Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two Girls Down

Louisa Luna

Two Girls Down is a riveting thriller about the search for two missing girls in a small Pennsylvania town.

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"I'm always looking for a good thriller, and this just was perfect."--Nancy Pearl, NPR's Morning Edition
“Opening this book is like arming a bomb--the suspense is relentless and the payoff is spectacular.  Lead character Alice Vega is sensational--I want to see lots more of her.”--Lee Child
"Sensational." Wall Street Journal
"A must-read for fans of strong female protagonists.'--Booklist (starred review)

   As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The Killing, Two Girls Down introduces Louisa Luna as a thriller writer of immense talent and verve.   
   When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 
   With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.


Advance Galley Reviews

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna uses a formula. A down and out ex-cop. An independent enigmatic private investigator. Two missing girls. A formula for a book becomes that for the reason that it works for the most part. This structure leads to a quick, engaging read. However, it is the books that diverge from the formula that become memorable. This one really does not. It is momentarily engaging, but ultimately forgettable. Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/05/two-girls-down.html Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program

This is a very good thriller but be forewarned that it is rather dark. Two girls disappear from their mother’s car in a parking lot. They have been kidnapped, and the local police do not seem to be making quick progress on the case. So the family of the girls hires a famous bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to search for them. Alice Vega is famous because she found a boy who had disappeared in California after local, state, and federal law enforcement had given up on the possibility of finding him. Alice brought him home alive. She is a tough woman, both mentally and physically. She was trained by the best, she does intense physical workouts, and she is intelligent and a quick thinker. Shortly after arriving in town, she quickly assesses and dismissed the local police department as being of any real help to her, and instead reaches out to a local private investigator, Max Caplan. Max, a divorced father with a teenage girl, is a former police officer who resigned in disgrace. Both Alice and Max are determined to find the girls. He uses his familiarity with the local area and his connections with the police department to help the two in their investigation. And Alice? She uses sheer determination, pushing them both relentlessly to the point that neither gets much sleep at all while they are searching for the girls. Alice is willing to do anything – anything – to solve a case. In the beginning, Max is not completely comfortable with some of her tactics. But as time ticks away and fear for the fate of the girls escalates, Max finds himself thinking more & more as Alice does, becoming more comfortable with skirting the law to get answers. There is inevitably a bit of romantic tension between the two, but Alice is a loner and does not easily trust others. I do hope that there is a sequel, because I would enjoy reading another story featuring Alice and Max. Thank you to Penguin books and the First to Read program for the opportunity to read and review this book in return for an honest review.

This was a suspenseful, gritty thrill ride to the very end. This was such a realistic thriller, that it feels like this story must have happened, somewhere, sometime. I loved the backstories for both Vega and Cap, and especially like a good bounty hunter plot line. I definitely want to read more from this author, and more with these characters.

Wonderful thriller! Great read! Five stars!

I finished this book in 2 nights. I have to say that if you are looking for a good thriller and a book that keeps you guessing. Then this is your book. Great characters and storyline. I will definitely be reading more from this author. I would give it 4 stars!

This book was a great thriller. Loved the lead characters, Alice and Max. The author did a fantastic job bringing these characters vividly alive to the reader. With lots of twists and turns, the story concludes with a very unexpected ending. I highly recommend to all.

TWO GIRLS DOWN introduces us to Max Caplan, a former police officer and Alice Vega, a private investigator searching for two missing children. Time is running out as Cap and Vega struggle to work with local police and unravel a web of lies. I really enjoyed this book. It kept my attention throughout. It’s full of suspense and action and the ending was totally unexpected. I’m hoping this is the start of a long series!

I loved this book. I would have never have guessed the outcome. I was very much blown away when it finally was all revealed. This book kept me guessing the entire way. When I thought I had it figured out, a curveball would be thrown. I definitely recommend this book.

This novel was absolutely mesmerizing! I particularly liked the two investigators, Alice Vega and Max Caplan, and the way the investigation was handled. Louisa describes her characters in such detail that you can clearly picture the scene she is writing. Her descriptions of the interactions between the characters every step of the way through the investigation is so good! This novel is set in the small town of Denville, Pennsylvania. Jamie Brandt's two young daughters, Kylie and Bailey, have disappeared from a strip mall parking lot. One of Jamie's relatives hires investigator Alice Vega to investigate their disappearance. Vega is intelligent and very good at what she does. Vega brings Caplan on board to help with the investigation. Vega and Caplan quickly learn the best way to efficiently work together. They follow lead after lead, hoping they won't run out of time to save the girls. Vega's dark memories are presented in pieces throughout the story, adding to the tension building. Nothing was what I expected with this novel. This novel explores kidnapping, drugs, and crime. It also explores the intricacies of family relationships. Pay attention and make sure you have time to read, because you will not be able to put this novel down once you start it!

