cover image Two Girls Down

Two Girls Down

Louisa Luna. Doubleday, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-54249-4

Best known as a YA author, Luna (Crooked) ventures into adult thriller territory with a real nail-biter. Single mother Jamie Brandt parks in a shopping center in Denville, Pa., leaving her two daughters—10-year-old Kylie and eight-year-old Bailey—in the car while she goes into a Kmart to buy a birthday present. When she returns to the car, the children have disappeared. The devastated Jamie’s take-charge aunt, Maggie Shambley, asks California bounty hunter Alice Vega to locate the girls. The complicated, blunt-talking Alice, who may be on the autism spectrum, has an uncanny knack for finding people. When the Denville police chief rejects Alice’s help, despite being besieged by budget cuts, low morale, and a rising oxycodone and meth epidemic, she teams up with Max Caplan, a disgraced former cop turned PI who knows the local area. Luna nicely charts how the aloof Alice comes to embrace a personal relationship. The brisk plot combines psychological suspense with solid action, while providing a realistic look at a family under siege, as it builds to a shocking finale. Agent: Mark Falkin, Falkin Literary. (Jan.)