Rating – 4/5
An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California. For newly minted Detective Katie Scott, it’s a grim reminder of the disappearance of a childhood friend. Due to the lack of any leads, Chelsea’s case has been declared cold by the police. However, Katie’s military training and her sixth sense tell her otherwise.
She starts investigating on her own and to her horror, unearths a row of graves in a remote location deep in the mountainous forests. Each of these graves contains a brightly colored teddy bear and …. some more bodies. Amidst all these, another little girl goes missing. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to her military experiences and still haunted by her childhood friend’s disappearance, Katie vows to protect the abducted girl.
But can she? Read Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase to find out.
Chase has crafted an absolutely gripping, page-turning crime thriller.
She handles the girl-gone-missing-serial-killer-on-loose narrative in a refreshingly different manner. Chase provides a thorough description of Katie’s investigative methods. Consequently, I was in Katie’s head the whole time and felt like I was the one solving the mystery.
Further, her meticulousness in exploring the off-beat locations, interviewing people not on the police’s radar in a gentle manner (unlike the lead detective’s rude approach) and having her partner’s back no matter what warmed me (and the rest of her uniformed colleagues) up to her in no time. Her pet dog, Cisco, deserves a special mention as he is crucial in solving the case.
Chase provides a list of possible suspects. However, the identity of the serial killer was indeed a revelation, once more emphasizing the fact that psychopaths live amongst us in plain sight. Further, she provides glimpses into the killer’s psyche revealing his motive for the murders.
I would have rated it a 5/5 if not for the climax. Chase takes us through a high stakes chase between Katie and the killer only to have him out of the equation by a convenient coincidence (revealing that will be a spoiler). So, up until the last twenty pages, we had Katie battling the killer and a remote, unknown, treacherous location. Suddenly, the killer is no longer there leaving Katie to find out how to get out of the predicament she is caught in. This was rather too formulaic for my taste.
A beautiful cover, an ominous title, an even more engaging plot and a determined, brave detective – what more do you need in a book to keep you occupied for the weekend? Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase is highly recommended for fans of mystery/thrillers.
I reviewed this book for Readers’ Favorite for which I received a nominal compensation. This in no way affects my opinion about the book.
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