I enjoyed the dynamic between Cap and Vega as well as Cap and his daughter. Overall I found the book to be interesting though occasionally I found myself trying to remember where a name was preciously mentioned and who was connected with who since there were a lot of people mentioned. I wasn't completely blown away by the story but would give it a 3.75-4 stars.

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna has all that you can ask for in a thriller! I was totally hooked from the first few pages itself! Having never read books by Louisa Luna before, this turned out to be a really terrific read. 4 stars out of 5! Jamie Brandt has her hands full with two daughters,10 year old Kylie and 8 year old Bailey, and just needs some break; but what happens next is not what she ever wanted. She goes into a shopping mall to buy a gift, leaving her kids in the car; only to come back and find them gone. After a frantic search, she approaches the police and is not quite satisfied with their response. She hires a PI, Alice Vega who, finding the cops to be tight lipped and not wanting her to have anything to do with this case, seeks out a former, disgraced cop, Max Caplan. They together as a team, race to figure out the kidnapper before it's too late for the Brandt girls. The story is fast paced and the characters are well written. I would love to read more books by Louisa Luna and I would definitely recommend this book to all thriller lovers!

I usually love this type of story, but just could not get lost in the book. I did not finish this one and that is very rare for me.

I always like it when I pick a book that I can't put down and this is definitely in this category. When it comes to thrillers, less is more, so the basic plot is two girls go missing and Alice Vega is hired to find them. She enlists Max Caplan, a former police officer, to help track them down. Vega and Caplan are an interesting pair. Caplan balances out Vega who remains a bit of a mystery throughout the novel. Some readers may find her off-putting, but I connected to her and I would love to learn more about her backstory. While reading this, the idea that this could be the start of the series percolated in my head.The story itself is well-written and kept my attention. I don't read a lot in this genre so I didn't get bored or felt like I had read this before. I will say I found myself more engaged and emotionally connected to the latter half of the book, but should you read it, you will understand why. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to my fellow readers, especially those who like this genre.

I always find it a tad bit tricky to review thrillers because often, it's best to go into them knowing very little. I seriously think that's the case with "Two Girls Down." When two young girls go missing, the extended family hire Alice Vega, bounty hunter and private detective, to search for them because they have little faith in the town police department. Vega enlists the help of Max Capling, a local private eye, who once worked for the police himself. Together, they navigate the twists and turns of the case, hoping that in the end, the two girls will return safely home. First I must say the mystery element of this novel had me guessing throughout the entire book. Even when it ended, I honestly expected another twist to take place. Also, while looking for the children, Cap and Vega meet some pretty interesting, and need I say disturbed, individuals. But my favorite part of "Two Girls Down" were Vega and Cap themselves. Both are such headstrong and intelligent people who rarely take crap from anyone. While there really isn't a romantic element between them, as a reader, I almost hoped for one. Cap's daughter is also a joy and throughout the book, it's evident that she has a future ahead of her in the criminal justice system should she choose. If you love thrillers, then I strongly recommend picking this one up. I've been burned by some in the past and whenever I start one, I'm always a tad hesitant. However, "Two Girls Down" did not disappoint me in the slightest.

This was really good! I went into this book rather blindly having never read the author before and not seeing much about the book. I thought it looked like a rather good mystery so I jumped in and started reading. I didn't stop reading until I had reached the end of the book. It has been a long time since I wanted to read a whole book in a single sitting but that is exactly what I ended up doing with this story. I am so happy to have stumbled upon this wonderfully written mystery. This book grabbed me right away. You know from the very start that something bad is going to happen to Jamie's kids. When they disappear in the parking of the local Kmart, there aren't a lot of clues as to where they might may be. Jamie's aunt hires a private investigator who has a reputation for finding lost people, Alice Vega. Vega is determined to find the girls and will do what it takes to find them quickly. She enlists the help of a former cop turned private investigator, Cap. Vega and Cap have very different styles of investigating but they soon form a great team. Together they sort through clues and piece a trail back to the girls. I liked the characters in this story. Vega and Cap were both really interesting characters that ended up in their jobs for very different reasons. Vega was more than willing to cross over the line if that is what is was going to take to bring the girls home. She was tough and worked tirelessly. Cap seemed more like your normal good guy. He is a really good guy who puts his teen daughter first in his life. They were both really smart and have a lot of great instincts. There was a lot of excitement in this story. I was actually pretty nervous about what would happen a time or two in this story. I couldn't figure out how things would work out and just had to go along with Vega and Cap to find out. I didn't expect to have an emotional reaction to this story but as I read to the end of the story, I found myself with a broken heart. I would recommend this book to others. This was a very fast paced novel that was almost impossible to put down. I will definitely be reading more for this talented author in the future. I received an advanced reader edition of this book from Doubleday Books via First to Read.

