The Forgotten Girl was the first book I read by David Bell, and I really enjoyed it. Jason and his wife Nora struggled in their marriage when Jason’s former junkie sister, Hayden, dropped off her daughter at his home without much explanation. Within a few chapters, Hayden was missing and the events surrounding the disappearance of Jason’s friend during high school was revisited. As the actions of Jason and his former friends on the eve of graduation were slowly revealed, it was clear that there would be weighty ramifications to their teenage behavior.
Jason was an average guy, which made him likeable. I appreciated the dialogue between the characters, and especially liked that Hayden’s daughter, Sierra, questioned some of the contrived and predictable phrases used by Jason because it made their discussions seem more realistic. There was a simplicity about the writing that showcased the characters as ordinary people in a way that made me connect with them. Hayden’s disappearance alone wasn’t an overly exciting plot event, but Jason’s impassioned reaction to it intrigued me and I found myself wondering how this story would end in between readings. The plot events and character reactions alerted me to the fact that the townspeople had some major secrets, and these all culminated in an intricate and twisted ending that more than satisfied me.
This was a solid mystery I was fortunate to get my hands on.