The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

The Forgotten Girls

Owen Laukkanen

Owen Laukkanen has a knack not only for terrific plot twists, but for his characters: heroes, villains... and the victims who decide it's time to fight back.

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They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.
She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.
            But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

Advance Galley Reviews

A cryptic and somewhat horrifying mystery comes to life in The Forgotten Girls. You won’t want to put this down.

When I picked up this book it was based on the cover and the description of the book and had, therefore, no idea that this was part of a series. That being said, it can easily be read as a stand-alone book. Wow, wow, wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. When I passed the 1/3 mark of the book and it was becoming clear who the murderer was, I caught myself thinking "how is the author going to make this book last that much longer" but that turned out to be no issue at all. It was a terrifying thrill ride with a murderer that remained uncaught despite numerous victims along the path of the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains. The storyline was great, the characters intriguing and this series, as well as other books by the author, will be added to my to-read list.

I am a cover buy and this cover says buy me. Wasn't bad, I'd like to read the other books in this series. 3.75/5

A good book with excellent plot line and beautiful characters.

I received this advanced copy from Penguin First to Read (sorry this review took so long to write out - I never got the notification that I received it!). I wasn't aware this was book six in a series, but it did read well as a stand-alone. Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere stumble upon a long forgotten case about a girl that was killed in the Northern Rocky Mountains and they end up uncovering a truly gruesome horror - there were in fact a string of murders on that same train, and all young women that wouldn't be missed. They uncover a serial killer (very loosely based on a real killer) and must find a way to catch him before he strikes again. I really enjoyed this book and the twists throughout the plot. I definitely will be looking for the other books in this series. 4/5 stars

Rating: 4 of 5 stars Penguin First to Read ARC. The sixth book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone without any problem. Loosely based on a real serial killer, this book takes you on a roller coaster ride. Will FBI agents Stevens & Windermere catch the killer before he kills again? Can Mila avenge her friend Ash's murder by finding the killer and survive? Society treats these women/girls as forgettable and unimportant, not working to solve their murders and most of the time blaming the victim. So most of the deaths are treated as accidents even though there are rumors of a "ghost killer" on the High Line. Will be reading the rest of the books in this series. Great read.

This book was enjoyable; it took me a while to get into it though. The plot twists caught me off gaurd and I really enjoyed it once I got into it. I would recommend this to anyone!

I received this book for free as part of Penguin's First to Read giveaway in exchange for my honest review of the book. I like crime novels and this one was no different. It wasn't a storyline that I've ever read before, it's starts with one dead woman along a northern railroad route and ends up being a string of dead women connected to a serial killer. The book involves the investigation and trying to track down this guy. Lots of twists and unexpected turns. I'd recommend this.

The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is the sixth entry in a series featuring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agent Kirk Stevens and FBI agent Carla Windermere. Stevens and Windermere are part of a joint BCA-FBI task force that investigates violent crimes. Though the book can be read as a stand alone, and it is still pretty good, readers are advised to grab the earlier books as it will help them to understand the characters better. For those who read the earlier books, this is as good as the previous ones. You will love it.

I received a free digital advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book describes the investigation of a joint state police and FBI criminal task force into the disappearance and death of women who are easily "forgotten" due to their transient lifestyle or low social status. The serial killer uses rail lines as his means of transportation and commits his crimes in the winter in cold northern climates, crossing jurisdictional lines. A strange technology glitch brings one of the crimes to the attention of Stevens & Windermere; they battle the weather in an attempt to bring the killer to justice. This book is book #6 in a series and I have not read the previous 5. It worked OK but the characterization of Stevens and Windermere was very light in this book. I probably would have felt more connected to them had I read the previous books. It was a good enough book that I probably will go back and read some of the earlier books in the series, although I was not compelled to go buy them and read them right away, as sometimes happens. I was a bit disappointed in the portrayal of the serial killer. I'm used to criminal profiling stories, where the investigators try to get into the head of the serial killer to try to figure out the driving forces in order to catch the killer. This one was more of an action-oriented book. Some things were revealed about the killer. He clearly had an issue with women, and they used this against him at the end to capture him. But what was the origin of the issue? I felt like I was missing a lot of back story.

The Forgotten Girls drew me in at first, but there were some parts that seemed to drag. That didn't, however, take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. I didn't realize this was part of series and thought it worked pretty well as a standalone. I'll be going back to check out the other books in the series.

Dedicated the victims of a serial killer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is a police procedural that starts with gruesome pictures on a phone and ends with the hunt for a serial killer. It follows the police chase both from the perspective of the detectives, the girls, and the killer - "the ghost rider." The book is a fiction with a reminder that these things sadly do also happen in real life. Read my complete review at Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.

