When Bookouture offered Rita Herron’s Silent Dolls for a review I grabbed it. As I read, it brought back to me a fantastic book I read last year – Lovely Little Things by Maureen Joyce Conolly.
The Silent Dolls
Silent tears trickle down her cheeks as she curls inside the tiny cave-like space. She lies on her side, darkness all around her, rubbing her fingers over the little wooden doll he’d carved. He told her to be quiet, not to cry or scream. Not to be a baby. Her throat was raw, her eyes swollen shut. She wanted her mommy and daddy. She wanted to go home.
When Penny Matthews, a seven-year-old girl with blonde curls and a gap-toothed smile, goes missing in the Appalachian mountains, Detective Ellie Reeves is called straight to the scene. According to Penny’s parents, their daughter vanished after a picnic by the creek. All that’s left behind is a pink friendship bracelet etched with “Penny”.
Ellie knows all too well that the mountains’ endless miles of dark forest and winding rivers are the perfect place for a criminal to hide. Racing against the rapidly setting sun and a brutal winter storm on the horizon, she searches desperately for Penny.
Special Agent Derrick Fox is determined to join the hunt. His younger sister, Kim, disappeared in the same area twenty-five years ago––on the day he was meant to be watching her. He’s certain the cases are linked and that over a dozen girls have vanished in the last decade. Ellie refuses to believe that their tight-knit mountain community could be home to a deadly criminal, but even she can’t deny the similarities in the cases. And when they discover the remains of a small body buried with a carved wooden doll, it’s clear they’re up against a deadly serial killer preying on innocent little girls.
As the temperature plunges, Penny’s life hangs in the balance. Most people who get lost in the woods never make it out alive. Can Ellie and Derrick defy the odds and find out the truth about all the stolen girls? Or will the mountain, and its twisted killer, claim another victim?
When 7 year old Penny Matthews goes missing the Appalachian mountains during a family picnic, there are many suspects. Detective Ellie Reeves is put on the job.
Soon Special Agent Derrick Fox arrives on the scene, because he has a special interest in this case, believing it is connect to the disappearance of his sister in the same area and in a similar way 25 years ago.
Ellie and Derrick work together with Ellie’s father, Randall and Cord – both of who have an expert knowledge of the dangerous terrain.
In a desperate race against time, given the falling temperatures, they discover the remains of a small child. Then another. And each time there’s a silent doll with the remains. They realize that this is the work of a serial killer!
Then another little girl goes missing! And all hell breaks loose, as this becomes very personal for Ellie.
The story is told from various perspectives – of the detectives, the kidnapped girls, even the killer himself/herself (I can’t give the gender away, can I? 🙂 )
Both Ellie and Derrick’s characters are strong – with each of them having faced childhood trauma. This case is really close to home for both of them and how they push past their fears and vulnerabilities to uncover the killer makes a fascinating, dark and heartbreaking story.
I would certainly recommend Silent Dolls and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. But she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a teacher instead. Now she writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
With over ninety books to her credit, she’s penned romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and YA novels, but she especially likes writing dark romantic suspense and crime fiction set in small southern towns.
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I received a ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.