Two Girls Down

Two Girls Down

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 Ca...

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Title:Two Girls Down
Author:Louisa Luna
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Two Girls Down Reviews

  • Debra

    I could not put this book down! I read this book over the course of one day. Brilliant. Two Girls Down is a page turner with well developed characters, an intriguing and well written plot, suspense and a feeling of dread.

    Jamie is a single Mother to two young daughters, 10 year old Kylie and 8 year old Bailey. She is running errands and goes into a Kmart ALONE (R U f'ing kidding me? Who leaves kids alone in a car?)to buy a birthday present. While she is in the Kmart picking out a gift, her daugh

    I could not put this book down! I read this book over the course of one day. Brilliant. Two Girls Down is a page turner with well developed characters, an intriguing and well written plot, suspense and a feeling of dread.

    Jamie is a single Mother to two young daughters, 10 year old Kylie and 8 year old Bailey. She is running errands and goes into a Kmart ALONE (R U f'ing kidding me? Who leaves kids alone in a car?)to buy a birthday present. While she is in the Kmart picking out a gift, her daughters get out of the car and are not seen again. Later they are seen on camera walking around, going into an ice cream shop, and then walk out of the camera's frame. Gone. Missing. Abducted. It doesn't help that eye witness accounts vary and not all eye witnesses are viewed as reliable.

    Jamie's family calls in a tough as nails bounty hunter named Alice Vega to help find the girls. Vega has a reputation for finding people that the police cannot. While in town Vega hires Max Caplan, a private detective who was once a police officer who resigned after a scandal. The local police are also on the case but they are stretched thin and the family wants answers as the clock is ticking. The police are not happy that Vega and Cap are also investigating which adds some angst to this story. Every second counts in child abduction and even the feds are eventually called in to find the missing girls

    Initially there is not much to go on but Vega has the assistance of an unknown Computer hacker/whiz called "the Bastard". As their computer whiz begins digging up info, Vega and Cap have information to go and start the process of eliminating suspects. Along the way they get leads, some of which pan out, some of which don't really seem to go anywhere. I appreciated seeing them investigate false leads as not all police investigations are cut and dry. This gave the book a very realistic feel. As the clock ticks the duo follow every lead hoping to find the girls.

    As I previously stated, I read this book in one day. It was a real page turner for me. I really enjoyed both Vega and Cap. I thought they had good chemistry together. Both were tough in their own ways, they both were driven to find the girls and each had a no-back-down attitude. I also liked that even though there were hints of attraction, and not so subtle hints between the two, this did not become a romance. Throughout the book, there was a feeling of dread as the two young girls are missing and there are seemingly very little clues. Will they be found alive? Will they be harmed? Could they have been taken by a child molester? Were they sold? Will there be a ransom? Are they dead? There are so many questions about the girls besides just their whereabouts and who may have taken them.

    Another mystery in this book was bounty hunter Alice Vega. We know more about Cap and his life. But Vega is also a little bit of a mystery. She reveals very little about herself in this book. She opens up some to Cap but overall, she herself is a mystery to the reader. Which made her character even more interesting to me.

    I loved that the plot was fast paced which helped keep the pages turning but added more suspense and anxiety as the girls lives are at stake. I could almost feel the anxiety that the characters in this book must be feeling while trying to track down the girls and their abductor/abductors. This book was brilliantly paced, well written and had a great story. This was my first book by Louisa Luna but it will not be my last.

    Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley who provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    See more of my reviews at

  • Liz

    Talk about how to grab a reader. “Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen: police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s…”.

    What Luna does is get the characters exactly right. In just a few pages, she was able to nail the main characters. I loved Cap from right off the bat. An ex-cop and current PI, he loves his teenage daughter and the two of them together just seemed re

    Talk about how to grab a reader. “Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen: police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s…”.

    What Luna does is get the characters exactly right. In just a few pages, she was able to nail the main characters. I loved Cap from right off the bat. An ex-cop and current PI, he loves his teenage daughter and the two of them together just seemed real. And Alice Vega, as well, unsuccessfully trying yoga to calm herself down. By the end of the first chapter, Luna had me sold.

