Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Book Review: THE OTHER GIRL by Erica Spindler

Author: Erica Spindler
St Martin's Press
August 2017
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2

Book Description:

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from Jasper, just south of Hammond, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to leave the girl she used to be behind and earn respect in her position as an officer.

However, when Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the gruesomeness of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about a terrible night from her long-buried past. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop, and not just any cop—Clint Wheeler, the cop who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda. 15 years ago.
And when her fingerprints turn up at the scene of the first murder, Miranda once again finds herself under the microscope, her honesty and integrity doubted, her motivations questioned. Alone again, the trust of her colleagues shattered, Miranda must try to trust the instincts she’s pushed down for so long, and decide what’s right—before it’s too late.

My musings:

The Other Girl was my first book by Erica Spindler, and its premise really intrigued me – I am always eager to discover a new appealing detective protagonist. Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is certainly a character with an interesting back-story. When she and her partner Jake are sent to investigate the brutal murder of a local college professor, she is convinced that the crime is connected to an incident in her teens which has haunted her for years. The problem with having been a wild teenager who was generally known in town for running off the rails and telling lies is that at the time nobody believed her, and her claims were dismissed as just another story she told to get herself out of trouble. Miranda had not expected, however, that she would still have difficulties convincing people of her suspicions – even her boss, who she has always had the utmost respect for, is hesitant to take her seriously. When the body count mounts, Miranda knows that she has to take matters into her own hands...

Told alternately from the perspective of Miranda’s life today and offering flash-backs from the past, the reader slowly discovers the full extent of Miranda’s trauma. I really felt for this young woman, who has worked so hard to leave her past and reputation behind, only to find that it has suddenly caught up with her again. Worse still, nobody is willing to believe her, and she feels as if her hands are tied. Spindler is achieving a good balance in offering just the right amount of flashbacks to reveal the background story without slowing down the main storyline, and I found both the teenage as well as the adult character of Miranda sympathetic and engaging. Small town politics are well depicted, highlighting the difficulty of ever being able to escape your past, no matter how many years may have passed by.

I liked Spindler’s writing style, and  the book grabbed me instantly, holding my interest. My only gripe is that whilst it held a few unexpected surprises, I felt that some events towards the end were a bit predictable and Miranda veered a bit too much into the “misunderstood detective” territory, her actions questionable at times. However, even though I may have hoped for a twist to prove me wrong, the book turned out to be an enjoyable, quick read – perfect entertainment for a cold and wet day. I look forward to reading more books from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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