From the New York Times bestselling author of Justice for Sara and The First Wife Erica Spindler comes The Other Girl, a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.
"Explosive.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A fantastic thriller from one of the best in the genre!” RT Reviews
A horrific crime. One witnessa fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?
Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisisbut that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.
When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.
Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any copthe one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in commonexcept Miranda.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author ERICA SPINDLER has written more than thirty novels, including The First Wife, Justice for Sara, Watch Me Die, Blood Vines, Breakneck, and Last Known Victim. She lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.
Read an Excerpt
Harmony, Louisiana 3:10 A.M.
Harmony PD Detective Miranda Rader parked behind the two cruisers already at the scene. Their flashing blue lights violated the otherwise still, spring night, bouncing off the trees and surrounding homes, spinning and tilting like a carnival midway on crack.
She closed her eyes and for a moment she was fifteen again. Police lights bouncing off the trees. This knot in the pit of her gut, this sense that nothing was going to be the same, not ever again.
She let out a pent-up breath and flexed her fingers on the steering wheel. Shake it off, Miranda. Focus.
She grabbed the ponytail holder she kept in the car's front cubby and gathered up her shoulder-length brown hair. She couldn't work with her hair in her face and she sure as hell didn't want to leave any behind. She popped a piece of peppermint gum in her mouth and climbed out of her vehicle.
Victim was Richard Stark, an English professor at ULH, and even more important, the university president's son. In a college town like Harmony, that was as close to royalty as you could get.
Miranda breathed deeply, her gaze on the brick two-story and the crime-scene tape stretched across its entrance like a clown's freakish grin, beckoning: Don't be afraid. ... Come inside, see what thrills await.
Miranda slammed the car door and started up the walk. Gerald LaRoux, fresh out of the academy, manned the door. Judging by his greenish pallor, this was young LaRoux's first murder.
He straightened as she approached. "Detective Rader," he said and held out the log.
She signed in, then met his eyes. "How're you doin' tonight, LaRoux?"
"Hangin' in there, Detective." He handed her Tyvek booties. "Chief said you'd need these."
That meant blood, blood spatter, or other biological evidence. No wonder LaRoux was green around the gills. "It'll get better," she said. "You get used to it."
"Yes, ma'am. That's what they say."
She took the booties. "Cap's with the vic?"
"Yeah. Master bedroom. Through the great room and to the right."
The chief met her at the bedroom door. Buddy Cadwell, a fireplug of a man, broad and thick but short, filled the doorway despite his lack of height. He exuded confidence and sheer strength of will.
So it had to be the lighting, because Miranda could have sworn the thirty-year veteran of the force looked shaken.
"What've we got?" she asked, bending to slip on the booties.
He cleared his throat. "Stark was stabbed several times in the chest, his throat was slit, and he was —"
He bit it back. She glanced up from the booties. "And what?"
He hesitated, as if searching for the right word. "Let's call it dismembered."
It took her a moment to find her voice. "You've got to be kidding me."
"That's all I'm going to say. I want to get your take, unvarnished."
"Gotcha." She fitted on her gloves. "What about Jake?" she asked, referring to her partner, Jake Billings. "Is he on his way?"
Buddy shook his head. "Just you and me for now."
"You and me?" She cocked an eyebrow. "What's up?"
"Jake has ties to the university community, because of his parents being professors. I think it's best if you and I handle the initial investigation."
She hesitated a moment, still finding it odd that he'd be here instead of one of the other detectives.
As if reading her thoughts, he added, "Ian Stark and I have known each other for a long time. I thought it should be me here first, as a courtesy."
He moved aside and she stepped into the room. The vic lay face up on the bed, naked and spread-eagled, hands and feet tied to the bed rails. As Buddy had described, Stark had been stabbed multiple times; the blood spatter decorating the floor and walls would have done abstract expressionist Jackson Pollack proud. And, as a sort of cherry on the top of this blood-fest sundae, the perp had cut off Stark's penis and stuffed it into his mouth.
It peeked out at her like some one-eyed alien creature and her stomach lurched to her throat. She forced the queasiness back. Getting weak-kneed was a luxury she couldn't afford. It wasn't just that she was a woman in a man's field, needing to prove herself every single day. It went deeper than that, to the essence of who she wanted to be, the person she had crafted her life around: solid and dependable, good under pressure and cool in a crisis.
The person everyone trusted.
She focused, took in the scene; really took it in. The blood — on the ceiling, walls, and bedding. Stark's gaping throat, like an obscene second mouth.
