The Next Girl – Karla Kovach
I was fortunate to receive this novel as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.
This tale begins with a quick peek of the kidnapping and death of a prostitute, and then fast forwards to the present, where an older gentleman has just left a pub and comes upon a baby that’s been abandoned on the library steps. Detective Inspector Gina Harte is sent to investigate the baby’s seeming abandonment; the only clues being the rag the infant was wrapped with, and the shoddy job done on cutting the baby’s umbilical cord.
As the investigation continues, a DNA assay links the new born baby to a woman, Deborah, who vanished under mysterious circumstances four years prior. Armed with that revelation, the case investigating the woman’s disappearance is re-opened, and her family is notified of the baby’s finding. Deborah’s bereaved family immediately takes the baby home.
The story is told with glimpses into all of the character’s lives – DI Harte, who is just beginning an illicit affair with a superior, and whose past is haunted by abuse, Deborah, who has been held hostage by an unknown man for the last four years, and Luke, Deborah’s husband who is trying to move on, but can’t seem to let go of the past and his love for Deborah.
As Luke’s family takes in and cares for baby Isobel, Deborah’s captor becomes obsessed with getting the baby back, while the police frantically re-examine old clues and re-interview Deborah’s friends and acquaintances in attempts to discover something they’ve missed. Finally, a witness notes an odd gesture made by a stranger, and Gina is suddenly reminded of someone from Deborah’s past, and pieces it all together – but will they find her in time?
This book was fabulous! The small storylines interwoven into the characters’ lives made the story believable and the main character DI Harte, very likeable. The book was fast paced, and difficult to put down! I cannot wait for further novels in the Gina Harte series! A great read!! 5 stars!