Charlie Donlea, one of the most original new voices in suspense, returns with a haunting novel, laden with twists and high tension, about two abducted girls - one who returns, one who doesn't - and the forensics expert searching for answers.
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 best-selling 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.
I absolutely LOVED The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea! This was my first book by this author, and it won't be my last! I'll allow you to read about the plot yourself in the description, rather than retelling it to you, but I will say that it is fantastic! It kept me fully engaged from start to finish and on the edge of my seat dying to know what was going to happen next! I definitely did not predict any of the surprising twists that are packed within these pages. And, the ending...wow! Never even crossed my mind the story would end up that way! Charlie Donlea is a great storyteller...to plan out and then write a book like this takes some serious skill and patience! Whew! Great job!
The narration is exactly as I imagined the characters to sound. Nina Alvamar did an excellent job! I would love to listen to more books she has narrated. Her pronunciation, pace, volume, and inflection were right on, in my opinion.
I give this book 5/5 stars across the board and recommend it to those who love the thriller/suspense/mystery genre, as well as to those who enjoy books told in alternating viewpoints as the chapters progress. Fans of authors, such as Mary Kubica, will definitely enjoy The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea.
Thank you for reading my review. :-)
179 of 187 people found this review helpful
Such a great book. Great plot development, intriguing story. I don't want to ruin anything, because I think it is definitely worth the read, but I was frustrated at the ending. However, I was not "depressed" after reading this book. Personally, I like dark novels. This book was dark, but I would not describe it as excessively twisted or vulgar. Definitely a great read if you like past/present storylines and unexpected twists.
80 of 89 people found this review helpful
OMG I was not expecting this book to be as good as it is. Young women are being taken and held hostage. The man wants them to love him. Each time they misbehave or disappoint they get an X, three X's and he kills them. Girls who've been missing for months or a year or two start turning up dead. All but one, she gets away. The problem is she doesn't remember anything about where she was held or by who. That is until the end and that revelation will blow you away.
The book does leave you wondering a bit at the end about a last body found or maybe it just leaves the end up to the reader...
The book is good and very interesting. I enjoyed this author's writing style. I listened to his other book, "Summit Lake" and thought that was very good but this book far surpasses his other. I think this is an author I will definitely be watching for. If you like Robert Dugoni you will like this author.
Nina Alvamar does a wonderful job narrating.
This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
72 of 81 people found this review helpful
I guess we just can't believe glowing reader reviews on Audible. I usually come out kind of middle of the road opinion-wise, so sometimes do take those reviewers seriously. I can only think some of these must have been paid by the word - as I assume the author was, given the verbose mouldering pile of this book. For awhile I held out, thinking that with the given elements this could turn out to be an interesting read, but really, how far would I have to suspend reality to believe that sexual predators are just lonesome souls looking for love. And I don't know what to make of the metamorphosis of Daisy the Rottweiler into Daisy a Pit Bull in just a few short chapters. That would be quite a trick for a dog.
So I might as well mention, though it seems petty by comparison, that some of the word usage was so far off the mark it made me wonder if English was the author's first language. Was the reader really saying &quot;diverted her eyes&quot; instead of the conventional usage &quot;averted&quot;? I wonder what diverted eyes would look like. I thought I must not have heard right, but by the end was feeling ungenerous enough to blame that on the narrator.
In short, this book needs more than just a good editor. It needs an author capable of creating a serious mystery, not just a cut and paste of every morbid teenage horror story that crops up around Halloween. If I hadn't fallen asleep while this was playing, I never would have reached the last chapter. Seriously, it was an ordeal, and I hope this review will help save someone else the pain.
120 of 137 people found this review helpful
Loved the book, was not thrilled with the ending. I like closure and this book did not offer closure. Overall it was a great book that keeps you guessing.
38 of 43 people found this review helpful
I don't often find a book and scares me, or leaves me just a little breathless. I often figure out who the perp is, but Charlie Donlea led me on a merry, scary race.
This book was excellent, as is the other Charlie Donlea book I read. Very creepy. Good read.
25 of 29 people found this review helpful
I will admit for me The Girl Who Was Taken had a somewhat slow start to it as I tried to decipher exactly what was going on with Megan and Nicole. It seems at the start of the book that Nicole had escaped that night and Megan taken but then Megan turns up and Nicole never had.... confusing? A bit. With jumping ahead in time and switching the point of view here and there the book took a while for me to settle in and get truly invested in the story but I was quite glad I stuck with it in the end.
Now as for the story and answers to what happened that night overall with the girls I actually found the outcome to the book a bit rushed. One of those twists and turns and intricate plots that took a while to uncover but when I got there I was quite satisfied that my random guesses throughout the book were no where near the mark and it was definitely a page turner once it got going for me. I never guessed who the murderer was until the end. But there were also loose ends that were never explained which I found a bit frustrating.
I do like Mr Donlea's style of writing and will try another of his books.
Nina Alvamar was very good with the delivery of the story
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Girl Who Was Taken again? Why?
A 100 per cent. This book was interesting, entertaining, engaging, well developed, and unique. The characters were excellent and the ways in which the narrative was told from multiple points of view (including the novel's villain) and from various points in time, slowly piecing the narrative together with the introduction of new pieces of knowledge that constantly enrich the story, was excellent. This was one of my favourite books I have listened to on Audible.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Yes; refer to above answer.
What about Nina Alvamar’s performance did you like?
She felt like the characters herself; especially Nicole. She brought the characters to life and constantly engaged the reader.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
The question isn't "why was she taken?" it is, "how did she escaped?"
18 of 21 people found this review helpful
There were two instances I just knew whodunnit, but in the end I was shocked! Isn’t that enough to love a mystery?
There are two main characters, a victim who escaped and a Medical Examiner resident in a Fellowship at NCState. I have a friend who is an ME here in Greensboro. She puts on training for crime scenes, for first responders and some famous and not so famous authors. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet she worked with Donlea.
Regardless this is a tremendous mystery!
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
I was getting into the book - But have a couple of issues..
1. I'm still trying to figure out the timeline and see if everything works.. They went back and forth so much - It's a little hard to tell.
2. It's not one of those books you never wished would end. It dragged unnecessarily long - Especially towards the end..
3. I really hate scenarios where someone will tell another person over the phone - I know who took me - But I want to tell you in person.. Just tell the person & Then tell the story afterwards.. Also - A little dramatic towards the end... And drawn out..
Other than your husband getting shot Mrs Lincoln - How was the play?
Not bad actually.. It had a pretty good idea in there..
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
i have listened to a lot of this genre and found this book had me wanting to listen more and second guessing who i thought was guilty. likeable protagonists also.
good story line and characters. well presented. thoroughly enjoyed this book and narrator. well worth reading.
The narrator was easy to listen to, and the story was addictive. I couldn't get enough of the story. Disturbing and memorable, this story will shock you to your core. If you like disturbing thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, read it.