This book had me hooked from the first lines! I read it all in a span of two days, and sincerely hope there will be follow-up books involving the two private investigators on the case. Alice Vega and Max Caplan are an unlikely duo when they are separately recruited to find two young girls--sisters--who seem to have disappeared into thin air. But their complex relationship and unwavering dedication to the job give them the perfect combination of relatable and likeable for readers, and I couldn't help but root for them within a few paragraphs. It starts like your typical missing persons novel; tough-love detectives, suspicious parents and acquaintances...but the end result/solving of the case was surprising and came out of nowhere, and that's not an easy feat in this genre! 4 out of 5 stars!

It's rare to find a thriller that gives you an engaging fast-paced plotline without sacrificing character depth. I appreciated that Two Girls Down knocks both elements out of the park. Both Alice Vega and Max Caplan are characters I loved getting to know, and their flawed, complex personalities and backstories actually drive the action in the story. So much of modern entertainment focuses on misogynistic themes like young girls getting abducted and tortured that I find most of those plots tired and distasteful, so I was prepared to potentially dislike this book based on the premise alone. However, the addition of a strong, capable female protagonist like Vega balanced things out and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I look forward to reading more from Louisa Luna.

Whew! Barely got this read done in the allotted time FTR gives! I really enjoyed the shifting of narrator from tough Alice Vega to softer Cap, with his admiration of his daughter. I definitely did not expect some of the twists at the end, which kept me reading to find out what would happen! I look forward to reading more from Louisa Luna. My only problem was likely because I was preparing for Christmas and had to stop reading for a couple days at a time - and that was that I couldn't keep all the characters straight. They would be introduced earlier in the book for a few pages and then I had to recall who they were 100 pages later. I have a poor memory for names, so when too many characters were introduced this way, I had no idea who they were later on. Still a great read, thanks!!

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna. I started to read this book and got about 50 pages in but the download expired. However what I did read I was enjoying and can’t wait to finish the book when it is released. Two sister are taken from their mothers car while she ran into the store to get a gift for the birthday party they were going to. Since the cops weren’t looking at every possibility the family hires Alice Vega a private investigator to help. She follows all the avenues that she can and enlist the help of a former cop Max Caplan’s help. This is where I ended and can’t wait to continue.

In "Two Girls Down," Luna crafts a world full of real, flawed characters whose stories are driven forward in spite of, and because of, their mistakes. When two girls go missing, their overwhelmed mother is desperate to find them. With the police short on leads, a family member calls in Alice Vega, a private detective haunted by her own past. Joined by disgraced police officer Max Caplan, Vega steps over the line in and around a small Pennsylvania town, doing whatever it takes to find the missing sisters. As the pages turn and the clock ticks, the reader's along for the ride, hoping to find the girls before their time runs out. A twisty, turny, gripping read!

I haven't read any thrillers for many, many years as was pleased with this re-introduction to the genre. When two sisters go missing, the family contacts Alice Vega to help and Vega recruits local, former-cop, Max Caplan to help in the search. I enjoyed following the protagonists' pursuit of the girls and the many characters they encountered along the way, all of them complex figures, aggregate of good and bad experiences and intentions. The author has a straightforward, to-the-point writing style that keeps the story clipping along. I especially enjoyed getting to know Vega & Caplan as their own stories were revealed through the main plot's progression. If this were ever made into a movie, I'd definitely jump at the opportunity to see these characters on the big screen.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters as well as the story. Yet, because the premise of this story sounded good, I decided to try and stick it out. Sadly, after getting hundred pages into the story and still feeling nothing for the characters, I put this book down. Another reason that I did not care for the story is because it moved very, very slowly.

This is my first time reading a Louisa Luna novel. Two Girls Down is an intense investigative suspense that follows Alice Vega and Max Caplan as they search for two missing girls. They disappeared nearly without a trace, but Vega's clever skills get the ball rolling in the right direction. I was really impressed with the flow of the story as it follows Cap and Vega tracking down leads and looking for any possible connections. They run in circles until the breaking lead comes to light. What also made their investigation so compelling was the characters themselves. Vega is like a machine, running on fumes and determination to close her case. On the other hand, Cap can't leave his cop past behind and holds tightly to his anger. He uses his skills to charm their suspects into speaking while Vega has to hold back from assaulting everyone. At first, I was a bit disappointed in her character for being too single-minded and brash. However, as the story progressed I realized her character has layers and a pain filled past that somewhat explains her behavior. Also, it worked out because Vega and Cap complement each other in ways that make the story more seamless. The writing style is unique and really allows you to hear the voice of the characters. I am definitely looking forward to more from Lousia Luna and I would not be upset to see more about this duo! *ARC received via First to Read*

This was definitely an exciting, suspenseful book! Alice Vega was a fantastic, kick butt character! She was tough, but we saw a little of her softer interior. Cap was also a great character. I loved the combo of his ex-cop/PI persona along with his dad persona when with his daughter. There were lots of interesting twists and turns. There were a few bits of the plot that I figured out before they were revealed, but there were plenty that I didn’t see coming. I definitely did not suspect the actual “bad guy” as being the guilty party. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would love to read another book featuring Vega!