I enjoyed The Forgotten Girls. This is the first in the series that I have read, but I look forward to going back and reading the others. From the stark and rugged environment to the thrill of the chase as Kirk and Carla hunt down the killer, Laukkanen keeps the reader's attention. There were a couple of passages that seemed a little drawn out, but just as you start to get that feeling the action picks up again. Thanks for the opportunity to get an advance read on this best seller!

I love a good mystery/thriller; this book was right up my alley. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was an easy, entertaining read. I did feel there was a lack of character development. However, I did not know the book was a part of a series as I was reading it. I have a feeling there's more character development in prior books on the two main characters, but it still would've been nice to see more development and background on some of the "forgotten girls." I did like that you can read it without having read any of the other books in the series. I will most definitely consider reading other books from this author.

He is a serial killer that has been well trained in mountain survival techniques by the military. He has been unlucky in love and is now obsessed with the mindset that all women hate him. No one will give him his chance. He preys on young woman that he thinks will not be missed by society. He rides the High Line, the trains that route through the northwestern United States in the roughest weather; blizzards, mega-snow and unspeakably low temperatures. When FBI agents Stevens and Windemere get a whiff of the existence of this "shadow, " they are relentless in their pursuit. I loved it. If you are looking for a theme with strong women who show their stuff, this one is for you. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.

For me the book dragged, it wasn't a unique plot nor was it gripping read. It was filled with superfluous chapters that if cut would make this a wonderfully suspenseful short story. I haven't read the authors previous books, but because they were so popular and well reviewed maybe my expectations were too high when I requested an ARC. Thank you for giving me a chance to read a copy.

The Cover I love this cover -- it was the main reason I requested a copy of this book. The muted pink and purples blend lovely together and really stand out against the stark background. The frost on the lips is intriguing, as well as just a lovely juxtaposition of color. This is a cover that would make me stop and check out this book. The Synopsis This is the sixth in a series of books by Laukanenen following detectives, Stevens and Windermere. In this installment, we are hopping on a train. Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere are on the hunt of a killer, known as the Ghost Rider. This is a person that hops along the High Line, traveling to and from as he wishes. He preys on the forgotten girls - runaways, prostitutes, girls who most likely have no one waiting on the. This man has been doing this for years, but local authorities never made the connection to a serial killer. It was believed that they were all separate instances, blaming the bad weather on most of the killings. Stevens and Windermere, with the help of those in-the-know of the train hopping, are able to piece together a series of deaths and learn that most, if not all of these, are linked to one person. And they have to find him. Told from multiple perspectives, we get this story from the POV of the detectives, as well as Mila, a runaway who is on the hunt for the Ghost Rider after he killed her friend (she blames herself for the death and wants to avenge her friend). And in some instances, we are able to look inside the mind of the killer. The Review I enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of thrillers but do not tend to read many cop thrillers, like this one could be labeled. I did not realize until after receiving the book that it was sixth in a series, which made me nervous going in. However, this is definitely a stand alone book; the only negative here is that there is little to no background on the detectives, Stevens and Windermere, but you are able to get a grasp of who they are throughout the book. The story was an interesting premise; a serial killer that uses the trains to find his victims. This is a man who thinks that women owe him something and he assumes that just because they are women, they have used their feminine traits to screw men over in the past. He finds that it is his duty to teach them something. The women he chooses (for the most part) are waitresses at bars, prostitutes that hang around bars, and runaways he finds on the trains. He is able to sneak through unnoticed by locals and doesn't stay long enough to really make him stand out. I thought this was well written and did well with he multiple perspectives. I found the plot progression to be believable, however I felt the story to be a little long. There is a part that you think Hey, this is is, but then the man gets away and we have a second ending. While this is probably more believable in regards to hunting down a person, I think cutting out the second ending and giving the first ending (if you will) a bigger bang could have been beneficial. I enjoyed the characters while reading this, but now that I am sitting down and writing this review, I am having a hard time recalling names. This realization that they really have not stuck with me makes me wonder how well the characters really were developed. I enjoyed the writing style of this book and am considering checking out the first in this series, to see if it would be something I would like to look into more. If you are a fan of thrillers, and specifically like ones that have a lot of discussion about the going ons in a case, this would definitely be a book to check out!

