Book Reviews

Book Review: Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Girls Like Us by Cristina AlgerGirls Like Us by Cristina Alger
Published on July 2, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

From the celebrated and bestselling author of The Banker’s Wife, worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in twelve years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.

When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young Hispanic women in Suffolk County.

The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect–and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother’s murder–and her own role in exonerating her father in that case–Nell can’t help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Ariana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds–not just about those she loves, but about herself.

Martin Flynn dies during a late-night motorcycle accident while traversing the dark roads of Suffolk County. To put his affairs in order, his daughter, Nell Flynn, a behavioral analyst from the FBI, returns to her old stomping grounds.

Nell’s task is meant to be a simple one. Disperse her father’s ashes, attend to his will, and decide what to do with his house. Then the body of a young woman is found in an affluent, and Nell is invited to be a consultant on the case by her father’s old partner at the SCPD, Det. Lee Davis.

Girls Like Us veers into FBI procedural territory. It is Alger’s richly descriptive prose and intricate plotting that elevates this novel to a compelling crime thriller.

There is no confirmation that this novel is anything but a standalone; however, in my opinion, it is an excellent foundation story to set up a series, one I would fully support.

Flynn is one of the better-developed characters in the novel. She is sharp, grounded, confident (sometimes to the point of recklessness), and she carries the trademark darkness all the best fictional detectives have. Girls Like Us did what it set out to do in wrapping up its central plot, but it doesn’t quite wrap Nell’s story up.

I don’t mean to say the ending isn’t suitable to the book, it contains a poetic and fitting epilogue, but I did feel like Nell’s narrative arc was left somewhat unresolved.

Regardless of whether or not this was a deliberate action, I hope Alger considers revisiting Nell’s story. She has proven herself as a talented crime writer, a task not easy to accomplish. She has also gifted us with a realistic female detective. It’d be a shame if this outing served as her last.

Should you read Girls Like Us?

I haven’t read Alger’s other novel, The Banker’s Wife (I bought it a while ago, and it sits high on my TBR list), so I can’t compare it to that novel. But I enjoyed Girls Like Us quite a bit. I certainly intend to read The Banker’s Wife when I get the chance.

Girls Like Us hides conspiracy and intrigue under the guise of a typical killing spree. There are many mysteries to be solved across the novel’s 300-something page count, Alger tends to each like a flower in bloom, cultivating each phrase with careful, affectional precision.

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