Another wave of nausea threatened her and she forcefully tamped it back. This was a homicide, just like the many she'd worked before. Hell, just last week old Mrs. Tyson had whacked old Mr. Tyson on the head with an iron skillet. She hadn't meant to kill him, she'd tearfully told Miranda, she just couldn't take his criticism anymore. All it had taken was forty-two years of complaining and a chicken-fried steak dinner to cause a sweet old lady to snap.
That Miranda understood. But this bizarro kink-kill? No way. She stopped beside the bed. So, what had precipitated this perp's breaking point? Now, that was a question she could focus on.
Her gaze settled on the neckties that had been used to bind his wrists and ankles. Silk, from the look of them. Looked expensive. And judging by the bright splashes of color and bold patterns, Stark hadn't been the typical buttoned-down English professor. A peacock, she thought.
Miranda shifted her attention slightly. A sailor's knot. She bent, studied the knot. It was good and tight; the perp had known what he or she was doing. And Stark had struggled to get free. Raw skin on his wrists — and ankles, she saw a moment later — where the fabric had rubbed as he fought.
Miranda straightened. Most probably a woman, although they couldn't eliminate a man until they knew Stark's sexual orientation. Crime of passion. Enacted in a frenzy.
Problem. Miranda drew her eyebrows together. Something missing.
She moved her gaze over the scene again, slowly, absorbing. The passion in the crime, she realized. The frenzy in the frenzied act.
She looked toward the doorway, and Buddy waiting. "Where are the footprints? Whoever did this would've been dripping blood. Where's the trail?"
He nodded. "You tell me."
"This perp was mighty pissed off. No doubt it was personal. But being passionate about killing someone doesn't make a crime of passion."
"Our perp's a sailor. This is a bowline knot. Well executed, I might add," she said as the chief crossed to stand beside her. "The beauty with this knot: the harder Stark struggled, the tighter the knot became. He couldn't have escaped even if he'd managed to get, say, a hand free. This baby is impossible to undo when there's tension on it."
"Where'd you learn about sailing knots, Rader?"
"Old boyfriend. From my couple years in New Orleans." Another time in her life that she preferred to leave in the past. "My thinking is, if your bondage game's just for fun, a less serious knot will do. I'm going to call this strike one against the crime-of-passion scenario."
"With you so far," he said.
She motioned to the bed. "This is a king. Stark's in the middle. He's stabbed in the chest, his throat is slit. Perp's got to be on top of him."
Buddy agreed. "That'd be a long reach from the side of the bed, and even if our unsub could, the angle's wrong."
"Pattern of blood spatter seems to bear that out," she said, pointing. "Bet the angle of the wounds will as well." She motioned to the vic again. "So, she's straddling him, all nice and cozy."
"So, where was the knife?" he asked.
"She hid it beforehand. Maybe in her purse or with her clothes. She ties him up, nice and tight, then goes and gets it. He goes from hot and bothered to begging for his life."
Buddy pursed his lips. "Like you said, she's mighty pissed off. She wants him to be scared, to beg for his life, or cry like a little girl. That's part of the satisfaction for her."
"Which brings us back to the footprints," he said.
"Exactly. So she does the deed, climbs off him, and heads to the bathroom to shower off the blood."
"And there, her clean clothes are waiting, no doubt neatly folded."
"Right. But she cleans up before she dresses." Miranda smiled grimly, visualizing the crime being carried out. "She's thorough, takes her time. It's the middle of the night and she's not worried about being interrupted."
Miranda made her way to the master bathroom, Buddy behind her. The bath was large and luxuriously appointed. The walk-in shower was big enough for two — or even three — people. Party central. On the floor in the corner nearest the door sat a heap of bloodied bath towels. On the counter by the sink stood a bottle of spray cleaner with bleach.
"Look at the bottle," Miranda said. "It's all but sparkling. She wiped everything."
"One problem — the towels. Why didn't she take them?"
"She didn't take those towels. My guess is the towel she dried herself with is long gone." Miranda crossed to the shower, peered in. "Quite the little housekeeper. I can see practically see myself in the fixtures, they're so shiny."
She looked over her shoulder at Buddy. "This was no crime of passion, Chief. It was a premeditated, thoroughly planned murder."
"Strike three," he murmured, the corners of his mouth lifting, the way a parent's would at a child's achievement. "We'll get her. No way she didn't leave something behind. A hair, a drop of blood, saliva. A missed fingerprint. No matter how careful she tried to be, trace gets left behind."
"What's next?" Miranda asked.
