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Louisa Luna amps up the fear with the first line of her lightning-charged new thriller, Two Girls Down. The hackles on my back went up as I read, "Jamie Brandt wasn’t a bad mother." Oh no—not a bad mother and what happened? Being a good mother is all about second chances but with one wrong move, the possibility of a second chance can be destroyed forever. During the five minutes it takes Jamie to dash into a Kmart, her two young daughters disappear. Jamie has broken one of the cardinal rules of motherhood by leaving her girls alone in a car and now she’ll have to pay with a lifetime of pain and regret.
Can no one help her? The local cops in her small Pennsylvania town are understaffed, overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic, and incapable of finding "their asshole with a mirror and a flashlight." Extraordinary and necessary action comes in the form of a bounty hunter from California. From the moment Alice Vega enters the scene, everything—the pace of the hunt, the emotions of the family, the thrills and the chills for the reader, the fear and the danger for everyone—gets ramped up to a higher, and then even higher notch, and the race never lets up until the very last page. Two Girls Down is a thriller set at warp speed. Every minute of it will get your heart pumping, your mind careening, and your legs twitching, ready to join in the action.
Vega is tough, young enough to remember what it felt like to be a lost girl (and as we learn, once she was a very lost girl) and old enough to know the only way out is to fight hard, and to fight smart. Almost mythical in her ability to exist on little food and even less sleep, Vega also has an uncanny sense of what bad guys do and where they go to hide. Whether looking for a "skip" (someone who has jumped bail) or a missing child, Vega’s tuned in and focused, intent on her quarry and relentless in her pursuit. Trained in meditation, she uses it not to find inner calm but to find the bad guy. For Vega, "there was never peace when she closed her eyes. There was always, always a fight."
Vega is no loner. She knows she needs help to stalk and capture her prey. A tech whiz who goes by the name of OMGBastard does her online hacking and on the ground, Vega calls in the help of a local ex-cop who left the force under an undeserved cloud of misconduct and failure. Max Caplan and Vega are a good team but they both know time is running out. They follow up every lead, every hint, every possibility—and the hunt becomes deeply personal for both. With enough twists to keep every reader guessing until the very end, and more heart-stopping moments than the scariest roller coaster, Two Girls Down will keep you up and amped, emotionally invested and physically bound to the fate of the two sisters and their mother. After all, Jamie is not a bad mother—and with Vega and Caplan’s help, she might be lucky enough to get a second chance at being a good one.
As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The Killing, Two Girls Down is a bold new thriller from a writer of immense talent and verve.
When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.
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