cover image The Lost Girls

The Lost Girls

Jessica Chiarella. Putnam, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-19109-5

For more than 20 years, Marti Reese, the narrator of this outstanding psychological thriller from Chiarella (And Again), has obsessively searched for her sister, Maggie, who disappeared from near their suburban Chicago home. Before getting into a strange car, teenage Maggie told Marti, then eight years old, to run. Marti’s all-consuming quest has ruined her marriage and estranged her from her parents, but her true crime podcast documenting her search wins her awards and puts Maggie’s case back in the news. It also catches the attention of ER doctor Ava Vreeland, who approaches Marti about doing a podcast involving her younger brother, Colin McCarty, who was convicted seven years earlier for killing his girlfriend, Sarah Ketchum. Marti has no interest in trying to prove Colin’s innocence, but she is interested in telling Sarah’s story, which has many similarities to Maggie’s. Marti and Ava quickly bond, united by how they were changed by girls close to them who went missing. Surprising twists accent this poignant story about two women, each with a single-minded goal. Chiarella is a writer to watch. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (July)