Book Description When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever. My Thoughts This was one of those books that flowed effortlessly from page to page. I don’t know the author’s plans, but I definitely would read another book that further developed the characters of Alice and Max. Louisa Luna has done a wonderful job creating the characters in this story. Jamie is a typical tired single mother whose two daughters, Kylie and Bailey stretch her patience as an 8 and 10-year-old are apt to do. While she loves her daughters, her decision to leave them in the car so she can shop in peace and save some time ends badly when she returns and the girls are gone. Few clues, no apparent motive, and an overworked police force mean finding the girls will be no easy task, and indeed this may become another unsolved mystery. When someone is missing, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the relentless ticking of the clock. While people do vanish by choice, the chances are slim that Kylie and Bailey have just decided to play hide and seek and will suddenly reappear. Talking to witnesses, pursuing any leads and delving into the characters’ lives becomes a race against time as the odds of finding the girls unharmed and alive diminishes as every hour goes by. Alice Vega is hired by the family to do what the police cannot, focus exclusively on finding the missing girls. Alice asks for Max’s assistance once it becomes clear that the local police have no intention of working with her or sharing any pertinent information relative to the case. She hopes Max can provide much needed inside information from his former colleagues. As the story progresses, Alice and Max prove themselves to be a formidable team, as they sort through clues, gather information and investigate any and all leads. No spoilers here, but I will say their dynamic was enjoyable and the story moves along at a rapid pace. A thrilling mystery, great characters, and a well-developed plot. I didn’t see the end coming, which to me is always the sign of a well-written book. I will be interested to see what the author does next. Thanks to Louisa Luna and First to Read for providing a digital copy to read and review.

I enjoyed this book even though it was darker than I generally read. I liked the character of Alice Vega and would read another book based on a series of her finding missing people, if this is indeed a beginning to a series. I like that we don't know Vega completely and look forward to having information parsed out within a series. The author was really able to convey the exhaustion of the characters both the mom of the missing girls and those looking for them. A sense of urgency as time ticks by and the chances of survival are diminished is juxtaposed against the need for rest. In addition, I like a strong character that is mostly able to handle a case they chose to take on but allows for help without it becoming a thing. Arguing over help in stories has been played out. This story line was refreshing as Vega looks for a partner immediately which is the smarter play.

Overall this book was good but wasn’t the “can’t put down” that I was hoping for. The plot was great, there were enough twists and turns to keep me engaged. I felt like the characters weren’t developed very well - you barely know Vega any better by the end of the book as you do in the beginning. It would be fine if this was the first in a series but I found it frustrating for a single book. Overall I’d give it 3.5/5 stars and I’d definitely read book 2 if Luna made it into a series.

I absolutely loved Alice Vega! I truly hope she becomes a series character. What a tough but amazing job to find and return kidnapped children to their parents. She and Cap make a brilliant team who can do many things the police are unable to do when 2 girls go missing. As they try to put the pieces together, it gets more and more the girls haven’t been found. This was such a great read!

4 stars! I really enjoyed this suspenseful, psychological thriller. It was fast paced and I couldn't put it down. There were a lot of surprising twists and turns. The characters of Alice Vega and Max Caplan were interesting and well written and am hoping this is the first book in series.

This novel was definitely a success for me and I think this was mostly due to the character of Vega. She was such an interesting and unique character and she got me interested in the story. Vega is a woman who doesn't express too many emotions, who is all about the case, and who does things in a badass way. I loved her dark and badass personality - it reminded me a lot of Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I really liked the way she interacted with Cap, who was another terrific character. The one thing this novel had going for it were the characters. All of them were just so unique and intriguing and I could never tell who was guilty and who wasn't. I also really liked the plot: it was engaging and full of twists and turns. I think there were some points that were a bit more complicated than they needed to be, and that made me lose my focus for a bit, but the author was able to draw me back in quickly enough. Overall, this was a great thriller that I couldn't put down. It had great characters, and a very interesting plot. I can't wait to read more by this author and I would recommend this novel for anyone who is a fan of thrillers! 4.5/5 stars from me!

I found this book very readable. Couldn’t wait to see who did it. Wished I knew more about Vega, but the mysterious angle worked. Took me a little while to get into it but then it got regally good.

I have to thank First to Read for introducing me to new authors. Louisa Luna has written an excellent story. I look forward to reading more.

I really liked Two Girls Down! The author does a great job of keeping us in suspense until almost there very end. I loved, loved, loved, the chemistry between Cap and Vega and I agree with another reviewer that I really hope this is a "book 1" in a Vega/Cap series!!!

