I received an ARC of this book via Bookouture and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Detective Clara Jefferies has spent years running from her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she hears that her baby sister Delilah has disappeared, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that that she must face up to her past and go home.
Clara returns to find that her mother, Ardeth, has isolated her family by moving to the edge of town, in the shadow of the mountains. Ardeth refuses to talk to the police and won’t let Clara through the front door, believing she and her sister-wives can protect their own. But Clara knows better than anyone that her mother isn’t always capable of protecting her children.
When Clara finds out that two more girls have disappeared, all last seen around the cornfields near her family’s home, she realizes it’s not just Delilah who’s in danger. And then she gets a call that a body has been found…
Admittedly, mystery and thriller aren’t necessarily genres I’m drawn to but there was something about the dramatic cover and the intriguing description of The Fallen Girls that pulled me in straight away.
Clara Jefferies has escaped her past and found her feet as a detective but – one day – her past finds its way back to her as Delilah – her sister – is missing. Whilst Clara wasn’t exactly the most exciting character I’ve ever read, it was interesting to read about the life she used to live – as Mormons aren’t a religious group I’m particularly familiar with and I’m equally not very familiar with polygamous relationships. My heart aches for her at times but, as I discovered more about the community, I realised her decision to escape was definitely the right one.
The book jumps from the point of view of Clara, to Delilah, then to Max (a former member of the community and also a detective). I liked the fact that the narrative changed, giving multiple view points and multiple ways to see how situations played out.
It was interesting to have the contrasting perspectives and settings, jumping from rural to urban and back again. I also liked the fact that Casey chose to alternate between the two “fallen girls” Clara and Delilah – each of whom’s narratives were thought provoking, sometimes brutal and full of emotion.
The one thing that I wasn’t keen on was the fact that it felt as if some things needed fleshing out and expanding on, but this didn’t happen. It may just be because, as I’m guessing the #1 indicates, this is part of a longer series and things will be discovered along the way. Either way, this was a heart-thumping, exciting read.
The Fallen Girls will be published on 3rd June 2020.
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