Three Drowned Girls
April 26, 2024

Book Review

Three Drowned Girls

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Emily Shiner brings suspense and great characterization to Three Drowned Girls, the first book in the Detective Freya Sinclair series. Freya returns to her hometown of Fawn Lake, North Carolina after leaving five years ago.

Her roots are a sub-plot in this story. The body of a young girl is found in the river on her first day back as captain of the detectives in the small police department. Soon another girl is reported missing by her father, and a third girl is found drowned. What is going on in this small town?

Freya is loyal, dedicated, driven, and honest. However, she’s not great at letting new people into her life and she doesn’t let those in power intimidate her. She’s a strong protagonist with a strong sense of justice and determination that made it easy to support her. Candy Ellinger is her only detective for now. She and Freya communicate well. She’s also not afraid to tell Freya what she thinks. Brad Williams is a patrol officer who wants to be a detective. He’s the one she can call on for extra help when cases require it. Chief Callahan knows Freya’s background and rehired her, but he doesn’t fully trust her judgment yet.

A chilling prologue is the start to this dark and disturbing series. Freya’s background is sprinkled throughout the novel so readers gradually understand why the town may not be welcoming her back with open arms. While this is a crime thriller and a police procedural, the police procedural part had a few misses for me. The lack of evidence bags and gloves when searching for clues was one glaring error. Additionally, the pacing was a little uneven in places. Despite this, the twisty plot had me fully engaged in finding the killer and determining what was going to happen next.

The storyline is gripping, grabbing readers attention immediately and transporting them to the world of the victims and the investigators. There are several sub-plots that keep the investigators and readers wondering how or if they are interrelated. The tension was high as the detectives try to understand the events and race to solve the case.

Overall, this exciting, intense, and disturbing novel is a powerful page-turner with great characterization and tension that feels alive. This book demanded my attention and was a fast read. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Those who enjoy dark crime thrillers may enjoy this series.

Bookouture and Emily Shiner provided a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently expected to be April 22, 2024.

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