Book Review: The Forgotten Girl

12.31.2019 (first published 10.07.2014) | Berkley
Rating: 4/5 stars


Jason Danver’s isn’t close with his sister Hayden. Over the years she has distanced herself from Jason and their family as she spiraled out of control. Now Jason finds his former addict sister at his doorstep with her teenage daughter. Hayden has one request: She needs Jason and his wife to agree to take care of her daughter for the next forty-eight hours, while she handles some unfinished business. No questions asked.

As the hours tick by Hayden stops making contact with her daughter, which sounds alarm bells for Jason. Could Hayden have gone off the wagon again? Has she disappeared? Jason begins to look into what Hayden is up to and who she has talked to since being back in town. Everything seems connected to his best friend who disappeared after their high school graduation. What happened all those years ago? What does it have to do with Hayden?


David Bell is one of those auto-buy authors for me. He is someone I can always trust to give me a gripping, page turner. While occasionally his stories get a bit over-the-top, I still find myself loving be along for the ride. Who doesn’t love a crazy story?

This is one of Bell’s older books, but it still follows the same winning formula that his newer novels have for me. There is family tension, a strange case, and a layered mystery to solve. Immediately when you start this book you know that Jason and Hayden’s relationship isn’t solid. They aren’t a close duo and Jason clearly doesn’t trust his sister after years of her addiction coming before family. It was nice to see that despite their rocky relationship, Jason and his wife embraced Hayden’s daughter instantly and were fully invested in finding Hayden.


One of my favorite elements of this story is how the past plays a huge importance to present day and Hayden’s disappearance. It seems the shady crowd she used to run with in her small town know a thing or two about her return, but aren’t willing to help Jason. His investigation into the past reveals not only things about his sister, but also the secrets of the town itself. I’m a huge fan of small towns with big secrets in my mysteries, so this really hit the mark for me!

The reasons why Hayden is in town seem elusive to the reader, but as we keep moving through the story as Jason investigates, things become clearer, while still giving you something to think about. I love that Bell has the ability to truly draw me into his stories. I’m constantly looking for the answer to whatever mystery is at hand. Bell usually keeps me on my toes and second guessing myself with all of the red herrings! THE FORGOTTEN GIRL is another fantastic example of Bell’s writing abilities and literary craftsmanship.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

A huge thank you to Get Red PR and Berkley for sending me a free copy of this book!

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 This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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