LAST GIRLS ALIVE
Amazon → https://amzn.to/3nQSoAe
“Hurry,” Candace whispered urgently as she disappeared down the wooden staircase and into the pitch-black basement.
The padlock Candace had picked open swung precariously from the latch, ready to drop and awake the rest of the sleeping house. This was a bad idea.
“C’mon,” urged Candace from somewhere down in the abyss. “Hurry up!”
They were going to get caught.
The consequences would be merciless.
weight on the wooden landing,
Hands fisted at her sides in fear, she frantically blinked her eyes, straining to see through the darkness—to the unknown. It left her powerless. There had been no time to find a flashlight, but it would only capture unwanted attention anyway.
A hand grabbed her arm.
“C’mon, we’ve got to go now.”
The girls moved as fast as they dared through the maze beneath the old house.
They stopped abruptly at a storm door, the only thing standing between them and freedom. Panting in the darkness, a creak from upstairs lifted both their heads in fear—someone was awake.
Candace lunged forward and grabbed the large bolt locking the door with both hands and pulled. It gave way with a loud clunking sound, and she pushed the bulky door open to reveal the half-moon outside.
Cool air whipped
inside, wrapping itself around
With the moon behind her, and with her arms outstretched in joy, Candace resembled an angel in her white cotton nightgown, her dark hair blowing all around her. “C’mon,” she urged again.
They would never stop searching for them—ever.
She and Candace knew too much about what went on at Elm Hill.
How would they survive without any money?
She realized that she just couldn’t do it—not now, not like this. She would soon be eighteen and then things would be different—the home would no longer be her prison. She would be legally free. No one would care anymore.
“What are you waiting for? This is our chance.”
“I can’t… I
can’t do it. It’s just another year,” said
“No, we’re doing this together. We have each other,” said Candace adamantly, shaking her head. “I’m not going to leave you here. We escape together.”
“You have to go. You can’t stay…”
Candace ran to the side of the house and retrieved a duffel bag, which had been carefully packed and stashed for their escape. Unzipping the top, she pulled on a pair of jeans and slipped on a pink sweater. It was her favorite color, always matched to her nail polish.
“Yes, hurry. I
can help misdirect the she-beast and the cops. You’ll be safe.”
“I will come back for you.” Candace’s voice faltered. It was clear she wanted to stay, but as she looked to the south she saw Ray waiting; that was all she needed to push forward.
Tears welled up
I love you and I’ll be back.
Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction
author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor
degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology &
criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity
about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a
violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in
every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial
crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the
International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the
International Thriller Writers.
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A Solid Crime Thriller That Keeps You Guessing
The body of a young girl is discovered on the grounds of Elm Hill Manor, a former group home for girls. Katie Scott, a detective working for the Pine Valley Sheriff’s Department, is called to investigate. She’s been working on the cold case of a runaway from that facility and suspects that the murder victim might be Candace Harlan. Although there is decomposition, the physical appearance is a match and consistent with what is known -- consistent except for the words someone carved in her back. While Scott hoped this discovery would bring closure to case involving the disappearance of the troubled teen, it’s not long before she realizes it’s only the beginning.
A taut, well-thought out suspense/crime thriller, Jennifer Chase delivers. Ms. Chase is an author I’ve read and enjoyed before, so I was very much anticipating the next entry in the Detective Katie Scott series. I’m happy to report that this one lived up to expectations! The writing is crisp with just enough descriptions to keep us interested, and the pacing? The pacing might be described as deadly! The plot line is complex and peppered with twists to keep us guessing and engaged. It makes for a thoroughly entertaining package ... one that keeps us up and reading late into night so keep that cup of tea handy!
The protagonist, Katie Scott, is a standout. While stories sometimes revolve around an unlikable anti-hero, it’s refreshing to encounter one opposite in temperament. It allows us to be on board and openly root for the good guy—or stellar woman—to win. Such is the case with Detective Scott. She’s such a sympathetic character—one that has been toughened by tours of duty in Afghanistan. But that which strengthened her, also took its toll. The stint in the army left her with PTSD, a condition she battles every day in trying to reclaim her life. It’s this personal war she fights that helps us bond with her, and understand the depth of commitment she makes in performing her duties. These insights into what she’s going through help flesh out her character and make her more than vulnerable ... more human as does her relationship with her furry buddy, Cisco. Cisco is a German shepherd that has her back. And since I’m a mystery and animal lover, the addition of Cisco in her adventures really adds to these stories and makes them that much more appealing.
There are other characters found in the detective’s world—like her partner, Deputy Sean McGaven. McGaven is a perfect complement to her hard-nosed approach to investigation. He’s often the voice of reason when intuition and gut feelings push the feisty detective to take more chances than is departmentally approved. Scott’s boyfriend is another. Chad, rounds out the personal side of her life. He’s dutifully supportive and aims to please. He’s a safe place to fall, the same as Cisco, but without the four legs and bushy tail.
Overall, the book is an excellent read and one you’ll devour. The writing sharp, the story is intricate in design and crafted to please those homicidal leanings. Most importantly, the ending is a surprise. I had no idea who the bad guy was even though the clues are there for us to piece together and solve. So whether you choose to race through the pages, or mete out the pleasure by restricting yourself to a finite number of chapters per night, it’s all good and makes for a thrilling time. And because of all of the above, I’m giving this five stars and recommending it for you to try! Congrats to Ms. Chase for giving us another exciting spine-tingling adventure to savor.