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Cemetery Girl

Cemetery Girl

3.5 49
by David Bell

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A missing child is every parent's nightmare. What comes next is even worse in this riveting thriller from the bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know.

Tom and Abby Stuart had everything: a perfect marriage, successful careers, and a beautiful twelve-year-old daughter, Caitlin. Then one day she vanished


A missing child is every parent's nightmare. What comes next is even worse in this riveting thriller from the bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know.

Tom and Abby Stuart had everything: a perfect marriage, successful careers, and a beautiful twelve-year-old daughter, Caitlin. Then one day she vanished without a trace. For a while they grasped at every false hope and followed every empty lead, but the tragedy ended up changing their lives, overwhelming them with guilt and dread, and shattering their marriage.

Four years later, Caitlin is found alive—dirty and disheveled, yet preternaturally calm. She won’t discuss where she was or what happened. And when the police arrest a suspect connected to the disappearance, Caitlin refuses to testify, leaving the Stuarts with a choice: Let the man who may be responsible for destroying their lives walk away, or take matters into their own hands.  And when Tom decides to try to uncover the truth for himself, he finds that nothing that has happened yet can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in a small Ohio college town, Bell’s suspenseful, disquieting debut thriller gets off to a strong start. The disappearance of 12-year-old Caitlin Stuart, last seen four years earlier walking the family dog in a park near her home, has severely tested the marriage of her parents, Tom and Abby. When Abby seeks closure by scheduling a “funeral,” it places the final strain on their fragile relationship. Then the police pick up a teenager outside a mall late one night, somewhat dirty but basically okay, who turns out to be the missing girl. Since Caitlin, a private, self-contained child even before her abduction, is reluctant to share information about her experiences and captor with either her family or police, Tom wonders if she was somehow complicit in her disappearance. Tom’s search for answers to what power held his daughter captive drives the narrative, and all his relationships become defined by his quest. Readers compelled to join Tom in his journey deserve a less pat resolution. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Cemetery Girl

"Trust me: you have never read a missing persons story like this one....A fast, mean head trip of a thriller that reads like a collaboration between Michael Connelly and the gothic fiction of Joyce Carol Oates, Cemetery Girl is one of those novels that you cannot shake after it's over. A winner on every level."—New York Times Bestselling Author Will Lavender

"Cemetery Girl grabbed me by the throat on page one and never let up. An intense, unrelenting powerhouse of a book, and the work of a master."—New York Times Bestselling Author John Lescroart

"An utterly compelling thriller…an absolutely riveting, absorbing read not to be missed."—New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Unger

"Cemetery Girl is a smasher. It twists and turns and never lets go."—New York Times Bestselling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard

“Disturbing, brilliantly engaging and a must-read for thriller fans.”—Suspense Magazine

"A tense and terrifying journey that brims with emotional authenticity. Bell manages not only to build suspense effectively but also tell a story that goes way beyond simple thrills."—Booklist

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

-John Lescroart
"Cemetery Girl grabbed me by the throat on page one and never let up. An intense, unrelenting powerhouse of a book, and the work of a master."
From the Publisher
"A smart, tense, creepy take on the story of a missing daughter, told by her far-from-perfect father. If you think you know this tale—from all- too-familiar newspaper accounts, from lesser movies and books—then this terrific novel will make you think otherwise."—Brock Clarke, national bestselling author of Exley and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
-Will Lavender
"Trust me: you have never read a missing persons story like this one....A fast, mean head trip of a thriller that reads like a collaboration between Michael Connelly and the gothic fiction of Joyce Carol Oates, Cemetery Girl is one of those novels that you cannot shake after it's over. A winner on every level."

Meet the Author

David Bell is a bestselling and award-winning author whose work has been translated into six languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His novels include Since She Went AwaySomebody I Used to KnowThe Forgotten GirlNever Come BackThe Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl.