    This is a fast paced book that kept me totally engaged. One of those books i was loath to put down. Lots of phrases that would just nail a scene or a character. Like this “he saw Jamie for what she was: an unstable element, a cut wire spraying sparks”. Yes, Alice is a tad unbelievable, in a Jack Reacher kind of way; she always has a solution to getting what she needs. And I didn’t quite connect with the little bit of romance in the book. But overall this book gets a definite thumbs up and I will definitely seek out the next book that Luna writes.

    My thanks to netgalley and Doubleday Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • Mackey St

    4.5 stars

    Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is everything that a good mystery/thriller should be! This fast past story was riveting, character driven, dark and twisty from beginning to end! Alice Vega, as the ceaseless bounty hunter, was an enigmatic character that drew you in and made you anxious to know more.

    In a small town in New Jersey, two girls are taken from a shopping mall parking lot. After a few days without progress, the family calls in Alice Vega, a bounty hunter/private detective with a

    4.5 stars

    Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is everything that a good mystery/thriller should be! This fast past story was riveting, character driven, dark and twisty from beginning to end! Alice Vega, as the ceaseless bounty hunter, was an enigmatic character that drew you in and made you anxious to know more.

    In a small town in New Jersey, two girls are taken from a shopping mall parking lot. After a few days without progress, the family calls in Alice Vega, a bounty hunter/private detective with a great record for finding people. She enlists the help of "Cap," who was forced into resignation from the police department.

    This would be a run-of-the-mill chid abduction/P.I. story if it weren't for the extremely well drawn characters. Vega is one of the most captivating main characters I've come across in ages. In turn, the chemistry that develops between Vega and Cap is electric. It's not romance, it's not over done, it's the tingling hope of what could or might be. The missing girl's mother is perfectly portrayed as a very flawed but still good mother who is completely unraveling before our eyes. Finally, Cap's teenage daughter Nell - thank you Louisa Luna for giving us a bright, well articulated teenage girl who does not make us hate her within the first chapter! I love her and the relationship she has with Cap. Each and every character, from the main to the minute, were brilliantly captured by Luna.

    Despite departmental politics and strange leads that appear to go nowhere, Vega has her methods for solving puzzles, most of which fall outside the lines of the law. In the end, however, she gets her bounty! I guarantee you that this is one puzzle you will not want to miss!

    Many thanks to Netgalley, Doubleday and Louisa Luna for an advanced copy of the book.

  • Larry H

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

    I love when a book you stumble upon by an author you're not familiar with turns out to be a terrific read. Such was the case with Louisa Luna's

    . It's a well-written, suspenseful whodunnit with some pretty fascinating characters.

    A single mother, sometimes Jamie Brandt just needs a break from her two daughters, 10-year-old Kylie and 8-year-old Bailey. They're always wanting something, needing something, and she's just tired. What she wouldn't give

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

    I love when a book you stumble upon by an author you're not familiar with turns out to be a terrific read. Such was the case with Louisa Luna's

    . It's a well-written, suspenseful whodunnit with some pretty fascinating characters.

    A single mother, sometimes Jamie Brandt just needs a break from her two daughters, 10-year-old Kylie and 8-year-old Bailey. They're always wanting something, needing something, and she's just tired. What she wouldn't give for a few minutes of peace.

    On the way to a birthday party, Jamie and the girls stop at a strip mall so Jamie can pick up a gift. She's just going to be five minutes, and she knows letting the girls come into the store will only lead to fighting, whining, and chaos, so she leaves them in the car with the ignition running. When she comes out of the store about 10 minutes later, her car is there but the girls are missing.

    With the town's police force stretched beyond its means due to budget cuts and a growing drug epidemic, Jamie's family hires Alice Vega, an unorthodox bounty hunter with a good record of finding missing children. The local police don't take too kindly to Alice's involvement in the girls' case despite the fact they can't devote any resources to it, so she decides to turn to Max "Cap" Caplan, a former police detective who resigned from the force in disgrace.

