Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger – ARC Review

Girls like Us by Cristina Alger.jpgSummary:

From the celebrated and bestselling author of The Banker’s Wife, worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.

When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect–and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother’s murder–and her own role in exonerating her father in that case–Nell can’t help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds–not just about those she loves, but about herself.

Review: 4 Stars

This book caught my attention through a Shelf Awareness ad and I am so glad that I wound up getting a copy from Netgalley. Girls Like Us was exactly what I needed after reading a slow paced fantasy novel. It didn’t jump into the action right away, but after the first four chapters I was hooked. I found myself regretting starting it after 10 p.m. though, because it kept me up until about 4 a.m. until I fell asleep with my face on the Kindle. Girls Like Us is quite the page turner and I am really excited for this book to hit the world.

The book had a plot that kept me turning the pages, but it also really had great character development. I think the way that Nell could relate to the victims really gave this book a powerful impact on me as a reader. Even though I am nothing like Nell of the victims I found myself relating to them, which is truly a testament to Cristina Alger’s writing. The slow start to the book was good for character development, but that wasn’t this book’s primary focus. Nell was a good character, but this book focused mostly on the mystery and the plot, which I think was appropriate.

The story line was absolutely gripping. Nell tries to solve the case of two missing Latina working girls, the kind of girl that no one really winds up looking for. I found the narrative sad, but all too realistic. While the novel touched on topics like police misconduct and profiling, it also dove into the subject of human trafficking. These touchy topics are written about with truth and respect, but also in a way that is suspenseful and riveting. The mystery was a bit predictable, but the topics focused on and the way it was written made up for that.

Girls Like Us is a mystery that kept me turning the pages until the early hours of the morning. The characters were developed much better than I would expect for a mystery and the writing was fresh and brought life to the story. I felt like some difficult topics were written about in a way that felt authentic, but also with tact. This was my first read by Cristina Alger, but I don’t think that it will be my last.

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