Pros: Interesting plot and characters
Cons: Some things I wanted more information on
Rating: 4 out of 5
In Gerry Schmitt’s Little Girl Gone (An Afton Tangler Thriller), a three-month-old baby goes missing. Afton Tangler is a civilian liaison to the police, but she and her pseudo-partner Max (a homicide detective) are determined to find the kid. The baby’s mother Susan isn’t helping–she keeps taking her anger out on Afton as a convenient target. Meanwhile, there are plenty of potential suspects, some of whom are much worse than others. Finding young Elizabeth Anne will not be easy–but it will be dangerous.
I enjoyed Afton as a character. We know from the start that she’s athletic and stubborn–one of her hobbies is ice-climbing. While she does some foolish things, she generally does them for good reasons, and they aren’t nearly as foolhardy as the actions of some other characters I’ve read recently. Her actions didn’t come across as stupid, and she didn’t ignore the help and ideas of those around her. Max is most of an interesting character, but he needs a bit more exposure to completely come together. As for the antagonists, one of them is pretty flat and one of them has some interesting complexity to him (it’s always weird when taxidermy and creepy, lifelike dolls enter the picture). There’s also a very pregnant woman called Shake who’s unintentionally part of this mess. Despite her lack of agency, she soldiers through to give us a glance of a more complicated personality under the surface. A couple characters are more stereotypical (like the bitchy babysitter who was tied up while the baby was stolen), but in general things are good.
I was a little surprised that when a ransom note finally came through–days later–that the government didn’t seem to take into account that the demand might be from opportunists rather than the kidnappers. It seemed like an obvious possibility to me.
I don’t have a lot more to say. It’s a procedural and thriller that I enjoyed, but it isn’t at the top of its game. There’s some good tension and pacing, and an interesting milieu. I would enjoy reading more of Afton’s adventures.
Book provided free by publisher for review
Expected publication date: July 5, 2016