    Cap is trying to put his past life behind him, but it isn't rewarding taking pictures of cheating spouses and tracking down bail skips, so as much as he wants to avoid interacting with his former colleagues, there's something about Alice Vega that draws him in.

    Alice and Cap make a commanding pair, and they start making progress on trying to find out what happened to the girls, which of course leads to the inevitable run-ins with the police. Little by little they have to determine which leads are false and which have potential, which people pose a threat and which people were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time, and uncover just how deep this crime runs within the town. At the same time, Alice and Cap have to struggle with their own demons, knowing every second they delay or ponder could result in the girls' deaths, if they aren't dead already.

    I thought Luna did a great job with this book. Like with so many mysteries, I suspected nearly every character that popped up in the narrative, and I kept hoping she wouldn't disappoint me by taking the easy way out. I thought the resolution of the story was a little more complicated that it needed to be, but it definitely affected me, because as depressing as it was, I know that Luna didn't just invent this scenario out of whole cloth.

    There was a good amount of tension and some great action, I thought Cap was a terrific character, and Alice is a bit of a badass! Luna knew how to ratchet up the suspense and toss in some characters you can't figure out if you should root for them or not. I don't know whether she intends this to become a series, but I hope to see more of Alice and Cap. There's so much I'd love to know about their backstories, too.

    I really enjoyed this and read most of the book in one day. I'll definitely be looking for the next book in Luna's career! This one is worth a read.

    NetGalley and Doubleday provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Dennis

    Louisa Luna's

    is a binge-worthy whodunnit crime fiction novel that realistically paints how rural America is affected by today's drug epidemic. The story starts off with single mother Jamie Brandt taking her two daughters Kylie and Bailey to the mall so they can get a gift for Kylie's friend's birthday party. Jamie is a struggling single parent in a town where income inequality is rampant. Denville, Pennsylvania is a small town outside of Philadelphia—modest, poor, ignorant, and

    Louisa Luna's

    is a binge-worthy whodunnit crime fiction novel that realistically paints how rural America is affected by today's drug epidemic. The story starts off with single mother Jamie Brandt taking her two daughters Kylie and Bailey to the mall so they can get a gift for Kylie's friend's birthday party. Jamie is a struggling single parent in a town where income inequality is rampant. Denville, Pennsylvania is a small town outside of Philadelphia—modest, poor, ignorant, and proud, 'Murica. After Jamie returns from the mall to get her daughter's friend a gift, she is startled to see that her daughters are missing. The kidnapping of Kylie and Bailey Brandt has received considerable attention in the news; throwing the town of Denville on a loop. The police force is struggling to find any leads, so the Brandt family hires private investigator Alice Vega to help with the case.

    Alice Vega is a no-nonsense Californian who acts first and speaks later. She has an impeccable track record in finding missing children, arriving to Denville and ready to investigate. The town doesn't take to Alice very well—they too proud to accept her services. Alice quickly starts figuring out that things in Denville aren't exactly what they seem. Everyone has an alibi, everyone has a story, but who has something to gain from these two missing girls?

    was a very interesting read for me because when I first picked it up, I was initially thinking,

    , but I was happily mistaken. Alice Vega might actually be my favorite heroine

    . She is a bad ass to the Nth degree! She is witty, strong, funny, smart—ugh I can keep going. I really hope Louisa Luna continues writing stories including Alice Vega because she really is just amazing and nothing I can say here can perfectly describe how much I fangirl over her. Alice Vega easily gives me the ability to give this read a 4 star rating without even batting an eye.

    I also really enjoyed the way the plot began to unfold before my eyes. I really thought this story was going to take a certain turn, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. It kept me on my toes and captured my attention. The story unfolds in an interesting, unique way; without the gimmicky plot twists that many novels are throwing out there to try to shock the reader. Ms. Luna also intelligently mentions the drug epidemic sprawling throughout America; showcasing it through the town of Denville and its inhabitants. I really haven't picked up anything recently that portrays that aspect of American society and it was something that actually made me take a second to think about. It was a really robust story that pieced everything together seamlessly.

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