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January 29, 2020

Two Girls Down



Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
Alice Vega #1
Mystery
2018 Doubleday
Finished on January 24, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

It's a mother's worst nightmare. Jamie Brandt's two young daughters, Kylie and Bailey, disappear without a trace from a strip mall parking lot in their hometown of Denville, Pennsylvania. The devastated family hires Alice Vega, a former bounty hunter whose intellect is matched only by her relentless determination to get results.

Immediately shut out by a contentious police department stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemics, Vega partners with a former cop, Max Caplan, to help her navigate the local scene. She will go to any length to follow the slippery trail of the missing girls no matter where it leads and to bring them home before they are lost forever. 

Louisa Luna is a masterful, fearless storyteller. Intense, suspenseful, and deeply resonant from the first line to its riveting conclusion, Two Girls Down is a thrilling work about how far people will go to protect and save their family.

Wow. What a great book! I hadn't heard of Louisa Luna until recently and then it was as if she was everywhere. I first heard her name mentioned on a literary podcast as the host was referencing Luna's second book, The Janes. Shortly after that, my interest was further piqued when I read about The Janes on Jenclair's blog (A Garden Carried in the Pocket). I quickly placed a library request for Two Girls Down, which is the first in this series. 

To say I devoured this book is an understatement. I read 150 pages the first night and had to force myself to turn out the light well after midnight. I couldn't stop reading! I managed to draw it out a little longer over the course of the next few days, but it's such a compelling page-turner, one could easily finish it in a single day. Alice Vega and Max Caplan are a great team, reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro duo. I love their chemistry and the humorous one-liners had me laughing out loud. Vega reminds me of Marvel's Jessica Jones with her kick-ass, no-nonsense personality. The only reason I didn't give this book a perfect 5-star rating is that the ending got very confusing and I had to flip back and forth, reacquainting myself with characters whose names were briefly mentioned early on. There were a lot of secondary characters and red herrings and I wasn't able to identify the kidnapper until revealed by the author.  I can't wait to get my hands on The Janes and I hope Luna is busy writing a third installment in this series. If you enjoy an evenly-paced, tension-packed crime novel with not only believable, but lovable characters, I strongly recommend Two Girls Down. As soon as I finished, I passed it on to my husband who agrees that it's a winner. I love discovering a new series!

8 comments:

  1. This sounds very good. The author and book are both new to me. Another book by the same author is available on Netgalley. I've made a request for that one.

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    1. If the other book is The Janes, you should be aware that it's the second in the series. I have not yet read it, so I don't know if there are spoilers about this first book and maybe that doesn't bother you. I tend to read a series in order, but that's just me. :) Either way, the two main characters are very likable and I think you'll enjoy the book. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment, Mystica!

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  2. I'm glad you liked this one, too! Finding a new series with characters that you like is always fun, isn't it? Vega and Cap are a good pairing. :)

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    1. My mom really enjoyed it, too! Thanks again for the recommendation. I can't wait to pick up my copy of The Janes.

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  3. Great review! I really want to read this one and think I'll recommend it for my mystery book group.

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    1. Iliana, it's such a great book! I picked up the next one in the series (The Janes) today at the library, but since I have 3 other library books that I need to read first, I'll let my husband and mom read it before me.

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  4. This was bizarre, I thought, but certainly compelling. Yet, so many American thrillers seem to be a variation on the same theme, to me. Missing women/girls found dead/alive. That is why I am enjoying the long list for the Edgar award so much right now. Off to read your review of The River, one of the nominated books as you probably know.

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    1. Meredith, the funny thing about this sort of thriller is that I don't really care about the actual plot as much as I do about the character development between the "good guys." I agree, the themes tend to all blur together from one thriller to the next. A good mystery (The River, any of Louise Penny's books, etc.) tend to have more depth and the details of the mystery stay with my long after turned the final page.

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