Monday, September 7, 2020

The Innocent Girls - by B.R. Spangler

©B.R. Spangler
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Books-on-Tour Review*

It has been my absolute pleasure to read and review "The Innocent Girls" by B.R. Spangler! This second installment in the Detective Casey White series was absolutely phenomenal. Luckily I was able to read these two, for the first time, back-to-back, devouring the sequel in practically one sitting!

Set not long after book one, "Where Lost Girls Go," book two picks right up with Detective Casey White and team on a double murder case and possible child abduction in North Carolina's Outer Banks! Soon after, there's a discovery of another body and a missing child. As the bodies pile up, there's something that just doesn't quite add up; this murderer is set on carving into and killing the parents but never touches the children. Aside from the symbols etched into the parent's dead bodies, the only clue Detective Casey and the team have to go off of are the heavily coveted invitations that the teen girls received before going on vacation. Is there any relevance? What are these symbols? You'll have to read it to find out!

I was quite thrilled to discover that "The Innocent Girls" followed the same writing style as "Where Lost Girls Go." There were short to mid-length sized chapters mostly told from Casey's first-person perspective, the additional snippets from key characters here, and there was quite the added bonus. I rather enjoyed the hunt, the race to figure out the clues—especially the symbolism and the cult-like vibes from the mysterious church. I had a few of my own idea along the way, usually following closely with the team's theories. Let's not forget the chemistry between Detective Casey and Marine Control's Jericho Flynn! While not as central to the story this time around, Jericho's interactions with Casey fit perfectly within their relationship progression and Casey's advancements within the department. I have to say, the conclusion was quite the surprise, not necessarily the perp, but rather the actual events. I'm anxiously looking forward to a possible book three!

I would recommend this one to crime thriller and police procedural enthusiasts everywhere! B.R. Spangler has quickly made his way into my private selection of auto-buy authors, and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next! My heart goes out to Casey and her journey to discover what happened to her own daughter, taken from her some fourteen years ago. While her daughter's case and history are mentioned throughout this book, I feel that it's important to state this can be read as a standalone. There's enough main story and inferred history within the text to keep the reader frantically turning the page!

Thank you to @NetGalley, the publishers at @Bookouture, their PR and Social Media Manager @author_noelleholten (@nholten40), and the author @BR_Spangler for providing me with a complimentary copy of this title. I have voluntarily and honestly reviewed this title, rating it 5 stars. It has been an absolute pleasure taking part in this Books-on-Tour event! 

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Book Blurb:
Detective Casey White book 2

Tears stream down her face as she feels the cold blade press against her neck. The sweet scent of her daughter’s favorite strawberry pancakes all around, her last thought is for her beautiful girl. Please, please let Lisa have escaped.

When Detective Casey White is called early one morning to a beachside vacation campsite in the Outer Banks, she finds the bodies of Carl and Peggy Pearson side-by-side, their throats cut, and their thirteen-year-old daughter Lisa nowhere to be found. Haunted by memories of her own missing girl, Casey fears this could soon become a triple murder: because without the medication found in the bathroom cabinet, Lisa has just days to live.

As her team struggles to untangle the meaning of the cryptic symbol carved into the victims’ skin, Casey searches the area for signs of Lisa: and is rewarded when she finds her blistered and barefoot, staggering along the highway. The girl barely has breath left to whisper ‘he invited me’ before blacking out.

Days later, another couple is found murdered on a vacation yacht. A different symbol is etched on their bodies, and their teenage daughter is also missing. Casey’s only clue is an unsettling ‘invitation’ found on the girl’s phone, to a secluded building out in the cornfields.

Desperate to uncover who is luring these innocent families to their deaths, and certain forensics have missed something vital, Casey matches up the crime scene photos herself. The symbols combine to form an upcoming date. The killer is taunting them with the timing of the next murder.

Racing to follow the invitation in time, when Casey arrives, she is shocked to glimpse not the missing girls from this case, but her own missing daughter…

About the author, B.R. Spangler:
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B.R. Spangler here. I'm a resident of Virginia, along with my family, five cats, two birds, a hamster, and a lizard. During the day, I work as an engineer and spend my off-hours writing, editing, and thinking up the next great story.

I split my time across pen names, writing crime thrillers, science fiction, horrors, paranormal and contemporary fiction.

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