This book was addicting and I was unable to put it down. The characters draw you in and the plot keeps you reading to find out how and why the two girls went missing. Vega and Cap make a fabulous team and I would love to see more of them in the future. The ending does leave the reader hanging a little, will there be a sequel? I sure hope so!

This was a very interesting detective novel. The author's ability to put you into the small, depressed upstate PA town was remarkable. You could feel and smell the environment and really understand the nature of the characters. The mystery was multi faceted with twists and turns to keep you on your toes. This was not a straight forward crime solver, but a fascinating look at human nature, from the depressed mother of a lost child, to the brother of a mentally ill man. I kept reading and immersing myself in this scene. I highly recommend this to fans of film noir as well.

WOW - I was hooked from the beginning. Two young girls disappear and a private investigator and a former local cop begin the investigation. Suspenseful book that I couldn't put down once I started reading. I'm looking forward to reading more from the author.

This book kept me engaged from the first page. The author kept me on my toes throughout the entire book. Excellent read!

My heart was torn by the disappearance of the girls in this novel and I was cheering for Vega and Cap as they helped to find the sisters. I found Vega to be intelligent and kind of standoffish and cold by nature in her talent. She was the perfect counterpoint to Cap who was trying to overcome his demons to use his local resources. I found Luna's description of the society was overly unrealistic and made the book overly dramatic at times. This was a overall a good solid read and had great plot twists, suspense, and mystery. Nothing is what it seems and this lead to a surprising ending. I would be interested in seeing Vega is other books with Cap.

Recommend 100%. Suspense at its best without gore. I liked many of the characters though none of them are perfect people; their goodness overshadows their weaknesses. I appreciated the character growth through the book. I would love to read more about Alice and her new cases.

It’s always a treat to be introduced to a new author, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book! The main character, Alice Vega, is such a compelling character, that needs more books to share her back story, as well as future endeavors. The story line was refreshing, and interesting from the start. I couldn’t put the book down, and I’m ready for the next adventure!

Oh such a lovely and well written book about the horrifying abduction of two young girls! I loved how the mother wasn't the picture perfect one we see in most books, where the flaws only come out later in some farfetched twist. I love how the police weren't adversaries, but were somewhat reluctant partners. And I loved how well we got to know most of the characters. I think my possibly only issue with this book is that we didn't really get to know the main character, Alice Vega. By the end we did find out the events that helped form her but I still felt like we were kept at arms' length from her. That being said, I would be really excited if this somehow became a series. Ms. Luna has does an exceptional job of bringing the reader into a world where things don't necessarily go right and sometimes the choices aren't all that easy.

A fairly routine start quickly picks up when we meet PI Max Caplan, former cop, and Alice Vega, an investigator with uncanny success in finding missing persons. Two young sisters disappear while waiting for their mother, Jamie, to finish an errand. Alice is hired by Jamie's family to help find the girls and Alice, in turn, retains 'Cap' to assist her since she's from out of town and this is his home turf. So we have two private investigators, the local police department and, eventually, the FBI, chasing leads and suspects, all trying to find the girls - hopefully still alive. Two Girls Down is a richly conceived mystery with a surprising outcome. Ms. Luna's character development skills are exceptional. I felt as if I were really getting to know Alice and Cap, both unique personalities with their own perspective. The story's pace is consistent and held my interest page after page. I would really enjoy reading another case requiring the combined talents of Alice and Cap.

I loved this book! I felt connected to every character, and I fell in love a little with Max Caplan and his daughter. I would gladly read more books featuring Max and Alice!

A single mother is devastated when her two young daughters go missing from a strip mall parking lot. Private investigator Alice Vega is hired to find the girls and she asks former local cop, Max Caplan, for assistance. With the clock ticking, the two of them chase down leads with the hope of finding these girls alive. But while working together, Max and Alice discover they share more in common than they think. I really enjoyed watching not only the mystery of what happened to the girls play out, but also learning more about Max and Alice. I thought the two of them were a nice balance to one another and I also liked Max's relationship with his daughter. I do think though the middle of the book was bogged down with too much character development and not enough action regarding the mystery. However this was still a good read and I would definitely be interested in reading more books featuring Max and/or Alice. Thank you First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

I thoroughly enjoyed Two Girls Down! I am an avid mystery lover and this book kept me entertained while guessing what was to come next.

