In Two Girls Down, author Louisa Luna introduces a new series — or at least I hope it becomes a series — featuring a strong, determined private investigator named Alice Vega who specializes in finding lost children.
She is called upon following the apparent kidnapping of two young sisters from a Pennsylvania shopping mall after being left alone in a car for a few minutes while the mother runs in to make a purchase. The mother is a blue collar worker who finds the wheels of justice don’t necessarily turn as quickly when you’re lower income, especially when your small town’s police department is up to its neck in heroin and meth cases. To make working with the police a bit easier, Vega convinces Max Caplan — a former policeman who resigned amidst a scandal — to help her find the two missing girls.
While pedophilia is rampant in this story, there is never a point where I felt uncomfortable or thought the author was being gratuitous. She told her story without the need for graphic details.
I found the main characters to be complex, interesting, and likable, despite numerous flaws. Cap is the divorced father of a teenaged girl, which makes him even more determined to find the missing girls. Should this become a series, I hope his daughter has a strong presence because I found her to be eminently interesting.
At first, it appears that Cap and Vega will have an antagonistic relationship; however, it isn’t long before each develops a grudging respect for the other. While there was only a hint of their apparent chemistry, the two detectives will make a formidable duo should the author decide to continue the series.
A good start, and a compelling read by a new writer in the popular genre of thrillers.