This is the first book I have read by Laukkanen and the premise sounded pretty good. There is a "shadow" that rides on the trains in the Northwest and seems to be killing girls but it seems to be just a rumor. No one takes it very seriously because the girls are "forgotten" - runaways, prostitutes, etc. I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but it did seem to drag a bit about halfway through. There wasn't much of a mystery in this novel and the hunt for the killer seemed to be much longer than necessary. Thanks for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

First off a big thank you to Penguin Random House for this excellent opportunity to read this book before it's released in exchange for an honest review. I love this program. "The Forgotten Girls" is about a serial killer who prays on women who are either runaways, prostitutes, or otherwise neglected. No one to miss them. The forgotten. His vehicle? The trains running through the midwestern states. Two FBI agents stumble into a case of one woman who was not his typical mark. After some investigating it becomes clear they have a serial killer on their hands. This book is fast paced, told from the angle of the killer, the FBI agents, and the girls. A good read with a clutch ending.

THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS, about to be released, is a fast moving story that keeps the reader going long into the night, much as the characters riding the High Line trains mentioned in the book, that the story revolves around.  Winters in the Northern states of the US particularly can be brutal, but not as brutal as a supposed ghost who has been preying on young train hoppers for nigh on a decade in the Pacific Northwest and on into Montana, Idaho and even lower Canada.  When two young women friends decide they will meet in Seattle to say good bye to an older train hopping rider who's dieing of the Big C, trouble begins for the ghost, dead or alive. One of the girls never makes it to their destination, and the FBI is soon involved when a picture of the unknown deceased woman's face shows up on a smartphone photo account, at the same time as the body is discovered in Idaho. The body is soon identified by her friends, taking her from missing to murdered. As the friends mourn her loss, they decided that after so many riders have gone missing and no one has done anything particularly for the alarming number of Native women among them, they are going to track down this "ghost" whose moving unhindered along the Northern Pacific High Line trains. The ghost wil. Be found one way or another and justice will be done. As the story,inexpensive begins moving along, picking up the pace just as the trains do, a large number of people gradually become involved in the hunt, first for the friends of the murdered woman, and then for the serial killer ghost, whom the FBI has now begun to suspect of at least 25 missing and mostly murdered or dead bodies. A great number of them are disenfranchised Native women.  The search begins in earnest and spreads thru the great Rockies and Glacier Mountain Ranges and on into Canada, picking up speed just as the trains do along the High Line Tracks! This story's characters and the dire situations they are facing hum along drawing the reader in as the novel speeds closer and closer to its climax! The pages were turning faster and faster as this reader watched the hunt progress,cthe hunter becoming the prey and the prey the hunter.  When I could no longer stop myself I sped along to the climatic ending and headed into the conclusion, much like the trains pulling into their final Destinations! This book was AWESOME! It had the most wonderful descriptions of the mountains, the feel of the bitter cold & snow, the senses of the characters and their interactions, personalities. The author wrote a fantastic suspenseful thriller novel, drawing richly from real life people.  In the afterward it is explained how a real life serial killer had also preyed on so many "unseen people", particularly the Native inhabitants of these sorts of areas. Please be sure to read the Afterward. I for one will be looking for more works by this Author! A smashing great read. DON'T MISS IT!

Wanted to love this book. Tried to love this book. Did not love this book. I had high expectations after reading The Professionals. The premise of The Forgotten Girls was a good concept; it just was not well executed. The characters were thin,the suspense was artificial, and the writing was not very good. I would not have finished the book had I not agreed to comment on it.

Thank you for the opportunity to preview The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen. I have been a fan of Laukkanen since his first novel The Professionals (Which I think was his best book of all). The Stevens/Windemere team has alot of charisma, spark, and tension - they are developed interesting characters. This novel is set in the midwest and takes the readers on a new adventure - trainhopping. Laukkanen's writing is descriptive; he takes the reader on the train and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The Steven/Windemere series doesn't disappoint. Laukkanen follows in the footsteps of Coben and Barclay with his ability to create interesting crime/thriller series and great character development. This book is part of a series, but serves as a standalone as well. Recommend.

Classic tale of Cat and Mouse! Had me on the edge of my seat with suspense! I look forward to reading more from this author!

Owen Laukkanen's The Forgotten Girls pulled me in from the first page. I love how the FBI/BCA agents, Kirk and Carla, were introduced and how the investigation was started. And lets not forget about Ash, Mila, the riders and the ghost rider. I could not put the book down, holding my breath until the next page, dreaming about the chapters read at night, only to pick up the book as soon as I woke again. I did not know that this book is part of a series, and I will definitely go back and read the previous books. You don't need to read the series from the beginning to read, understand and enjoy this book, it is a gem all on its own merit. Thank you for providing me with an advance copy for my honest review.