Two Girls Down: a review So I won't waste time going over plot points that you could get the gist of in the author's provided description however i will give you my opinion as a early reader of this book Plot was good. Often i am disappointed when i read mysteries because i figure out "who done it" early on and it turns out I am right. This story i did not figure out early either due to good writing or my being interrupted in my reading for holiday merriment (its that time of year). You meet a lot of characters in this story and get very little information about them (you are racing to find the girls after all) and that helps to keep the plot twists under wraps a little. However, I struggled with the world Ms Luna created. It is unrealistic that EVERYONE would be either 1) a drug dealer/user, 2) bitter and unhappy in either their marriage or their divorce, 3) an abuser or molester or 4) a kid. I understand diving into the seedy underbelly of society but the fact that you see not one healthy, well balanced person in the entire story makes it hard to fully get lost in this town and therefore in the struggle being played out. The Characters were hit and miss for me as well. I liked Caplan and found him to be a relate able, well written sidekick; the Watson to Vega's Holmes. His only annoying downside it that he is apparently so starved for human contact that he becomes enamored with thoughts of intimacy at the slightest hug or show of affection. However most of the story is his POV and therefore he feels like the deeper character of the two. Nell was a much needed breath of fresh air sprinkled throughout a plot that was otherwise painted in one dark tone. Just when i was ready to put this book down for awhile to get away from all the depression it depicts, there would be a scene with Nell and I would find myself smiling. Vega left a lot on the table for me. I felt at the end of the book I really didnt know much more about her than i had at the beginning. This would be fine if this is book one of a series where she and Cap work together to solve cases and their partnership and personalities become more developed over time (again think Holmes and Watson) however (and i hope i am wrong) I don't think this is the case. Caplan has a life and a business in the small town this story is set in. Not to mention Nell who he is close to. Vega lives on the opposite coast and travels around from case to case finding missing people. It is unlikely that she would be in Caplan's town again and equally unlikely that he could help her on other cases as all of his contacts are in the town he lives in. Therefore future books would either follow Caplan (who you know better but is less likely to have interesting things continue to happen to him) or Vega who will be in danger again and again but is still practically a stranger to you. In addition Vega lacks personality. She is not a Stephanie Plumb or a Tempy Brennan. All the mystery in the world is not going to make her funny or familiar. And without a connection it becomes harder to care what happens to her. I give this book 3.5/5 stars. Again good story but feels like something is missing. I would read a sequel with all the original character if one were to come out but more for curiosity about character development than any particular attachment.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This was a very down to earth novel about two missing sisters which grabs you and holds your attention. It is very realistic about what it takes to find these missing children and the nightmares they may have faced. Very good book!

This was a great, fast-paced read that immediately draws you in from the beginning. At times, it was hard to put down. This story followed two private investigators working as a team to unfold the mystery behind the disappearance of two young girls. In spite of other reviews, I had a hard time relating to Vega and the thoughts behind her actions. Cap, however, was easy to follow and I found myself routing for him the entire time. I appreciate having the opportunity to read and review this book through Penguin Random House First to Read!

Wow...is my first reaction to finishing the book Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna. Having never read a previous book by Luna (Why? Just why?), I was unsure what to expect, but she honestly blew me away with her journey through this kidnapping of two young girls. Once I started this book, it pulled me in immediately. Even after reading the first two pages, I already felt a connection with Jamie, the girl's Mom, and related (even laughing shamelessly at times) to her Mom-isms and life in general. This was not a 'fun' topic, but it was a super fun read for me. Her characters and wit had me up all night reading this two nights in a row till I finished it. What can I say about the two main characters Cap and Vega? Welp, I loved them both and related to them for entirely different reasons. Having never read a previous book by Luna I am not sure if these characters are featured in her other books or not, but I would love love love to see them together again. Heck, throwing in Nell, Cap's insightful daughter, wouldn't be a bad idea either. I personally would buy/read a book with her as the main character even! As for the plotline of this crime/kidnapping book (I don't want to give too much away for the reader here), if anyone can guess the ending of this book prior to last chapter or so, they deserve a medal in my opinion. Luna literally (no pun intended) had me guessing the outcome until it was basically spelled out for me. Yes sadly, I am one of those annoying readers that thinks they can figure out the 'killer'/ending WAY before the actual ending of the book, and I'm mostly (sorry, truth) correct! Luna took me step-by-step through the entire intricate crime however, and I honestly didn't care if I could 'figure it out' at that point. I was rooting for Cap and Vega to do it for me. Those two (and Nell), didn't let me down leaving bodies behind and no secrets unturned. I sincerely hope to see them all together again in a future book... but until then, I will be scouring bookstores, flea market booths and library shelves for Luna's previous book and keeping my fingers crossed that I enjoy those as much as I enjoyed Two Girls Down. This was a great first book to read and get as an advanced reading copy book as my first ARC ever in fact. I tried to be completely honest with my review. One of the great things about books and reading, is that books can be one thing to one person and entirely different to another reader. I completely understand if my opinion is not for everyone, but I (honestly) give this book (my first review for first to read at Penguin), 5 stars. So yes, yes, yes...I say to picking this book up but hey I'm only one reader out of many. I look so forward to doing more reviews and of course reading more books (by Louisa Luna & many more). Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity First to Read. And by all means...READ ON my bookish friends!