"You're lead on this. Billings assists. You good with that?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"Call him in now. And as much as I hate to admit it, this scene is way bigger than the HPD can handle. We're gonna need the Parish's crime-scene unit for the biological and trace collection."
She'd already come to the same conclusion. "You want to call?" she asked. "Or should I?"
"You do it," he said. "I want a report as soon as you and Jake wrap up here."
Jake arrived moments after the crime-scene van. Miranda finished directing the evidence-collection techs and went to the door to meet him. "Billings," she said. "Welcome to the party."
He bent to fit on his booties. "I'd say thanks for the invite but I was in the middle of a pretty amazing dream."
"Sorry I screwed up your good time."
"Want to hear about it?" He glanced up at her, laughter in his eyes, "I'm happy to share. You may be surprised."
"It's a little early in the morning to plunder the depths of your perversions."
He straightened. "Heart. Broken. You're a cold-hearted woman, Rader. Just sayin'."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I've heard that before."
His warm brown eyes crinkled at the corners. "I'll bet."
"LaRoux said Chief Cadwell was here earlier."
She motioned him to follow her. "Yup."
She looked over her shoulder at him. "Not so much. Victim's Richard Stark."
"You know him?"
"Met him through my folks. Seemed like a good guy but not someone I'd hang with."
"Seemed like he was his favorite subject."
"Gotcha." She stopped at the door to Stark's study. "We called in the parish techs to collect biological and trace evidence. They just got started."
"I saw that. Doesn't seem like a call you or the chief would make. What's up?"
"Vic's in the master. Take a peek, then ask me that question."
She watched him head off, then turned to Stark's cluttered desk. Organized chaos; obviously, Stark spent a considerable amount of time here. Open laptop. What looked to be a manuscript in process. Notes and notebooks, papers being graded. Half-full can of Red Bull.
She flipped through the stack of mail; nothing of note jumped out and she moved on to the computer. She tapped the return button; the device sprang to life. He'd been on Facebook. The page of a woman named Rhonda Peale. Miranda checked her profile: she was a fellow professor at the university.
Jake returned. "I could've lived my whole life without seeing that. For a moment I thought I was going to puke."
She looked up at him. "You are a bit green."
"Right. So why did our perp think he deserved that? That's what I want to know. Come take a look at this."
He crossed to stand behind her.
She indicated the monitor. "Time stamp suggests Stark was here at his desk, cruising around Facebook at midnight. Last thing he looked at was this profile."
"Yes. And guess what — she's a psychology professor here at ULH."
"Abnormal psych, by any chance?"
"Funny." Miranda clicked on Stark's messages. "Bingo. He contacted her just before midnight. 'Free tonight,'" she read, "'Come on over.' Looks like we've got ourselves a suspect."
"Could be, but she didn't reply. Wouldn't she have?"
Miranda frowned in thought. "Maybe she saw the message and called him."
"Maybe. What if she wasn't the only woman he messaged last night?"
"Good point." She scrolled through. Messages were almost all to — and from — women. Girls, a lot of them. University students — asking about a lesson, complimenting him on a lecture. Some obviously flirting, but to his credit he kept his responses professional.
"The guy was obviously a player," she said, "but nope, the lovely professor's the only one. Via Facebook, anyway."
"It's a start. Have you collected his phone?"
"Haven't even seen it but haven't searched. Bedroom is my guess."
He made a face. "Lucky me. You going to finish with the desk?"
"Yeah," she said, turning back to it, carefully sliding open the desk's center drawer. "Keep me posted."
Pens. A pack of teeth-whitening gum, two thumb drives, a pad of Postit notes, and several receipts, all from favorite hot spots around town. She bagged and labeled the items she felt could prove useful, then moved to the side drawers.
The first contained hanging files, each neatly labeled. Class schedules. Research. Expenses. Taxes. She stopped on the last. Passwords. That would come in handy, she thought.
She went to the opposite drawers. The top contained a mishmash of office supplies and, tucked way into the far corner, a bag of weed and a pipe. Recreational, obviously, and nothing to be killed over.
She moved on to the bottom drawer. Used yellow legal tablets, a dozen of them. She slipped out the first, thumbed through it. Notes, research for the novel he was writing. Character outlines.
Miranda flipped forward, skimming, and stopped on a character profile.
Ava Strong. Math teacher by day. Dominatrix by night.
Interesting, considering the way Stark's real-life story ended. She turned the pages. It seemed to be an intersecting story novel, each new character a client of Ava's. She wondered at the story's ending — would one of the clients end up dead?