The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen is a fast-paced and spellbinding police procedural about a hunt for a serial killer preying on woman on the fringe of society (runaways, prostitutes, etc). Although this is latest release is the sixth installment in the Stevens & Windermere series, it can easily be read as a standalone. FBI Agent Carla Windermere and BCA Agent Kirk Stevens are called in to investigate a man, Mark Higgins, who has a picture of a dead woman on his cell phone. He says he has no idea how the picture ended up on his phone and when Stevens and Windermere learn the dead woman was found by the railroad tracks in Idaho, they decide to investigate the odd series of events. They quickly discover there have been rumors of serial killer (known as the “Ghost Rider”) who preys on women not far from the High Line-the trains that run between Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA. With the help of local Deputy Sheriff Kerry Finley, Kirk and Carla have identified twenty-five dead women who are most likely the victims of the ghost rider and they are hot on the trail of the killer and an at risk young woman they have identified as Mila, a friend of the last victim. With a massive winter storm bearing down on them, Kirk, Carla and Kerry are one step behind the elusive killer who is very much at home in the vast wilderness that serves as his home and his hunting grounds. Carla and Kirk’s investigation picks up steam immediately as they figure out how the picture of the deceased girl ended up on the stranger’s cell phone. Using the other photos that Mark insists he did not take, they are able to track her travels, as well as those of her friend, Mila. Realizing almost immediately that Mila is in grave danger, they quickly issue a bulletin for the railroad bulls and workers to be on the look-out for her. Carla’s boyfriend, Agent Derek Mathers, puts his computer skills to work and uses the various photos’ metadata to pinpoint Mila’s whereabouts. Tracking her movements, Kirk and Carla soon realize that Mila has figured out the identity of the ghost rider, but will they find her and the killer before it is too late? A solid police procedural with an unusual storyline, The Forgotten Girls is a pulse-pounding mystery that is quite enthralling. Once Windermere and Stevens know the killer’s identity, the manhunt is quickly thwarted by the weather and the vast territory they must cover during their search. Tracking a diabolical killer who is intimately familiar with the terrain is a herculean task but Kirk and Carla know they have to capture the ghost rider before he permanently disappears into the wilderness. Old and new fans of the clever investigative team in the Stevens & Windermere series are going to love this latest high-octane thriller by Owen Laukkanen.

I received a free copy of The Forgotten Girls in exchange for an impartial review. I didn't realize that this was the 6th in a series of books and now I'll have the pleasure of going back and reading the earlier ones. A serial killer is stalking girls and women that no one will miss. While the book starts off a little slow, it quickly picks up pace so stick with it. As I got deeper into the book, I could barely stop reading. Stevens and Windermere from the FBI-BCA violent crime force, with help from local police track a viscious killer through blizzards along the High LIne train line in the Rockies. Wth everything working aganst them, the persevere to find the killer and become the voice of "The Forgotten Girls". I definitely recommend the book.

Owen Laukkanen's The Forgotten Girls kept me going from beginning to end. His best tool? His ability to create characters which instantly connect. I found myself invested in each character who showed up with alarming consequences. Like the freight trains the runaway rode, this story of a serial killer who preys on women who live on the edge of society barreled along. I found myself flipping page after page, pursuing the killer alongside the runaway seeking revenge for her friend while the FBI agents searched for both her and the “ghost rider” who stalks the High Line. A thrilling read - perfect for a stormy night or a sunny beach!

I didn't realize that this was the sixth book in a series. It is not necessary to have read the previous books though. It is a slow starter and I almost lost interest. The pace picked up partway through the book. While I did like the story, I wish the characters were more developed.

