The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel Title:  The Forgotten Girls

Author:  Sara Blaedel
Release Date:  February 3, 2015
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Source:  ARC received via a Goodreads First Reads giveaway

In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. 

After four days, Louise Rick – the new commander of the Missing Persons Department – is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. 

Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a “forgotten girl.” But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago. As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed – and hidden – n the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed. (Goodreads)

My Review:

The Forgotten Girls is actually the 7th book in the Louise Rick/Camilla Lind series, but it totally works as a stand-alone. The author does a great job of filling in enough of the story that I never felt lost or confused.

We first meet Louise on her way to an autopsy, during the second week of her new job as technical manager of the Special Search Agency. A new unit tasked with  investigating unsolved missing person reports, she seems to have accepted the position rather impulsively. Getting new units off the ground can be tricky, as well as risky to your career, so Louise has a lot to prove.

Louise meets her new partner when she has to pick him up at a bar, sleeping off a hangover, after he was a no-show at the autopsy. Not a great first impression, especially since she was promised that she could handpick her new partner.

Because things started off on the wrong foot, Louise doesn’t have a very good opinion of Eik, her new partner. I wish that the author had kept the adversarial relationship between them, as I would have found that more interesting.

Having the two of them suddenly become close rang false and seemed a bit cliched to me. Especially since it seems that she left her last position because of a failed relationship with a colleague. You’d think she’d be extra-careful, given that she’s trying to get a new department off the ground and prove herself to a new boss.

The case itself was interesting and the fact that it was translated didn’t hurt the story in any way. The only thing that reminded me that this didn’t take place in the US were the town and character names. Made it easy to keep everyone straight, but I didn’t feel that anything was lost in translation.

Louise learns about the so-called forgotten children and it’s heartbreaking. And once she learns about the dead woman’s life, things become even more heartbreaking. Learning about Lisemette and her past was my favorite part!

Then there’s the ending, where the author lost me. There are so many ways that the author could have ended this story and I wasn’t really happy with the direction she choose. It seemed a little gratuitous and unnecessary to me, and didn’t seem to fit the rest of the story. Another false note.

Aside from Louise’s about-face concerning her partner and the unnecessary incident at the end, this was an interesting story. I enjoyed learning about the forgotten children and was glad that Lisemette’s identity was found. Overall, a decent story with an interesting plot.

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