louise’s life and past into narrative of the case, and all the characters are lifelike. As you begin to understand motives, you can imagine a situation in which bad choices are better than worse choices, even if neither choice is great.

Finally, Blaedel wraps the story up in a prefect but incomplete way, making readers anxious to follow Louise’s life and understand her past.

I’ll admit, I did guess the ending of this book, but I was probably about two thirds in, and the pieces were starting to fall into place. I would imagine that was exactly how Blaedel intended the book to be read.

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