Miranda looked over her shoulder at Jake. "Perp must have taken it." She indicated the legal pads. "Stark was writing a novel. Guess what the main character was? A dominatrix."
"Interesting. In a really creepy way."
She nodded. "I thought so, too."
"Research gone bad, maybe?"
"It's a possibility." She turned back to the legal tablets. "I'm going to bag them all. If nothing else, it'll be entertaining reading."
As she lifted them out, a yellowed news clipping fluttered to the floor. She retrieved it and her heart stopped. It was a short piece, not even a half a column, from the Harmony Gazette. About a teenager who'd sent the police on a wild-goose chase in an attempt to divert the authorities from her own infractions — possession of an illegal substance and underage drinking. The sixteen-year-old was charged in juvenile court and sentenced to six months in juvenile detention.
Not sixteen, Miranda thought. They got that wrong. Fifteen and scared out of her wits.
Jake, she realized. Looking at her from across the room, eyebrows drawn together in question.
"You made a sound."
Headlights slicing across the dark road. Pinning her.
He motioned toward the news page. "What's that you're reading?"
She glanced at it, then back up at him, meeting his gaze evenly. "An article about an out-of-control teenage girl. Someone I knew."
Excerpted from "The Other Girl"
Copyright © 2017 Erica Spindler.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am the kind of person who will read countless reviews to try to determine which new book to purchase. Well I was not disappointed by this one. It was truly a page turner, and one I could not wait to get back to.
Hard to put down. Lots of twists. Throughly enjoyed reading.
I found this to be a quick and easy read. A good one for a vacation read!
When she was just 15, Randi Rader got caught up in a horrifying situation. At the time, no adult believed her story. Fast forward 15 years and she is now a police detective. When she is called upon to investigate a murder, her past will suddenly come back to haunt her in ways she could never imagine. Wow! This is my first Erica Spindler novel and all I can say is - where have I been? It was fast paced with great suspense that went down to the last page. This is definitely an author I need to read more often. ARC from St. Martin's Press via Netgally
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Miranda Rader has outgrown her wild days and is now an upstanding citizen and police officer, but when a murder in the small town starts bringing up pieces from the past, she must confront it head on. There are only a few chapters that take place in the past, but they were perfectly timed and just enough to get the glimpse of what happened to Miranda and why she is who she is now and even a peak into the people who were around then and now. I loved them, but didn't need any more than were provided.
In Erica Spindler's The Other Girl, her newest thriller yet to date is so twisted and compelling, it would make your head spin. Fifteen years ago, Miranda "Randi" Rader was a troubled teenage girl who had gotten into trouble. When someone picked her up, she cried rape. And no one believd her. Now, she's a grownup and a detective for the Harmony PD on a most disturbing case. When she and her partner, Detective Jake Billings, arrived on the crime scene of a murder college professor, things aren't what they seem to be. While they worked the case, she discovered a news clippings from fifteen years ago that thrown her back in the past. Now her boss, Chief Buddy Cadwell, questioned her, since she had no gloves on the scene of the crime. Later on, she discovers a haunted link to her past, when he's been identified as Richard Stark, the same person who tried to rape her. And she couldn't stop thinking about the other girl who she tried to find help for back then. As Jake and Miranda become closer as intimate lovers, and her brother reaches out to her about her no-good mother, it had put her in a quandary. While she confides in her best friend Summer who bartends at her own bar, things go bad to worse as new daunting evidence turn up with another blast from her past wounded up dead. As Cadwell turns up the heat on her, she put together the pieces from that one night and waits for it to clink it. In the end, when thought she had it figured out, Miranda never believed how close she was and who had done it and why.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a Five Star book. I enjoyed the song female characters. You're rooting for the underdog and hoping for justice throughout the book. This book held my interest from start to finish. Lots of twists and turns throughout the book. I thought I had it figured out from the begging but I was only right about part of it. The ending is a perfect fit. My only complaint is the self-talk of the main character, Miranda. She continually reminded herself to “let it go” through out the book. It was unnecessary but did not detract from my enjoyment. I highly recommend this book. If you like Gone Girl or Lies She Told you will like this book.
