Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Published on 25 April 2017 by Kensington Books

The Girl Who Was Taken
Charlie Donlea

Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods. 

A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It's a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole's older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole's body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister's fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole's disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia's morgue--that of a young man connected to Nicole's past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected. 

But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you've been looking for. 

The Girl Who Was Taken is a rollercoaster of a read, and is quite a dark story, as Livia tries to find the answers to the girls abduction.  She is also full of guilt as she didn't answer the phone when her sister Nicole tried to call her on the night she was taken and was never seen or heard from again.

As Livia is a fellow in forensic pathology she has to carry out at least one autopsy every day, all very precisely described in detail and which I found fascinating, though I think some squeamish readers may find this hard to stomach, but I thought it was really interesting and all added to the story.

The story went back and forth in time, alternating between present day and the time before the abductions which worked really well in not giving too much information away too soon. I particularly liked the way we were given several suspects and also several red herrings too.

The suspense was drip fed gradually, at just the right pace, slowly building up the tension.  A well-written story, with surprises and twists which kept me turning the pages quickly.

My Thanks to Kensington Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this absorbing and clever novel.

Available to buy from
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository

Meet the Author

Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Summit Lake was his first novel. Readers can find him online at charliedonlea.com.

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