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The Forgotten Girls (A Stevens and…
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The Forgotten Girls (A Stevens and Windermere Novel)

by Owen Laukkanen

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The Synopsis
This is the sixth in a series of books by Laukanenen following detectives, Stevens and Windermere. In this installment, we are hopping on a train.

Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere are on the hunt of a killer, known as the Ghost Rider. This is a person that hops along the High Line, traveling to and from as he wishes. He preys on the forgotten girls – runaways, prostitutes, girls who most likely have no one waiting on them. This man has been doing this for years, but local authorities never made the connection to a serial killer. It was believed that they were all separate instances, blaming the bad weather on most of the killings. Stevens and Windermere, with the help of those in-the-know of the train hopping, are able to piece together a series of deaths and learn that most, if not all of these, are linked to one person. And they have to find him.

Told from multiple perspectives, we get this story from the POV of the detectives, as well as Mila, a runaway who is on the hunt for the Ghost Rider after he killed her friend (she blames herself for the death and wants to avenge her friend). And in some instances, we are able to look inside the mind of the killer himself.

The Review
I enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of thrillers but do not tend to read many cop thrillers, like this one could be labeled. I did not realize until after receiving the book that it was sixth in a series, which made me nervous going in. However, this is definitely a stand alone book; the only negative here is that there is little to no background on the detectives, Stevens and Windermere, but you are able to get a grasp of who they are throughout the book.

The story was an interesting premise: a serial killer that uses the trains to find his victims. This is a man who thinks that women owe him something and he assumes that just because they are women, they have used their feminine traits to screw men over in the past. He finds that it is his duty to teach them something. The women he chooses (for the most part) are waitresses at bars, prostitutes that hang around bars, and runaways he finds on the trains. He is able to sneak through unnoticed by locals and doesn’t stay long enough to really make himself stand out.

I thought this was well written and did well with the multiple perspectives. I found the plot progression to be believable, however I felt the story to be a little long. There is a part that you think Hey, this is it!, but then you realize there are a lot of pages left and we have more to go. While this is probably more believable in regards to hunting down a person, I think cutting out the second ending and giving the first ending (if you will) a bigger bang could have been beneficial.

I enjoyed the characters while reading this, but now that I am sitting down and writing this review, I am having a hard time recalling names. This realization that they really have not stuck with me makes me wonder how well the characters really were developed.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book and am considering checking out the first in this series, to see if it would be something I would like to look into more. If you are a fan of thrillers, and specifically like ones that have a lot of discussion about the background information in a case, this would definitely be a book to check out! ( )
  bookcoverjudge | Jul 6, 2017 |
He is a serial killer that has been well trained in mountain survival techniques by the military. He has been unlucky in love and is now obsessed with the mindset that all women hate him. No one will give him his chance. He preys on young woman that he thinks will not be missed by society. He rides the High Line, the trains that route through the northwestern United States in the roughest weather; blizzards, mega-snow and unspeakably low temperatures. When FBI agents Stevens and Windemere get a whiff of the existence of this "shadow, " they are relentless in their pursuit. I loved it. If you are looking for a theme with strong women who show their stuff, this one is for you. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy. ( )
  musichick52 | May 29, 2017 |
I fell in love with this series from the beginning but this is the best one yet. Why? Gone is the forced romance between Windermere and Stevens. The focus was all on the hunt for The Rider, a dastardly serial killer of "forgotten" women along the Northwest Rail Line. This book will chill you to the bone, and not just because so much of it takes place in the freezing winter temperatures of northern Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Windermere and Stevens are hot on his trail though...right behind a teenage runaway out to avenge her friends senseless death. ( )
  she_climber | Mar 31, 2017 |
I'd give 'The Forgotten Girls' a solid 3.5 stars.... What began as a 3 escalated a bit due to the excitement at the end- a satisfying conclusion.

I like Owen Laukkanen's writing, in general, but I have a couple problems with it. The first is that he sometimes gets a little too simplistic in his technique and, unless the story line is really propulsive, the reading can become a little slow. The second is that there always seems to be a logical flaw somewhere that ends up bugging me throughout the book. I won't divulge where it is in this one and it really didn't have a big effect, but it bothered me anyway.

That being said, The Forgotten Girls is a good serial-killer thriller that can open readers' eyes as to how these psychos can get away with multiple murders and why it takes so long to catch them. The victim population in this story is one I really had no idea existed: young females who catch free rides (it's called surfing) on freight trains as they traverse the northern tier of the country. In this novel, the killer had been active for years but due to the nature of the crimes, the 'invisibility' of the victims, and the brutal winter weather he'd been able to do his work without a problem. That is, until some smart law enforcers began connecting the dots.

Windermere, Stevens, and Mathers are pulled into action and we hear both their narrative as well as that of the killer throughout the book. The writing is OK, the dialogue is pretty good, the pace drags a bit in the middle, but the ending makes up for any real or imagined deficiencies.

Owen Laukkanen is rapidly becoming a solid 'go-to' guy for thrillers, and his characters are one of the major reasons. The lead, Windermere, is not only a female (a bit of an oddity in this genre) but also beautiful and black (even rarer). Stevens is the 'local' guy who's consistent, dependable, physical, and instinctive, while Mathers stays back at the ranch and does more of the analytical work (while pining for Windermere). They're a likable, effective ensemble. ( )
  gmmartz | Mar 28, 2017 |
Dedicated to the victims of a serial killer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is a police procedural that starts with gruesome pictures on a phone and ends with the hunt for a serial killer. It follows the police chase both from the perspective of the detectives, the girls, and the killer - "the ghost rider." The book is a fiction with a reminder that these things sadly do also happen in real life.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-forgotten-girls.html

Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program. ( )
  njmom3 | Mar 13, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399174559, Hardcover)

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.
 
She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.
            But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 24 Nov 2016 23:42:58 -0500)

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