THE FORGOTTEN GIRL by David Bell

THE FORGOTTEN GIRL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dark secrets emerge from a man’s long-ago high school days in this strong and moody novel.

Jason Danvers is questioned by Ednaville, Ohio, police about his missing friend, Logan Shaw. They’d had a fistfight over Regan Maines on the night of their high school graduation, after which Logan disappeared and hasn't been seen since. Seventeen years later, Jason answers a knock at his door and sees his alcoholic sister, Hayden, for the first time in five years. She drops off her teenage daughter, Sierra, explaining it’s only for two days while she deals with unexplained issues. But Hayden doesn’t come back. Is she in serious trouble? Jason and his wife, Nora, are happy to care for the bright and mature Sierra, though she steals (well, borrows) and damages their car. The couple stays remarkably levelheaded, given the stresses the author puts on them. Another woman, Rose Holland, also shows up at Jason’s door, “looking for that bitch sister of yours.…Tell her to stay away from my man.” So who is Hayden with? Each chapter quietly builds the mystery and pulls the reader along, despite the lack of hard-core action. Over the years Logan’s parents receive letters from him in various parts of the country, so at least they're assured he’s all right. But where is he? And where is Hayden? Can there possibly be a connection between the two? Meanwhile, Jason and Nora are decent people with little serious tension between them. The time the childless couple spent with a marriage counselor seems to have paid off, as they try to make an island of stability for Jason’s sister and niece. But danger crops up in unexpected ways, and the plot comes full circle.

Personal relationships are critical in this satisfying read, which is in the same class as Russell Banks’ The Sweet Hereafter.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-451-41752-7
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: New American Library
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2014




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