Imagine coming back home after ten years away. Imagine the more you think about the accident that killed your father, the less you are convinced it was an accident. Imagine investigating a grisly murder and realising your father is your primary suspect. This is the reality Nell Flynn, the protagonist of Cristina Alger’s new thriller ‘Girls like us’ must face.
FBI agent Nell Flynn has never had a close relationship with her father Martin. When she was seven, her mother was brutally murdered in their home, while Nell was out camping with her father. The police quickly found a culprit, although there were some doubts voiced by an astute reporter.
Now Nell is back to Suffolk county to scatter her father’s ashes. Her father, who had a well-known problem with alcohol, had a motorbike accident which could easily and was attributed to his tiredness, slippery road conditions and old tires on the bike. The only people who come to the service are Martin’s old colleagues- cops from the local police department.
Nell herself is still recovering, both physically and mentally, from a shoot-out during her previous case, when, unexpectedly, her father’s partner and Nell’s former schoolmate Lee Davis asks her to come to a murder scene and give a consult as a behavioural profiler. The victim is quickly identified as Adriana Marquez, a young Latina girl who lived with her sister’s family and occasionally provided escorting services to make ends meet. The case bears an uncanny resemblance to another cold case her father was working on. Soon Nell begins to suspect that her father might have known a lot more and could have even been involved in these crimes either as a perpetrator, or an accomplice. Nell keeps asking questions and quickly realises that the local police officers are corrupt and cannot be trusted.
The book is extremely fast-paced and gripping. It kept me up until the small hours- I just needed to know how it was going to end. I loved the protagonist with her tenacious spirit and sense of justice. After all, Ria and Adriana were girls like us, girls who deserved a better life and a chance for happiness. At the very least, as the victims of these horrendous crimes, they deserve their case being properly investigated, the murderer punished and their death being mourned for what it was- a tragic waste of young life and hope.
Highly recommended for anybody who loves action-packed thrillers with a strong female lead. In fact, I found Nell Flynn and her no non-sense attitude fascinating and likeable, so I can only hope Cristina Alger is going to write more novels involving this new character.
Thank you to Edelweiss and G.P.Putnam’s sons for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read Girls like us or any other books by Cristina Alger?
- What is the most interesting book with a strong female protagonist-police officer that you’ve read recently?