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Cemetery Girl 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
Cemetery Girl was an addictive novel, that kept me up till 3 in the morning to reach the conclusion. Bell weaves a believable tale of a parent's worst nightmare. He delivers it with an authentic voice in Tom Stuart. Protagonist Tom Stuart, father of Caitlin and husband of Abby tells this riveting story from his perspective. The story is broken into three parts. The first part deals with events leading up to Caitlin's disappearance. The second takes us through the aftermath and how it impacts them. In the third part of the book Caitlin returns, thin, dirty and silent. She is changed; gone is their beautiful vibrant daughter. This isn't how they imagined her return, and Tom is still seeking answers. This story while fictional could be ripped from the headlines of any news paper. It gives us an in-depth look at the chilling horror of having your child abducted. Tom and Abby are flawed, both as humans and parents. I would be naïve to believe I was a perfect parent. I think we all question ourselves. Bell's characters show us their raw emotions. They give voice to unspeakable thoughts making this all the more surreal. While this isn't a Stephen King novel, the tale is so real, so horrible that you will find yourselves checking on your kids in the middle of night. Cemetery Girl will leave its mark on the reader. The next headline of a child's abduction will draw you back in and make you think about the unthinkable. I will unquestionably be reading more of David J Bell's work.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Four years ago, twelve year old Caitlin Stuart vanished while walking the family dog Frosty. Her disappearance has left the relationship between her parents Tom and Abby on life support. Abby seeks to move on starting with taking Frosty to the pound as he is a reminder of Caitlin; Tom prefers to keep Frosty with them as he is reminder of Caitlin. He leaves Frosty at the shelter Abby prepares for a funeral of her daughter, which is the final shock to her marriage as Tom rejects her notion of closure supported by Pastor Chris. Tom's half-brother Buster comes for the funeral to support his sibling. Tom goes back to the shelter to retrieve Frosty, but he has been adopted. The police pick up a female teenager who is Caitlin. She refuses to discuss what happened to her with anyone. Though his daughter's personality has always been to keep things to herself, Tom fears she was intricately involved in her abduction. He needs the truth so he investigates his offspring's life for the last four years. This is a terrific family drama as David Bell provides a strong look at grief and closure are customized to the individual; what Abby needs is not what Tom needs and visa versa. The amateur sleuthing is fun to follow as Tom still seeks closure by learning what went down. Although the well written ending seems weak compared with the strong story line preceding it; aMr. Bell provides closure to the audience rather than an open ended "non-solution" that appears more appropriate. Still readers will appreciate the aftermath to when a terrible incident impacts family and community. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the description and all the reviews, I thought there were going to be some major twists and turns and a really unexpected conclusion. But no, it all boiled down to exactly what you would expect from an abduction case with Stockholm syndrome. The author set up a lot of really interesting scenarios, but then they all turned out to be plot devices he just sort of left hanging. How much was the brother actually know beforehand? Why does no one else notice the 12 year old "ghost girl" running around a small town? Neither of these grown men thought to report this girl to the police for her own safety? This small town police department really didn't bother to investigate what happened to Tracy? What was Liann's weird motivation? Lots of things were hinted at then never really addressed.
KALKY More than 1 year ago
"Cemetery Girl" is the story of Caitlin Stuart, a girl who disappears at age 12 and is found alive four years later. Caitlin refuses to talk about what happened to her while she was gone, and her father, Tom, struggles to uncover the mystery behind those lost years. "Cemetery Girl" is told from the perspective of Tom, and as the story unfolds, the reader is treated to great writing that relays so much more than the typical mystery/thriller abduction tale. The author, David Bell, does an excellent job examining the effect of a tragic event and its aftermath on the different aspects of a person's life, all while showing the varied reactions of people to crises. This is a thought-provoking book, and one that would be good for a book club. I imagine many readers will be made uncomfortable by the choices different characters make in the novel, and the discussion about those choices could be excellent. Finally, let me say that I love the cover art for this book. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of "Cemetery Girl" from the publisher; no payment was received for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This thriller grabs your attention at the beginning and never lets go. I found it very difficult to put down. Couldn't wait for all of the secrets to be revealed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plot kept me interested and twists in the story made it hard to put down. Satisfying ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good novel for a first book. Kept my interest as a father. Looking foreword to the other reads.
Adaptoid More than 1 year ago
Reads like a high school term paper with characters incapable of making intelligent decisions. The story-concept may have been interesting in another author's hands.
JeanBookNerd More than 1 year ago
