Thursday 16 May 2024

The Next Girl by Emiko Jean #TheNextGirl #EmikoJean @VikingBooksUK @RosieSafaty #BookReview


I guess you're probably wondering about the next girl. Because there's always another girl, right? A girl waiting to be taken. To be swept away. I'll tell you about her.

It's been twenty years since Detective Chelsey Calhoun lost her sister, and she's been searching ever since: for signs, for closure, for other missing girls. Happy endings are rare in Chelsey's line of work.

Until one day, local teenager Ellie Black is found in Washington State woods. Two years after her disappearance, she's an echo of herself, but alive.

But something's not right about this girl. Where has she been, and who is she protecting?

Chelsey has to find out. For herself, for her sister, and before the next girl is taken.

The Next Girl by Emiko Jean was published on 9 May 2024 by Viking. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This is a captivating, intriguing and beautifully written thriller that kept me turning the pages very quickly. I was able to read this in almost one sitting on a train journey and it is haunting in parts, with some dark themes detailed with sensitivity. 

Elizabeth Black disappeared after a late-night party in a motel two years ago. Detective Chelsey Calhoun is called from her bed in the early hours of one morning. Elizabeth has turned up, over the past two years Chelsey has worked this case, interviewing Elizabeth's friends and family, growing close to her parents, never giving up. Not only is Chelsey a dedicated and committed detective, she also has her own personal tragedy to bear. Twenty years ago, her older sister was murdered. Following her father's footsteps into the police service seemed inevitable for Chelsey, she has always been determined that no other family should bear what hers did. Her sister's murder fractured her small family, her father is now dead, she's estranged from her mother. She's married, but her job puts a strain on her relationship with her husband. 

Elizabeth Black is obviously traumatised. She's no longer that headstrong teenager that caused her parents so much stress. She's a shadow of her former self, withdrawn, unwilling to speak about her experiences. Despite Chelsey's best efforts, Elizabeth will not open up and Chelsey sees so many red flags. She's convinced there's a huge story behind this, and when the DNA of another girl is found on the clothes that Elizabeth is wearing, Chelsey is convinced that there's more than just one missing girl. 

Interwoven into the current day investigation, the reader is told Elizabeth's story in her own words. This is such a fabulous way to add depth and tension to the plot line. We know so much more than Chelsey, but we don't know why it happened, or who was behind it. 

This is not a fast paced story by any means. The author takes care in creating her character and describing the horrors of what Elizabeth has endured. Never gratuitous, it's what we are not told, but know has happened that is most shocking, and perfectly handled by Emiko Jean. 

Whilst this is most certainly a thriller / police procedural, it is also a study in relationships. The ties that bind people who find themselves in the same situation, and how they survive this and how they protect each other. The difficulties in family relationships and how life events can impact ones later actions.

It's chilling, emotional and totally gripping. Dark and atmospheric with a conclusion that shocked me to the core and was totally unexpected. Highly recommended by me. 

Emiko Jean is a New York Times best-selling author of adult and young adult fiction.

Her books have been published in over thirty languages. 

Her work has been featured on Good Morning America as a GMA book club pick, by Reese Witherspoon as a young adult book club pick, and in publications such as: Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Cosmopolitan, Shondaland and Bustle. 

She lives in Washington with her husband and two kids.

IG @emikojeanbooks

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