The Forgotten Girl

David Bell (Cemetery Girl; Never Come Back) offers up another gripping thriller with The Forgotten Girl, which describes a desperate few weeks in the life of Jason Danvers. Five years earlier, Jason reluctantly moved back to Ednaville, Ohio, with his wife after he got laid off in New York. Jason and Nora have been leading an uneventful, small-town life until Jason's sister, Hayden, turns up unexpectedly. When Jason last saw Hayden, she was struggling with alcohol addiction, so he's suspicious of her intentions.

Now sober, Hayden asks Jason and Nora to watch her teenage daughter, Sierra, for two days; she doesn't explain why, just says she needs a little time. Jason and Nora hesitantly agree, but two days pass, and Hayden doesn't return. Soon, Sierra disappears, too, and then a body is found in the woods outside of town. Jason must confront Hayden's past and hunt down her high-school drinking buddies in an attempt to find his missing sister and niece.

The Forgotten Girl is not a fast-paced thriller; it's a completely believable chronicle of a family's stress and fear when loved ones go missing. From a prosaic beginning, though, Bell slowly and steadily increases the tension as the secrets in Hayden's life (and possible death) multiply. These events seem like they could happen to anyone--particularly anyone from a small town--and that edginess will keep readers turning the pages. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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