As two girls go missing the author takes us on a twisting course to find out who could have taken these two sisters and why. You'll meet some interesting and some predictable characters along the way, but they are still well developed and you'll find yourself emotionally invested in what happens to all of them, not just the girls. Vega, the leading female PI, is hard to pin down running hot then cold, but you can definitely tell from the flashbacks she has and some of the dialogue that her life has been anything but easy. The suspense is thick in this one and there are a large number of small and large conflicts going on not only between characters but even between some of the characters and themselves, lots of old scars in these characters. The story does not stop rolling out there is no stop and go, stop and go moments in this book its fast-pace lends to that feeling of urgency in trying to find these girls in time. This one was a little difficult for me because of not only were there two girls missing but the locations mentioned in the book; Harrisburg and Hershey, are very close to home so that did make reading it a bit harder; especially since I'm a parent and this is really our worst nightmare. Well worth picking up if you like a suspenseful, psychological, thriller. Thanks to First to Read/Penguin Random House for the chance to read and review this book early!

When a young mother is out running errands with her two young daughters she decides to leave the girls outside in the car to quickly run into the store. After returning to the car she finds the children gone and frantically begins to search the surrounding area but when the girls aren’t found the police are called and the search begins. With very little to go on and hope disappearing the family decides to hire Alice Vega, a private investigator from California that has become famous for returning missing children. After Vega arrives she brings former police officer Max Caplan in to help her solve the case and the two begin chasing down every lead possible to bring the girls home to their mother. Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is a thrilling suspense read as the search begins for two missing children which of course would have most readers on the edge of their seat. The investigators and gritty and tough and won’t quit until they find the missing children and get them home safely to their mother. While I enjoyed the intensity of the story with the missing girls involved I had a bit of trouble connecting to the main character, Vega. Obviously she’s meant to be all business and tough as nails but with little to go on about her she seemed a bit robotic to me. On the other hand I did come to love Cap, the single father who had left the police force and now working as a PI. There’s a touch of a romantic connection that quite honestly I could have done without too. I would also mention with this book I found it incredibly heavy on the dialogue, pages and pages of conversations to the point that I wondered why some of it is even included and a few times it felt a bit unnatural. I hadn’t picked up a book that relied quite so much on the conversations of the characters carrying the whole story so it seemed a bit odd to me. In the end there were some things I loved and some not quite so much but the story overall is one that is certainly a page turner leaving me to be open to trying this author’s work again in the future. I received an advance copy from the publisher via Penguin’s First to Read.

This story captured and held my interest from cover to cover, there were times I couldn't put it down, and I like a story like that. It's sad to say, but the things that happened in this story could easily be taken from today's headlines and it breaks my heart knowing there are sick people out there that would do these things to children. The only thing that is keeping me from rating it a five star is the ending of the story. Was the bad guy killed by the police or taken into custody? What about his wife? What happened yo her? Did they find the other missing girls bodies to give peace to the families? What happened to their daughter? Over all it was a great story and I have been already recommending it to my friends. Thank you for selecting me to be one of the first to read it.

What do you do with time running out, or has it already, as the bounty hunter Alice Vega and disgraced cop Max Caplan, Vega and Cap respectively teaming up together. Two young girls end up missing, and leads are growing cold, and then a pattern seems to appear, as your heart goes into your throat and violence seems to be around every corner, will these girls be found, and who is going to survive to the end? The author got my attention right at the get go, and held on to me to keep me quickly page turning. You never see what is coming, and could not even guess, the whole idea is so horrific, and you will want justice, no matter what kind. A book that is going to make you think that you really don’t know what is going on in someone else’s home, and maybe you don’t want to. I for one will be looking for more by this author! I received this book through Penguin/Random House First Read Program, and was not required to give a positive review.

I received an advanced copy of this book in electronic format from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted to goodreads.com I enjoyed this page-turner immensely and would enjoy a follow up as it seemed that Louisa Luna may have been setting things up to make Alice Vega and Max Caplan recurring characters in a series of investigations. I gave this book four stars mainly because of its intriguing storyline and fast-paced action. When time is of the essence and every second counts, these two private detectives let nothing – sleep, local police, uncooperative witnesses, etc – stand in their way from finding the missing girls and apprehending their suspects. The only question that remains is if they can pull it off.

I really enjoyed reading Two Girls Down. The fast pace kept me hooked and I thought the characters were well written. I especially liked the female lead Alice Vega. Hopefully we’ll get to learn even more about her in a sequel!

This. Was. Amazing. Luna's writing of the characters' personalities and how they interact with each other seemed very realistic with many layers, both good and bad. The plot itself was riveting -- two little sisters are kidnapped and parking lot footage of their last known whereabouts points to them having known their abductor. No ransom is being requested and clues seem to be leading the two P.I.s investigating the case in circles, especially when a prime suspect ends up dead from a gunshot wound to the head. The twists continue throughout the story, and the final turn in the case will leave readers breathless. I devoured this novel and will look for more of Luna's work. She's gained a new fan! I would recommend this for any lover of suspense, mystery, and Jodi Picoult-esque plot twists that you don't see coming.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept you involved and intrigued the entire time. Alice Vega is a force to be reckoned with. I could totally see a series written about her. The ending was bittersweet but worth it. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy!

