Book Review: The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel
Published February 3rd, 2015 (English translation)
Genres: Crime Mystery/Thriller

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (3.5)

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(*I received a copy from NetGalley free in exchange for an honest review*)


Louise Rick has just been put in charge of the Missing Persons Department and her first case involves a woman who was found dead by a forest ranger in the are she grew up. No one has reported her missing, and no on seems to know who the woman is or recognize her. Identification should be easy because the woman has a large burn scar covering a large part of her face, but everyone the police talk to seem to have never seen the woman before. Finally, once a photo is released to the media, someone recognizes the face of the deceased woman and contacts Louise. She says the woman was once a child at a mental institution where parents left their children and were urged to forget them. Her name had been Lismette and she has supposedly been dead for 30 years already. An even bigger twist: Lismette had a twin sister who was also declared dead the same day.

As Louise is drawn back to places she spent much of her childhood, she has to face painful memories she thought long buried. Through the investigation into Lismette’s death and whereabouts from the last three decades, more murders are revealed and linked to Louise’s current case. People are keeping secrets and hiding things from the police, and where this leads Louise turns out to be filled with shocks and revelations for her.


This story took a while for me to really get into. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly what I expected when I started reading it.  The plot wasn’t entirely unique, but I still found myself speculating about how it would turn out, and there were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming. I did kind of predict a couple of things, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment very much at all. The story had  a few bits that I found kind of unbelievable toward the end, though.

I did not know, going into it, that this book is kind of part of a series. However, it can be read as a stand alone because—as far as I can tell—this is the first one featuring Louise Rick as the main character, while earlier books focused on her friend Camilla. I didn’t find myself confused very much, but I think I would have had a better idea of who some of the characters were if I’d read other books first. The author did a good job of giving enough background information to help readers catch up, though.

The premise of this book was great. The body of a woman who supposedly died 30 years ago is found, but where has she been all this time? What about her twin sister? Is she still alive? Have they been together all this time, and if so, where is the sister now? Add in the the other unsolved crimes that we find out about and this should have been a thrilling read. But, for me, it wasn’t. I have to wonder if some things might have been lost in translation.

I never connected with any of the characters, or felt for them very much. I thought Eik (Louise’s new partner at work) was intriguing, but we don’t get to learn very much about him, except that he smokes a lot, seems to be fighting some personal demons, and probably drinks too much. Louise’s back story was also interesting, but again we didn’t find out much about it. I want to know more details about her fiance and his old group of friends. Maybe in later books that will be addressed.

I can’t say much more without possibly giving spoilers, but I will say that I enjoyed this book overall. If you like crime mysteries/thrillers—particularly Scandinavian ones—you might want to check out this author.


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