GIRLS LIKE US | Cristina Alger
07.02.2019 | Putnam
Rating: 4/5 stars
FBI Agent Nell Flynn has just received news that her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, has died. Nell makes her way back to the hometown that she has avoided for ten years. A town that is filled with memories of her mother’s brutal murder and a childhood she would rather leave behind. Despite her rocky relationship with her father, Nell must face his death. She must return to her childhood home to settle her father’s estate and spread his ashes.
While in town Nell begins learning details about her father’s last case. He was investigating the murders of two young women, both of which were found in gruesome conditions. Her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, convinces Nell to join the investigation as a consultant. As she begins to look further into the murders details about the girls and her father’s possible involvement come to the surface. It seems this town is hiding more than a troubled childhood for Nell. This town has its own secrets and a contingent of people willing to stop at nothing to keep them hidden.
Last year Cristina Alger blew me away with her captivating book, THE BANKER’S WIFE. This year she is back with another story surrounding a badass female character. I love that Alger stays true to what made me love her writing in her previous book. She doesn’t craft the typical unreliable female to narrate her books. Instead she gives the reader these wonderfully flawed, yet strong women who will do anything to get what they are after. In this case, we have Nell who is working through her personal issues with her relationship to not only her father and his death, but also her hometown. Despite these inner struggles, we never see her as a weak character. Nell is portrayed as a determined, head-strong, and courageous woman looking for answers to two brutal murders.
Nell Flynn is clearly the star of this book, but Alger doesn’t stop there with creating fully formed and meaningful characters. The secondary characters in this book are all well crafted, no matter if their role is a handful of pages or a much larger section of the book. I found them all to add value to the story and really drive home the mood of the town that Alger was aiming for.
When I first read the premise for this book I was thinking it would be more of a straight-forward FBI procedural, but what Alger has come up with is more of a hybrid. The reader is obviously following an FBI agent while she is investigating a case, but there is a lot more of Nell and Nell’s personal life involved in the plot to categorize this is a procedural book. In addition to the procedural and personal aspect of this book, it has an overarching dark town, gritty, noir vibe to it reminiscent of television shows with this focus.
There have been some mixed reviews on the pace of this book. There is a camp of readers who thought the story was super fast-paced and then another camp of readers that found the book to be slow. I think there is actually a mix of the two within these pages. The story has a slower build as Alger is introducing the reader to Nell and the events that are happening in her hometown. This pace allows you to truly form the characters and setting in your mind. Once Alger is satisfied that a reader will be fully invested in what is happening, she launches into a much faster pace as Nell gets closer to the truth. I found this to stylistically work very well for me. It drove me want to read large sections of the book at a time and consistently left me wanting more with each chapter.
I greatly enjoyed GIRLS LIKE US and think it would be a fantastic addition to the TBR of any reader looking for something in the crime fiction genre with a strong female lead and an interesting case!
Disclosure: Thank you to Get Red PR and Putnam Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.