cover image The Forgotten Girls

The Forgotten Girls

Owen Laukkanen. Putnam, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-17455-1

In Laukkanen’s exciting sixth novel featuring Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension violent-crimes task force in Minnesota (after 2016’s The Watcher in the Wall), the pair investigate the murder of Ash, a runaway of about 20, whose body was found in a snowdrift by railroad tracks in Boundary County, Idaho. She was evidently strangled while riding the High Line freight train that runs through the Northern Rocky Mountains. Though the police paid little attention to her death, Ash had a devoted friend—another train hopper, Mila Scott. When Mila learns that some sort of “ghost rider” has been preying on young women along the High Line, she refuses to rest until she has avenged Ash. Laukkanen is at his best in describing Mila’s grueling travels through the frigid Northwest in pursuit of the killer. While the concluding manhunt isn’t as gripping as the sections in which Mila stars, the interplay between Stevens and Windermere as they race to save Mila is expertly handled. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Mar.)