David Bell¿s thriller debut, Cemetery Girl, is the story of the disappearance of 12 year old Caitlin Stuart and how her parents, Tom and Abby, coped with her being gone. Bell starts the story four years earlier after Caitlin¿s disappearance. Frantic and besieged, Tom vowed to never give up the hope that she is still alive and will come back home. However, Abby has given up and decides it is time to move on. She planned a memorial service and ordered a headstone as she felt the marriage ended when Caitlin disappeared. When Caitlin was found alive, she does not discuss the details of the events leading up to her disappearance and anything in between. Happy that his daughter has returned home safe, Tom is now on a mission to learn about her disappearance. The book is told from the perspective of Tom, which Bell did an excellent job getting the readers intrigued and fulfilled. His writing style made a sensitive issue easy to comprehend. The aftermath of Caitlin¿s disappearance tested the marriage of Tom and Abby and Bell¿s efforts to describe the different aspects and reactions of people were fantastically written. Cemetery Girl is a riveting and powerful novel, maintaining the reader on their toes until the end. Mesmerizing and full with torment, this captivating story shows to be a page-turner. It is a forceful ride, coiling through psychological territory and pulling the reader into emotional suffering. It is worth the read as the book is truly thought-aggravating.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Tom and Abby Stuart seem to be a couple with the perfect life until their wonderful 12-year old daughter, Caitlin, disappears without a trace. The only witness to Caitlin's disappearance is the family dog. Abby finds solace at church, Tom endures by tracking every lead and keeping their daughter's story out there. Their marriage starts to fall apart as they are both pulled in different directions. Abby needs closure and Tom needs to keep hope alive. Four years later their world is rocked again when Caitlin is found alive... Dollycas Thoughts I think the book cover synopsis gives away too much of the story and loses some of the suspense. That being said it is a gripping story. The psychological part of the story is very compelling as all three main characters deal with serious issues. Losing a child is devastating enough but having them return after time, while fantastic, trying to acclimate together again can be overwhelming. The entire story is told from Tom's point of view and his pain, agony, fear, mistrust, sadness and grief are all poured out on these pages. As his childhood memories are revealed you feel even more of these emotions. At times I thought her was hallucinating visions of his daughter, his mind trying to cope. Maybe because I was taking this journey so closely with Tom I found myself really not liking Abby and her relationship with her pastor really upset me. This author has a voice I will continue to watch. This is a smart novel with keen insight. There are many layers in this story that add to the story making it different from other stories with a similar premise. Parents will hug their kids tight after reading this all too real nightmare. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New American Library. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous 10 months ago
Jeanetteast More than 1 year ago
Never read his work before but I will be buying his books from now on. WHAT A READ! I read a lot & David Bell w/Cemetery Girl had me on the edge I started the book & couldn't put it down until I finished it. I have another of his books bought them on a whim. So glad I did, he really keeps you thinking & doesn't drag a story on, he just keeps you wanting more. If your looking for a good read this is it. WOW! What a wreiter!
Booker13 More than 1 year ago
I was VERY VERY disappointed in this book.  It was not a thriller, definitely not.  AND it was so cliche from the missing child to the marriage to the  iwife and husband.  I found nothing new or interesting in the book.  His writing style is disjointed.  AND THEN IT WAS OFF TO THE RACES TO TIE UP AS  many loose ends before the last page.  SO CLICHE THERE ALSO...NOTHING ENJOYABLE OR SATISFYING ABOUT THIS BOOK. The characters are shallow at best and from the get-go there is no feelings or sympathy for anyone, and the daughter is described in such a way as WHO IS THE PARENT AND WHO IS THE CHILD.SORRY I SPENT MY TIME WITH THIS ONE.
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
Boring. Couldn't get thru it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot's "twists" you will see from a mile away, the characters are undeveloped and unrelatable, and the ending is rediculous
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MollyMN More than 1 year ago
Disturbing. A grown man having a sexual relationship with a child under the age of sixteen is sexual abuse. Period. A twelve year old cannot give consent to a sexual relationship with a grown man. Period. It disturbed me that this point was not made abundantly clear in the novel. The only difference between a twelve year old child being forcibly taken away and being lured to run away is that the sex offender in the later case is smarter and more cunning. I suppose it is so much easier to assign blame to a victim than examine why we as a society still allow and accept the abuse of women and children. On the other hand, this is a novel, and the sexual victimization of women and children is still rampant and wildly tolerated in the USA. In the county that I live in, a person will literally do more jail time for driving without a valid driver’s license than for molesting a child. This is a fact. So the author’s portrayal of the conflicting attitudes and opinions in this novel does ring true. So does his griping account of anxiety and psychological disassociation. I also hate knowing ahead of time what is going to happen in a book or a novel. So at first I thought that the novel’s description was a spoiler, in that the girl doesn’t even make an appearance until halfway though the book. But actually, this enhanced the suspense. I found myself not able to put this one down.
Sonnyci More than 1 year ago
I was definitely curious about how this story was going to wrap up. I was interested enough that I decided to complete the book. Very different but overall was worth the time
memere5 More than 1 year ago
Did not expect the way this one turned out. This was a quick weekend read. Interesting, Keeps you wondering Who is the bad guys... and will this have a happy ending?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mediocre novel.
LM13 More than 1 year ago
Everyone in my book club gave it high ratings .. Averaged out to a 4...it's a quick read because you don't want to put it down
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is for anyone who really loves a great mystery ,but it is really a sad story and always has you guessing . It is sad to say it really is how a predator can get in the head of your child. I wish they would make a movie