REVIEW: TWO GIRLS DOWN, BY LOUISA LUNA

 

As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The Killing, Two Girls Down introduces Louisa Luna as a thriller writer of immense talent and verve.

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls.

Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing Oxycontin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

 

My Thoughts: Alice Vega is an interesting character: tough, vulnerable, damaged, and with a great track record for finding missing people. Two Girls Down first shows her in her home in Central California as she goes through her yoga routine. We follow her thoughts as she connects with someone who wants to hire her to find two missing girls in the Pennsylvania small town of Denville.

Jamie Brandt knows she is not the best mother. She is impatient and feels burdened by the task of rearing her two girls, Kylie, 10, and Bailey, 8. But she is devastated by the loss of them, and we watch her go through the emotional wringer over the days that follow.

Once Vega arrives and connects with the police, she realizes she must find another way, since they are “locking her out,” claiming they don’t work with civilians. She finds a PI named Max Caplan, a former cop, and the two of them take on the task together.

Alternating narratives take us along for the ride as they find potential suspects, people who might have connected with the girls. They watch videos of the scene where they disappeared; they talk to witnesses; and connect the dots. Eventually the police and FBI let them in, and the collaboration is often frustrating, but productive.

Their search takes them to the ramshackle homes of druggies and dealers…and then, finally, to some wealthy habitats where the darkest secrets hide. What will they discover? Who is behind the elaborate taking of the two young girls, and how do their kidnappings connect to others in the state? An engaging story that was sometimes confusing to follow, this one earned 4 stars.***

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14 thoughts on “REVIEW: TWO GIRLS DOWN, BY LOUISA LUNA

  1. There is something to be said for binge-worthy storytelling and this does sound as though it fits squarely in that category Laurel. A shame it got a little confusing in parts but it sounds as though the chief protagonist is one you’d want on your side in this situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, like many books, this one had a lot of characters and potential suspects…and I did find myself blurring over a little, trying to remember the connections. But it was definitely a book worth reading, and I loved the Alice Vega character and her cohort Max Caplan.

      Thanks for visiting, Cleo, and enjoy your reading.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting, Katherine, and you’ll probably enjoy it…especially if you don’t have other distractions. I didn’t take as many notes as usual, since I was caught up in the story and the characters…and then the confusion came from thinking: Wait, who is that guy? lol

      So…the good news is that the story grabbed me, as did the main characters…so enjoy!

      Like

    • Thanks, Kathryn, and the confusion came from all the suspects that they had to check out, but otherwise the story was good and kept me turning pages. What I especially loved was the Alice Vega character…and her partner, Max Caplan. I also enjoyed “watching” them work, and their dialogue was interesting, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mystica, and I loved the Alice Vega character, too. The complexities (for me) came from all the people Vega and Cap had to check out, so sometimes they blurred together for me. I should have taken better notes!

      Like

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