For starters, it didn't take me near as long as it appears to finish Two Girls Down. If I'd had a physical copy of this book, I would've finished it in a day or two, but having it stuck on my computer while I was traveling for Thanksgiving made logistics a bit difficult. But that's really neither here nor there. Two Girls Down isn't the best mystery I've ever read, but it's a solid story, with plenty of action, some truly funny bits, a nice twist, and a pair of commanding leads. The story follows bounty hunter Alice Vega and ex-cop and PI Max Caplan as they investigate the kidnapping of two young girls. There's nothing cut-and-dry about this case, and Vega and Cap have their work cut out for them to find the sisters. I liked the way the mystery played out; the clues pointed every which way for a while, making it hard to guess the kidnapper until the final reveal. The different leads didn't feel silly or excessive, though, instead creating a twisted web of lies and secrets for Vega and Cap to cut through. Well, really for Vega to just beat the crap out of. I really liked Alice Vega. She starts off as a mystery, she ends still basically a mystery, but the glimpses into her life show why she's tough as nails. Her never-back-down attitude has served her well in her chosen profession, but it makes her a difficult character to relate to. It doesn't make her an unlikable character, but it keeps everyone including the reader at arm's length, adding a big ol' question mark around the true Alice Vega. But the mystery of her works, and I'm glad that while we're given moments of emotion and heart from Vega, the author doesn't really dive into her tragic backstory to overshadow the emotional trauma of the Brandt family. Instead we get a driven, kick-butt female lead that doesn't necessarily serve as an ideal role model, but her skills are definitely admirable. Vega knows how to get the job done, and she's not afraid to use false flirting or fists or threats to do so. Max Caplan, on the other hand, would much rather use his charm and his words. Cap is really the winning character for me out of this partnership. We get to learn more about his life--his history with the police department, his divorce, his relationship with his daughter (Nell! She was probably my favorite character in the whole book)--and I felt like he was a much more relatable character. Part of that is likely because the kidnapping takes place in his town, so we get to see his interactions, both good and bad, with people he already knows in one way or another. Through that, we're able to fill in holes in Cap's past and get a better sense of the man he is. While he's certainly not afraid to push buttons when it's needed, Cap is really 'keep them talking' and family first and take care of the victims, and it's his stark difference in personality, tactics, and motives with Vega that makes their partnership work so well. I appreciated that while a romance between the two was touched upon, it wasn't at all a main focus of the story. I'd certainly like to see them takes things further if this was meant to be a series, though. My only complaint with this book was that the ending felt a little abrupt. Once the case is over, things seem to immediately end. I didn't necessarily need to see how everything played out, but I would've liked a little more closure, especially if this is going to be a standalone novel. Overall, though, Two Girls Down is a great read. It's a tough topic, especially once the motives for the kidnapping are revealed, but it's a well-written mystery. Vega and Cap make a good team, and their differences make their partnership stronger rather than more contentious. And as horrible as the ending is, I was quite pleased with the twist in the reveal of the kidnapper. I'll definitely be picking up more of Louisa Luna's books, especially if there's more books starring Vega and Cap.

This is an amazing story. This book is thrilling and suspenseful. I couldn't wait to find out what happened. It is a great read. This story held my attention throughout the whole book. I couldn't put it down. I loved this story. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Sorry I was unable to download and I was really looking forward to reading

***Thanks to First To Read for providing me a complimentary copy of TWO GIRLS DOWN in exchange for my honest review.*** GRADE: A- 4.5 STARS When two sisters go missing outside a mall, the girls’ aunt calls in private detective Alice Vega, who enlists the help of disgraced ex-cop Max Caplan. TWO GIRLS DOWN starts off slowly but the unique characters kept me reading until I was hooked. Louisa Luna created messy, complex, highly imperfect characters who were always sympathetic. Jamie, the girls’ over stresses single mother initially responds with vitriol when she meets Vega and Cap. Who does that? I pictured myself in the situation thankful for any help. I thought of the parents of famous missing children and their tearful please for help. Not Jamie. Yet her unlikability works and grew on me until I understood who she was. Cap’s daughter Nell was my favorite character, bright and astute she had a great relationship with her father. I became more invested in TWO GIRLS DOWN 25% into the story and couldn’t put it down. While I didn’t guess the ultimate resolution, some of my theories were accurate. My only slight criticism was the lack of emotion I felt in certain areas of the story that should have watered my eyes. I wish Luna had put more heart into TWO GIRLS DOWN. I wouldn’t mind seeing Vega and Cap back together solving other crimes in the future.

 


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