Published: January 1, 2018
Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life—a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It’s ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Mark Foster has stumbled on uncanny parallels in the lives of the two missing girls that could unlock clues to a serial killer’s identity. That means breaking down the walls of the Willards’ long-guarded secrets and getting to a truth that is darker than he bargained for. Now, to rescue one missing girl, he must first solve the riddles that disappeared with another: Kelsey Willard herself. Dead or alive, she is his last hope.
Pretty Girls Dancing is Kylie Brant’s latest standalone novel, and the first book of hers that I’ve tried. It’s described as a dark thriller, although I disagree.
A series of kidnappings/murders is devastating a small town and the families involved. The world is believed to be done by a serial killer called the Ten Mile Killer (TMK for short). Okay, so a lot of this is probably pretty obvious from the description of the novel. The TMK villain kidnaps and tortures little girls. While the torture is necessarily graphic, it is still very much torture. Bodies are found during the course of the novel, as is (spoiler warning) a surviving victim. While they don’t use the word, it’s very clear that she has been sexually assaulted by her TMK captor. I know these themes can be upsetting to many, so just be aware of them going in.
The novel follows the story of the two involved families and the Special Agent trying to solve the second kidnapping.
I was reading along at a 3.5 star, 4 star sort of level, enjoying the story but not overwhelmed, until the killer was revealed. I haven’t been truly surprised in a long time, and this did it, and it did it legitimately without rabbits out of hats or illegal moves. I thought I knew who the perpetrator was, and I was way wrong, and so five stars, Kylie Brant – all of a sudden the book went from “good book” to “holy cow, good for you!”
The character development is good, not fabulous, but solid. Voices similar – they could really be a little more distinct than they are. Plot is great. Really liked Janie, the sister of the first kidnapped girl – she has a unique perspective and role in the plot.
Overall, solid book that I upped to five stars for surprising the daylights out of me!