The Hunted Girls by Jenna Kernan

I was drawn to this book by the haunting and original title and cover. I was keen to find out who the hunted girls were, and of course who was hunting them. It’s only when I started reading the book I realised that I had read the previous book in the series and loved it!

Blurb:

Stumbling through the pitch-black forest, twigs scratching her bare feet, she sobs as she imagines her children crying for their mommy. By now everyone will know she is missing. Please, please let me find the way home. Before he comes back.

As Agent Nadine Finch rushes to investigate the murder of newlywed Nikki Darnell in Ocala National Forest, Florida, fear floods her body. She swore she’d never set foot there again, not since the case fifteen years ago which tore her life apart. But taking in the triangular cuts scarring Nikki’s perfect pale skin, she knows she must put her own traumatic past aside to find justice for Nikki and her inconsolable husband.

Discovering water in Nikki’s lungs, and certain the triangular wounds were made by arrowheads, Nadine must convince her team of her terrifying theory: that Nikki was hunted down and drowned before being left for them to find. But what monster would do such a thing? And why? Then another woman, a mother of two, is discovered in the woods, tell-tale arrow marks all over her body.

Recognizing her as a local waitress, Nadine has just traced the arrow heads to an outdoors store when her own partner disappears and she receives a chilling note: “Three little birds. So pretty in their cages. I caught them all for you.”

Now the rules of this twisted game are terrifyingly clear. A killer obsessed with the case in Nadine’s past is closing in, targeting a stranger; then an acquaintance; then someone close to her. Will she need to sacrifice herself to save one of her own? And can she stop this deadly hunter before more innocent lives are taken?

Jaw-dropping, packed with twists and turns, and impossible to put down until you reach the final page. Fans of Robert Dugoni, Lisa Gardner and Rachel Caine will be totally addicted to The Hunted Girls.

My thoughts:

The opening of the book describes the killing without giving away any details on who the killer is. Despite being clearly dark and gruesome, I found this completely compelling and intriguing.

I liked the character of Nadine. She is clearly complex, intelligent and hard working. I did find it a little strange that she talked a lot about her family history of killing so much, when she had tried so hard to move away from that and make a life and career for herself in forensic psychology. Though, I suppose it is also a career where you are faced with death and killing on a almost daily basis, and it is ingrained in you to ask questions and wonder about people’s life choices.

Call me sick, but I loved the graphic insight into the crime scenez as it really made me feel more involved in the story. I was able to visualise certain things and make assumptions or guess about the killer. I also find it fascinating what we can learn and figure out from a dead body.

This is definitely a page turner and I enjoyed the balance of seeing the way Nadine faced challenges in both her private and professional life.

I would recommend this book to fans of A A Chaudhuri and Keri Beevis.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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