Like a detective determined to crack a cold case, I am compelled to uncover family secrets and unearth family skeletons. I am energized by endless hours patiently paging through aged records, and I revel in the thrill of finding a clue or solving a genealogical puzzle. So, is it any wonder why I enjoy suspense/mystery novels?
Cristina Alger’s psychological suspense novel, Girls Like Us, opens on a somber note. FBI Agent Nell Flynn has come home to Suffolk County, New York to lay her father Homicide Detective Martin Flynn to rest. Because Nell and her father were estranged, Nell feels semi-detached as her father’s ashes catch the breeze of the Orient Shoal in the Long Island Sound.
For Nell, Suffolk County holds only heartache. When Nell was seven-years-old, her mother Marisol was murdered. An only child, Nell had no one but her father to turn to in her grief. But Martin Flynn was a hard-to-love, loathe-to-comfort type of guy. As the years passed, the distance between father and daughter grew until Nell packed her bags and left for good. That is until Martin Flynn died in a motorcycle accident, and Nell must return to settle her father’s estate.
A few days is all Nell needs to get his affairs in order before she is able to leave Suffolk County and return to duty in D.C. However, just when she thinks that she can make a clean break, her father’s former partner, Detective Lee Davis, asks Nell for her insight into and assistance with the investigation of the murders of two local young women. Nell agrees halfheartedly, but the further she digs, the more she uncovers. Who were these women, why were they killed, who murdered them, and exactly how was her father involved?
From the first page to the last, Girls Like Us kept me guessing. Engrossing and emotional, this book engages not only the mind but also the heart. Nell is a likable character, so much so that I wanted to comfort her as she struggled to make peace with her father’s shortcomings, her mother’s murder, and her own guilt.