I didn’t realize this is book 6 already in the Windermere series. I was too awestruck by the cover and blurb when I decided to request this one. No fear though, this works perfectly as a standalone. I can cut this story down into three distinctive parts easily. The first one is really setting the stage. I was nose diving into a whole unknown world to me, a world of people who ‘ride trains’ for what seems to be for years on end. Young men, but also girls, runaways. Two of these girls are Ash and Mila. They found each other and promised to travel together, but then crystal lured Mila into breaking that promise. Now one them has ended up dead, the other torn with guilt and swearing revenge. But who did this? Are the rumours true that she heard? “You don’t ever surf trains on the high line. You’ll either die from exposure during the winter season or the ghost rider will get you.” The second part is where it gets really good. The FBI got their hands on a picture of the victim when someone finds it on the phone of her date but get this: the guy had nothing to do with it. So not only do they have to figure out how it got on his phone but they also have to trace back who killed a girl. The only lead they have is another picture of two girls, looking very alive I might add, and one of them has purple hair. A fast-paced game of cat and mouse ensues and had me turning the pages faster and faster. Not only are the FBI looking for the girl who might know something more, they are also looking for a ruthless killer. The same girl is also looking for this guy. It’s bound to happen that they’ll all meet up at some point but will the FBI get there in time? Someone’s had a head start... The third part is told from the viewpoint of the rider mostly and was extremely tense and breath-taking to read as I followed this guy's steps trying to stay out of the hands of what seems like a whole cavalry coming after him. I swear that the story got better and better towards the end and this part was undoubtedly my favorite one and if I could rate only this part it would be a 4.5 stars. The meaning of cat and mouse certainly got to an all high here. The descriptions of his surroundings were also so vivid, I could just about imagine the stormy weather, the rocky scenery and dense territory as he tried to hide from the helicopters and search parties. This book didn’t steal my heart in an instant. I had a hard time connecting to the FBI agents Stevens and Windermere at first and really missed their personal stories which were non-existent in this novel, but as the plot unfolded they grew on me and in the end I loved how gutsy Windermere turned out. She totally won me over.

I did not know that The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen was one in a series. This was my first experience with his writing. I felt the novel started off a bit slowly. There was little character development and I felt like I had just dropped in and was missing something, however I kept on with the story and was glad I did. About a third of the way through the story the pace really picked up and it was an easy action packed read from there to the end. I do wish I had gotten a little background on the characters and how they fit together. ( I am reminded of how James Patterson brings the reader up to speed in his serial novels each book. ) I am happy to be introduced to a new author and anxious to read the other novels in this series.

This is the second time I’ve inadvertently read a book from the middle of an ongoing series rather than started from the beginning. Incidentally, both series happen to be in the crime/thriller genre and—due in part to the nature of the genre—both worked well enough as standalone novels (the first more so than this one). The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen will be the sixth book in his Stevens & Windermere series when it is released on March 14. If you’ve ever seen a crime procedural on television, you’re probably familiar with the facts: that many victims of violent crime are women, that women of color are disproportionately victims of violent crime, and that transients, drug addicts, and sex workers are likely to wind up as victims of violent crime. These are the very demographics that make up the target victims of a dangerous serial killer train hopping around the northern Midwest. It’s a case that falls into Stevens and Windermere’s laps and quickly proves larger and—thanks to the winter weather—tricky hunt for the killer. Reading The Forgotten Girls was very reminiscent of watching a two-part episode of Criminal Minds that was originally intended to only be one episode—two much story for one episode but not quite enough to comfortably fit into two either. The beginning felt choppy; there were a few too many perspectives from characters that we never saw again and who were only tangentially related to the story at hand, providing more spectacle than substance. I actually found the way the chapters were broken down throughout the novel to be distracting. Some chapters were longer and contained separations within them, even switching character focuses; others were absurdly short in order to, apparently, switch character focuses back and forth. This became obvious during sequences where the novel felt intentionally and artificially stretched, like there was a chapter and word count target to be met. I’d argue there are three major confrontations within the novel and, while the third and final confrontation is quite compelling, the first two fall flat. There are rapid changes between two perspectives that feel like an attempt to ratchet up the tension and drama, while the whole time it’s obvious how the scene will end up playing out. Similarly, there is one good twist that suffers from happening too quickly and too soon after that second drawn out confrontation; too much time is spent away from the character affected for the subsequent twist to carry the impact it should. When I inadvertently read the eighth book in Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren series first, I found it so compelling that I went back to the beginning and will continue catching up to where I started. The Forgotten Girls, while it stands alone well enough, wasn’t compelling enough to inspire me to restart from the beginning. The dynamics between Agents Stevens and Windermere read like tired clichés that I know I’ve seen a million times on police procedurals. I would have liked to see a little more follow up on the killer’s victims and families after the novel’s climax; there’s only one of the victim’s whose story is really acknowledged in the cleanup and resolution of the novel, despite the fact that there were other victims the reader gets to know through the many changes in narrative focus. Basically, I felt there was too much time spent on the killer and his textbook misogynistic motives and not enough on acknowledging the character’s victims, on giving voice to The Forgotten Girls beyond simply catching the killer and pointing out the backwards thinking/corner-cutting practices in clearly underfunded and overextended local law enforcement. So many aspects of the novel feel tired and redundant. The Forgotten Girls will be available in stores March 14, 2017.

