By: Gerry Schmitt
Publisher: Berkley Books NY
Publication Date: July 2016
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 29, 2016
Gerry Schmitt delivers engaging, edgy suspense in her latest thriller, Little Girl Gone.
Susan Darden leisurely made her way through the Minneapolis mall without a particular place in mind. When she saw the Doll Show exhibition, she was immediately drawn to the life-like crafts on display. Her beautiful baby girl, Elizabeth Ann, immediately came to mind as she approached the woman standing by the table. Susan struck up a conversation with Marjorie Sorenson. It was vital that Marjorie allow this obviously affluent blonde woman to initiate the conversation. It didn't take Susan Darden long to take the bait. The baby dolls have been crafted with a precision hand and eye for detail...so lifelike...reminding Susan of her real cherub, Elizabeth Ann.
Afton Tangler is a liaison officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. She and her friends are on a weekend climb. As she traverses her way up the difficult wall, little does she know her weekend adventure is about to end.
Ashley Copeland breathes a sigh of relief now that the Darden’s have left for the evening. This is her second babysitting gig this week and thankfully, baby Elizabeth Ann is fast asleep in the nursery which will make this payday easy money. The doorbell rings and Ashley wonders if the Darden’s are back already. When she opens the door and sees the disheveled mess of Ronnie on the other side, she is confused. Who is this guy and why does he have a pizza box? Unfortunately, Ashley’s brain doesn’t give her the time needed to process the answer to her question. Within seconds, Ronnie the pizza guy delivers a crushing blow to her face and the aftermath of hell breaking loose ensues. Baby Elizabeth Ann has been kidnapped.
I have not had the pleasure of reading any of Ms. Schmitt’s Afton Tangler Thrillers and must say, Little Girl Gone is a great incentive to go back and do so. From the inception of this read, Schmitt skillfully lays plot and accelerates intrigue. Across each page, there is a chilling anticipation of dread focused on: ‘just wait...there’s more...’ There is no doubt Ms. Schmitt is the master and director of her pen and knows how to draw her readership in with the anticipation of each precisely placed word. Her characters are credible and the set up to each scene complements the ease of engagement with the storyline. Schmitt’s voice is easy to detect early on and her ability to thread the needle of a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller is spot on. I enjoyed turning each page and welcomed the element of surprise throughout. I am a fan and highly recommend this read to all those readers who covet a solid thriller to read. Well done Ms. Schmitt. I look forward to your next body of work.
Quill says: Little Girl Gone is a must-read to take along on a weekend getaway. It’s a fast-paced, captivating and action-packed read.