Publisher: William Morrow
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eric Rickstad delivers another Canaan Crime novel and features once again detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a depraved killer through rural Vermont.
Every murder tells a story. Some stories never end . . .
In a remote northern Vermont town, college student Rachel Rath is being watched. She can feel the stranger’s eyes on her, relentless and possessive. And she’s sure the man watching her is the same man who killed her mother and father years ago: Ned Preacher, a serial rapist and murderer who gamed the system to get a light sentence. Now, he’s free.
Detective Frank Rath adopted Rachel, his niece, after the shocking murder of her parents when she was a baby. Ever since, Rath’s tried to protect her from the true story of her parents’ deaths. But now Preacher is calling Rath to torment him. He’s threatening Rachel and plotting cruelties for her, of the flesh and of the mind. When other girls are found brutally murdered, and a woman goes missing, Rath and Detective Sonja Test must untangle the threads that tie these new crimes and some long-ago nightmares together. Soon they will learn that the truth is more perverse than anyone could guess, rife with secrets, cruel desires, and warped, deadly loyalty.
Mesmerizing, startling, and intricately plotted, The Names of Dead Girls builds relentlessly on its spellbinding premise, luring readers into its dark and macabre mystery, right to its shocking end.
Last month I read the first book in this series, The Silent Girls and really enjoyed it so I’ve been looking forward to The Names of Dead Girls and was really excited to start it. If you haven’t read the first book, here’s your warning to stop reading now because there will be some mild spoilers for the first book.
Things pick up almost immediately where they ended in the last book, Rath is on edge knowing that Preacher is out of prison and taunting him with phone calls and veiled threats. His daughter, Rachel is also on high alert as she keeps getting the feeling that she’s being watched. Rickstad wrote the scenes where Rachel’s being observed in such a chilling manner, I could feel her fear and panic and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
The characterization in this installment is solid as you learn even more about Rath’s past and also more about his relationship with Rachel. Sonja is also back and her family life plays a role in this story, I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens to her both personally and professionally in the future. I will say that though you could read this as a standalone I wouldn’t recommend it. There are many characters from the first book back again in this one and you would be missing out on some pertinent background information. Plus, it was a really great read.
Rickstad’s writing style is super dark, gritty and disturbing and the atmosphere plays a huge role again. The small Vermont town where this is set is stark and this time its shrouded in fog which added a sense of gloom and doom to a story already full of despair. There is a very strong sense of underlying dread and evil lurking throughout and the tension builds at a steady pace making this a true page turner. I liked this book even more than the first one and am very eager to see what happens next.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.