This book is my first encounter with both the series about police detectives Stevens and Windermere and the author, Owen Laukkanen - and both encounters were pleasant ones. Laukkanen develops his story effectively and without much bravado or twists and turns, and the pages practically turn themselves. My main objection - albeit a minor one (hence the 4 stars) - is that there are too few surprises along the way for the reader. There is tension and some nailbiting in several places, but no real "I-didn't-see-that-one-coming" moments. The character description is not super deep, and although some of that has been taken care of in the first five books of the series, I didn't miss it all that much anyway. Laukkanen eases new readers into the series with references to past adventures here and there, but nothing that leaves newcomers to the series - such as myself - totally in the dark. The main protagonists are no superheroes who guess the villain's every next move, which is a huge plus in my book. To summarize, I was well entertained by this book and will definitely look into the previous books in the series. I wish that Laukkanen would throw in a few more surprises along the way.

I received an e-ARC of The Forgotten Girls from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. The Forgotten Girls is the sixth entry in a series featuring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agent Kirk Stevens and FBI agent Carla Windermere, who are part of a joint BCA-FBI task force that investigates violent crimes. This is my first book in the series and, though it can be read as a standalone, reading previous books may provide more insight into Stevens and Windermere. I found it hard to connect with either agent as they are not given much description. Stevens and Windermere’s latest case has them racing across frozen landscapes to solve the murders of several young women; their bodies have been discarded like trash near the Northern Rocky Mountains. They initially come on board to look into the death of a young woman when a photo of her dead body is discovered on the cell phone of a Minnesota man. It is determined the victim was killed in Idaho, a place the man claims he’s never been. He also claims strange photos have been showing up his phone for awhile and that he had a cell phone stolen several months back. Apparently, someone has been using his stolen phone to take photos and the photos are being backed up to his cloud. Once he is cleared, the investigation widens and takes them to a disturbing realization: this young woman may not be the only victim of the killer. There are rumors that a bogeyman trolls the Northwest and that he is responsible for many unsolved cases involving women. Some of the women are transients, prostitutes or runaways, forgotten women not a lot of people are looking for and not a lot of digging was done. Often, it is assumed the women are victims of the harsh environment, succumbing to the frigid elements. In the case of the young woman murdered in Idaho, she is a runaway and a train hopper. She’d been stowing away on trains to travel across the country. Her friend Mila, also a train hopper, is determined to find her killer and starts to track the killer via the rails as Stevens and Windermere also look for the killer - and for Mila. Things quickly escalate from an investigation to an all-out manhunt. There is a lot good about The Forgotten Girls. It’s suspenseful with short chapters that really keep up the pace and tension. The descriptions of the blizzard conditions and frozen environment in the Northwest are excellent and you can’t help but feel chilled while reading. It is also told using multiple POVs: Stevens, Windermere, a colleague named Mathers, Mila and the killer. The killer’s POV was very disturbing and intriguing. The train hopper premise was unusual and interesting and the author did a good job of creating the train hopper environment. The main issue I have is with the characters. There’s almost no descriptions of the main characters. From their behavior, I’m guessing Stevens is in his fifties and Windermere is in her early thirties. There’s one or two quick snippets about past cases and how they affected the two agents but nothing any deeper. It’s very hard to relate to either one. Stevens comes across as unremarkable while Windermere is sarcastic and abrasive. I really did not take to her. And - her use of “partner” at the end of almost every sentence she utters to Stevens drove me nuts. Overall, The Forgotten Girls is a good serial killer thriller with excitement and a great setting. The writing is good and the premise interesting but, as a fan of character-driven novels, I just wish that more time was taken to flesh out the characters.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. This is book 6 in a series but could be read as a standalone (as I did). There is a bogeyman riding the High Line killing young women that has become somewhat of an urban legend to the surrounding areas. Halfway through we learn who the rider is and Stevens and Windermere close in with another character, Mila, a runaway and a friend of one of the victims. Just like in real life, detective work is frustrating and though they are closing in, the killer is able to remain free after identified.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a giveaway in exchange for an honest review from This review is also posted on I liked this book, I really did – it was gripping, fast-paced, interesting and action-packed. It didn’t matter that this was book six in a series and I hadn’t read the prior five. I imagine the two main characters – Windermere & Stevens – are better articulated in earlier reads and by the sixth book not too much emphasis is put on characterizing them further; that’s one complaint but minor. However, I keep having the same thought: that this is entry level crime writing. This opinion is not based on the writing style or the content; the whole book just seemed too “safe” to me. I think the author did a wonderful job of capturing the train-hopping culture and describing the landscape of northwestern United States and then into Canada. I will try another book in the series and I hope it’s as gripping as this one but maybe a little more daring.

