Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad (audio)

Title: The Names of Dead Girls
Author: Eric Rickstad
Series: Canaan Crime, #3
Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer
Published: September 2017, Harper Audio / William Morrow Paperbacks
Length: 9 hours 11 minutes / 434 pages
Source:  Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Print - ARC Paperback via William Morrow Paperbacks

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eric Rickstad delivers the electrifying sequel to The Silent Girls, and features once again detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a depraved killer through rural Vermont.

Every murder tells a story. Some stories never end . . .

In a remote northern Vermont town, college student Rachel Rath is being watched. She can feel the stranger’s eyes on her, relentless and possessive. And she’s sure the man watching her is the same man who killed her mother and father years ago: Ned Preacher, a serial rapist and murderer who gamed the system to get a light sentence. Now, he’s free.

Detective Frank Rath adopted Rachel, his niece, after the shocking murder of her parents when she was a baby. Ever since, Rath’s tried to protect her from the true story of her parents’ deaths. But now Preacher is calling Rath to torment him. He’s threatening Rachel and plotting cruelties for her, of the flesh and of the mind. When other girls are found brutally murdered, and a woman goes missing, Rath and Detective Sonja Test must untangle the threads that tie these new crimes and some long-ago nightmares together. Soon they will learn that the truth is more perverse than anyone could guess, rife with secrets, cruel desires, and warped, deadly loyalty.

Mesmerizing, startling, and intricately plotted, The Names of Dead Girls builds relentlessly on its spellbinding premise, luring readers into its dark and macabre mystery, right to its shocking end.

My thoughts: This is the second book I've read by Eric Rickstad and the third book in what is now being called the Canaan Crime series and while I didn't read the first book, Lie in Wait, I will be doing so soon! But from what I understand, it's not as connected as books 2 and 3, the two books I've just devoured...yes DEVOURED!!! These books are addictive thrillers that kept me totally captivated from start to finish.

But before I go any further with my review of The Names of Dead Girls...I highly suggest if you have any plans of reading The Silent that one first. First, this latest book picks up almost immediately where the prior book leaves off and second, it contains some spoilers about the prior book. So considered yourself warned.

This latest book in this series takes off with a bang. It's every bit as twisted, haunting and dark as the one before and kept me completely hooked from start to finish! What I find so appealing about these books is the writing - between the short chapters that just beg you to keep going, to the writing itself that is both chilling and gritty, to the use of the atmosphere - this time the fog that sets in around the small town of Vermont, adding that sense of gloom and doom. It just amps up an already tense and suspenseful situation.

What I loved about this installment is that we see a little more of Rachel, Frank Rath's daughter. She is quite central to this story, rather than a side character as she was in the previous book. She's a college student and has the feeling she's being watched. She's also determined to find out exactly what happened to her parents - now that she knows the story Rath has been telling her her whole life is just that - a story. 

There's also a bit of character development that happens in this installment and I'm curious to see how this plays out moving forward. For Frank, he's been reinstated as Senior Detective as the police, much to his dismay. I loved his argument with the chief for not taking the position at first - he doesn't like structure, he like's working in his pajamas if he see's fit and he doesn't like paperwork. I don't necessarily disagree with him on any of these points! For Detective Sonja Test, we see a lot more of her and her family, and there might be some changes in her life - either professionally or personally, so I'm eager to see where that goes.

What makes this book such an exciting read is that there is a mix of old crimes and new, and they seem to be intertwined. A serial killer is on the loose and there is a stalker hanging about, focusing their energy on Rachel...are they one and the same or are there two separate entities at work here? This book kept me on my toes, trying to put the pieces together and boy oh boy was I in for a shock when I got to the end!

There are quite a few twists and turns and yet, while we do get the answers to most of the questions, not everything is resolved. Hopefully these will be solved in the next book, or somewhere down the line in this series, right? All I can say for sure, is that I am loving these books, and I cannot wait for the next one to come out. In the meantime, I will be picking up the first one, which focuses primarily on Detective Sonja Test...and I cannot wait to get to that one. Have you picked these books up yet? Be warned...they are highly addictive and fast-paced, and oh-so good!!!


Audio thoughts: Jeffrey Kafer is a new-to-me narrator and I thought he did a good job with this audio production. His pacing and tone were spot on and he did a good job of adding just the right amount of tension and suspense to his voice as needed. 

While this wasn't the same narrator as the previous book, I'm ok with that. I'm not sure what to expect with the next book in the series...and I know that the first book, which focuses mainly on Detective Sonja Test, is narrated by a female. So, having different narrators for this series just seems to be what it is for this series. Could this book and the previous book have had the same narrator, since a big part of both these books focus on Frank Rath, sure...but for whatever reason, the powers that be, switched narrators. Oh well!

Books in this series:
  1. Lie in Wait
  2. The Silent Girls
  3. The Names of Dead Girls
  4. ???


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