Title: The Other Girl
Author: Erica Spindler
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Date of publication: August 22nd 2017
Format: Digital Review Copy
Number of pages: 256
A horrific crime. One witness—a fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?
Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.
When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.
Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.
I postponed reading The Other Girl a couple of times. An unexpected review request with a tight deadline, a family gathering. And weirdly I felt I would not find what I was looking for in this story. Sometimes you just get a feeling from a book and you can’t explain it.
I should know better than randomly deciding on a book’s fate! In my defense, I must admit the cover did nothing to make me change my mind. I found the colorful title too contrasting with the picture, and I usually don’t like faces appearing. But when I browsed my Kindle for a new read, I heard the title call me.
The Other Girl. So many meanings behind this title. I chose not to read the synopsis again before opening the file. I had a hundred ideas of what to expect, and I am happy to say the book crushed them all and offered me an amazing story that surprised me on every level!
Miranda is a trusted, strong, and integrated member of the police force in Harmony. But long ago, in another town, things were much more complicated and the young girl she was found herself on the wrong side of the interrogation table. But with an iron-will and lots of work, she managed to find her way back to the right side of the road. Miranda is a character I came to admire very early on. Her history spurred her to cut all ties and become someone new. I know that feeling. But I also know it can come bite you in the bottom. Because Miranda was never a bad girl. Just an innocent teenager experimenting and trying to live. But as an adult, she carries a burden that her muscular shoulders are tired to drag along.
When her past came back to haunt her, I was mesmerized. The perfectly timed and weaved plot leaves nothing to chance and Miranda’s life is shattered by everything she thought she had left behind. How many good actions, how much time does it take for a mistake, for a night when all went wrong, to find peace? Apparently, never. Despite her best efforts and intentions, all that she thought she had created suddenly doesn’t feel tangible, doesn’t seem real, and she is forced to find strength at the very core of herself to put an end to a story that should have been buried a lifetime ago.
Around the 50% mark, my mind had a crazy idea. And you know what? It turns out I was right!! But knowing, or rather, having a gut feeling about who was behind the case never hampered my enjoyment of the story. The well-balanced writing style combined with a solid need to care for Miranda made sure I finished The Other Girl in one sitting! I was always on the fence about who to trust and what had happened a dark night fourteen years ago. Finding a story that can ratchet up tension while playing on the past/present narration is my favorite thing, and believe me, this one masterfully toys with you!
I truthfully cannot say what I liked the most: the characters or the investigation. My only niggle was the slight touch of romance thrown in, which I understood the need of but felt was not entirely necessary. But that’s just the non-romantic me talking!
The Other Girl is an unputdownable story delivering on an intricate and skillfully narrated plot.
I would like to thank St Martin’s Press for inviting me to read and review this book.
The Other Girl gets released on August 22nd, don’t forget!
Erica loves meeting and interacting with her fans, both in person and online. She has a wicked sense of humor, an optimistic spirit and loves coffee, chocolate and red wine, not necessarily in that order.
In 2002 her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a four-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.
Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.