This was an easy read, chasing a serial killer that you just couldn't wait to see get caught. This killer targets runaways, prostitutes, vagrants, homeless...people that he thinks no one will miss. The story was good and well written, based on true crime. Dedicated to those who were never found, never identified...for those forgotten girls. That truth just hurts my heart. May they be at peace.

I felt cold, the entire time I was reading this novel. The author, Owen Laukkanen, brought this book to life for me. It was set in the Northern Rockies during blizzard conditions (which is why I was cold!!!!!). The topic of train hopping in the modern world astounded me. Not something I would have thought occurred today. I can understand how this lifestyle could be so dangerous as to attract a serial killer. I can also understand why the killer in this novel was so difficult to find and had killed for so long. There were as many twists and turns in this book as there are in the railroad tracks of the setting. Would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries/thrillers!!!

I received a copy of this book directly from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen more than I did, but honestly, I’m not sure I was the right audience. The cover was gorgeous, the description sounded interesting—the plot kept me involved with the story… but I tend to prefer character-driven fiction, and even though I do enjoy thrillers and mysteries, I had a hard time connecting to the characters in this story. The first part of the story was built around Mila, a girl who’s best friend has gone missing, and then part way through the book, the majority of the story switches to the killer. It was a strange dynamic to get so involved with one character and then switch to another. That aside, there wasn’t a lot of time put into getting to know any of the characters deeply, and because of this, I found them rather interchangeable. I didn’t feel upset over any of the deaths, I was only mildly irritated with the killer, and by 70% into the book, I’d completely lost interest. I did finish the book, but it was a slog to get through the ending, because I just didn’t care about the characters, and the murders were so briefly touched upon that I didn’t have a macabre fascination to keep me interested in what was happening. Was it a bad book, though? No. It was well edited and well written. I didn’t get hung up on the sentence structure, vocabulary, or any other sort of technical error. The story moved smoothly and cleanly from one event to another, and I never got confused or lost—but there was a lack of tension that I felt should have been present, and because of that and my lack of interest in the characters, I found it hard to push through the slow pace of the story. I think if you like mystery books that aren’t too complicated and don’t have too much gore, you may enjoy this book quite a bit—like I said, it was well written, but if you’re like me and prefer character driven fiction or gripping thrillers, this may be a little bit off the mark for you. I gave this book 3 stars because it was a bit of a “meh…” read for me. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful either, it just didn’t interest me as much as I’d hoped.

Thank you to First to Read for an eARC of this book.     A body is found dead, frozen in the snow.  A runaway, forgotten by society.  Pictures of her, both dead and alive, show up on a phone, the owner swearing he knows nothing of them.  As they move through this case, FBI agents Windermere and Stevens begin to see that there are more, many more.  Women that society turned their back on- that no one would miss.  The forgotten girls.         Mila, grief stricken after learning of her friend Ash's death, sets out on her own crusade.  She's going to recharge, and then she is going to find the one they call the Ghost Rider.... somehow she is going to avenge Ash.           It's a race against nature and man to try to put a stop to a twisted serial killer that got away for far too long.           I first learned about this series about three years ago when book three was offered on First to read.  I had no idea I was jumping into the middle of a series, but as with most of these books, you can pick them up and get the gist of it.  I do recommend reading them in order,  each one is brilliant and brings to bear a different aspect of the characters.  You can find out about all the books in the series here.  As always, I adored the play between characters.  I especially liked that he worked a bit more with Windermere's boyfriend Mathers, as we know  more about Stevens' family.  I was a little disappointed that they weren't even really mentioned in this book though.  Told in several different POV'S you get a good read on the victim, Mila, the agents and our villain.           As far as the adult content goes,  there is a lot.  Language, drug use, sexual content, and violence.  This book is not meant for young teens, I give it an eight.

I liked this book. Like many others, I didn't realize that this was #6 in a series. The story didn't lack anything through not having read the first books but the main characters seemed a little flat. I'm sure that they would be more interesting had I read the other books. That being said the storyline was interesting and moved along quickly. There were a couple of spots that seemed to drag on but I stayed up late to see what would happen at the end. I will definitely go back to book one and see who these characters are...hopefully I've found a new series. Thank you First To Read and the Publisher for the copy in exchange for this honest review

I don't read a lot of thrillers or crime novels primarily because they aren't really my cup of tea. Overall, I found this novel to be pretty good. I liked that the chapters were short so it made the book feel more fast-paced and I read through it pretty quickly. I liked how the author described where the story took place in great details. It really made you feel like you were in the novel too. I felt like the main characters Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere weren't fully developed, but maybe that's because this book is in a series and they had already been fleshed out in the previous books. I think this book can be read as a stand-alone though.

Thank you First to Read and the Publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review.I liked this book alot. I didn't realize this was a series so will definitely be looking for the other books. The only feedback to change was it could have been a bit shorter. Some parts of the search seemed to drag out a bit more than needed, though it all came together for a wonderful ending. I can't wait to read more.

Thank you First to Read and the Publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review. I have been reading this series since the beginning and was so excited to get another book. It's like catching up with an old friend. Even though it is the sixth book in the series it can be read as a stand alone (although you may want to read all of the books because Owen Laukkanen does such a good job describing the characters and bringing them to life). The story is very well written and keeps the reader engaged. I look forward to his books and this one did not disappoint.

A good quick read with short chapters and fast-paced action. Somewhat lacking in character development of the main characters; however, this is the sixth book in the series and I did not read the earlier ones. It's possible characters may have developed more in the earlier books. Don't feel you need to read the earlier books to catch up to this story. I'd be willing to give the authors other books a shot.

Thank you First to Read and the Publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review. Little before I started reading it I realized it was part of a Series (this is book 6) which made me wonder all the events prior to this book and felt afraid I would be missing a lot. However I kept going and have to say the more I read crime/suspense the more I like it and The Forgotten Girls is another book on my list of great books I have read lately. Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere are very unique characters which help a lot to the story and keep the reader interested. Serial Killers is not something I usually read about but the approach it is given in the book makes it one full of suspense, well structured and with a great story to tell. Overall, I enjoyed the book, the story and would definitely like to read the other books in the series.

I received an advanced copy of this book to review from Penguin's First To Read program, and I am very happy to have been introduced to this author and series. Although I had not read the previous novels in the series, I did not feel that I was missing out on important information that kept me from enjoying the mystery. The story moved along at a good pace, and the scenario of young people catching rides on various trains, hitchhiking their way around the country, was new and fascinating for me. I felt for Mila, a young girl who has lost the friend who helped her survive her first bit of time riding the rails. It was her feelings and memories of one of the victims that made me the most anxious for Kirk and Carla to catch the perpetrator in the end. A great read, and one I would recommend to others to pick up and try!

This is the first book in this series that I have read and I felt that I was missing a lot in the main characters. Throughout the story they felt flat and uninteresting. The serial killer character also felt flat with his motive coming off pedestrian and also uninteresting. However the story line and plot were very interesting. Train hoppers and the very northern-most area of the US was something I haven't run across before. The writing was also spot on - I could imagine the winter landscapes easily and was really able to relate to the intense cold and storms. Those elements were enough to keep me interested throughout the story.

The Forgotten Girls was very good. It is a fast paced thriller, and it was an easy read as well. I loved the tenacity of Mila. For a teenager she had a lot of courage to do what she does in the book, and I am trying to be vague so as not to spoil anything. The characters of Carla Windermere and Kirk Stevens were pretty good too. Overall I really enjoyed it. The only criticism I have is the part where they finally get there man was drawn out a wee bit too long in my opinion. I wanted them to get this waste of skin so he could get what he deserved. Thanks again First To Read and Owen Laukkanen.

Received an ARC from First To Read for an honest review: First, I like many others it seems, did not know from the blurb that it was book 6 in a series. That scared me just a tiny bit when I started it, but as I read the book I realized it definitely also works as a standalone. Second, I'm not big on crime novels that are not of the "cozy mystery" variety. That being said, the more violent scenes in this book were not...bothersome. It worked it's way up in intensity, but there was nothing that forced me to step away from the book and take a breather. That being said, though, the book was full of amazing scenes beautifully described that you couldn't, as a reader, NOT picture, even if you didn't want to. Lines like: "Even the sky seemed static, just a blank wall, a paint swatch, 'chronic depression gray'." were scattered throughout, and they place you in the wintry, desolate, desperate situation of the characters so that you are right beside them, experiencing what they are, for better or worse. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, even though the content was not a topic of my normal choosing (sorry, serial killers hunting women freak me out). Extra bonus for the techy geek stuff I didn't know about the "cloud" that I had to double check with the more "techno-advanced" member of our household about. Definitely makes me think twice about the idea of even donating a used phone.

The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen was a fast paced thriller. Following the railways we watch as the prey are being hunted. As the chapters switch back and forth between characters it's easy to want to read just one more page. Different characters kept the liveliness in full swing. The only real down part for me was I hadn't read this series before. I was able to follow along. It is a fine stand alone book. But in sense I didn't feel a closeness to our main FBI characters as I would have liked. I will be adding this series to my to-read list though!


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