Miranda Rader is an officer in the police force of the small town in Louisiana where she grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Estranged from her family, she has spent 14 years working hard to bury "Randi"Rader, considered by most people to be a liar and a sneak, who spent 6 months in juvenile detention on a drug charge after a terrible traumatic night. She has done a pretty good job in erasing her past until she is called to the gruesome murder of a popular English professor, son of the college president. As the investigation progresses, things just don't add up for Miranda. Then she is implicated in the crime and her carefully rebuilt life begins to crumble. There are quite a few secondary characters, most of whom are not so nice, who seem insignificant, but are they? The twists and turns in the plot leave me suspecting most of them at one point or another. I liked Miranda a lot but I was ambivalent about her partner and lover Jake. She forgave him when I don't think I could have and indeed I was surprised that she did. This mystery is well plotted and well written with believable dialogue. It has mystery, suspense, some romance and an interesting backstory. I have read other books by Erica Spindler so I was excited to get the chance to read a review copy thanks to Netgalley and the publisher.
The Other Girl is a riveting and fast-paced crime-thriller. I loved every page of this engrossing novel. The book came alive for me with its well-developed characters, natural dialogue, and realistic crime scenes. Every sentence moved the story along; there were no boring pages in this superbly crafted novel. Detective Miranda Rader was a small town Louisiana girl. Although she had once been a wild and rebellious teenager, after spending six months in the court system, Miranda’s attitude changed dramatically. She didn’t want to end up like her loser father, spending more time in jail, than out. As a result, Miranda spent several years studying and perfecting her career in law enforcement. She thought that her past was dead and buried. Miranda, however, was mistaken. After investigating a local college professor’s gruesome murder, Miranda’s past sprang up from the grave in a flash. As more deaths, were discovered, fingers started to point at her; and the investigation got real personal, fast. Either someone was setting her up to take the fall, or she was losing her mind. She no longer knew who she could trust and who she couldn’t. But Miranda had worked too hard to become a respected officer, to go down without a fight. And fight, she would. Erica Spindler is an outstanding writer. Once I started this book, everything was put on hold for the day, until I finished it. I absolutely loved it! Highly recommended. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
Miranda has overcome a lot in her life. She was attacked when she was young, arrested for pot, sent to juvie, and basically disowned by her family. She overcame all these things to become a detective. But, her past has come back to haunt her and take her down. Miranda was raised hard and she is a tough, no nonsense detective. So of course I related to her right away…strong women hit the right spot with me. She is living in a mans world determined to overcome and she succeeds. Then a murder occurs. One which cause so much havoc and trauma she may lose all of what she has achieved. I hate it when innocent people are accused of something they did not do. It frustrates the devil out of me. I know this type of plot makes a good storyline and it works! I just read faster and faster trying to get Miranda out of this mess. Which is exactly what the author intended. This is a fast paced read. If I had not been working, I probably would have finished this in one sitting. This has a wonderful rhythm. However, it is just a regular mystery. I very seldom mention the price of a book…that is up to the reader on whether it is worth their money. But, $12.99 for this ebook. Not sure it is worth that money. I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
Very well written with strong characters!
I went into this book with no expectations. It's not in a genre I normally read so I didn't have much to compare it to nor did I honestly have a strong interest in reading it but decided to give it a go when it arrived on my doorstep. The Other Girl is an interesting enough read, just not for me, so keep that in mind with this review. This book is a really quick read. Not only is the physical length short but the plot moves quickly, spinning the reader in one direction or another. I can't say that those directions felt surprising as I found the story to be a tad predictable, but they kept things rolling. I can't say the same for the writing itself. It just didn't hook me in a way that made me want to keep reading; rather I read because I knew I could finish the book in a couple hours. Due to the length of the book, I think the ending was rushed too much for my tastes. If the story had been drawn out longer, I think I would have enjoyed it more but there just wasn't enough there. This left the story and the characters with very little depth to really hold on to. I didn't care about any of the characters and read more from a distance instead of engaging fully in the story. As I mentioned, this is not a genre I tend to go for and found this book to be a fast but average read, perfect for mystery thriller fans looking for a standalone between your other reads. Just don't go in looking for an in-depth mystery.
Officer Miranda Rader thought she had put her troubled youth behind her. That is, until the murder of a local college professor brings her past into the present. As she investigates, more and more questions arise, and the mistakes she made in the past put her own credibility into question. What really happened fifteen years ago? Will she ever be able to let go of her past? There was a lot of potential in this story. The plot was decent, but not particularly well-executed. A different title should have been used. The relationship between Miranda and her partner wasn’t fleshed out enough, and the cadence of the story became awkward and stilted whenever their fledgling relationship was the focus. Towards the end there is a misdirect that was entirely too brief to be effective. And the explanation for Miranda’s being pulled in didn’t really work for me. But. The reflections on her past were well done and really helped me buy into Miranda and empathize with her situation. While her budding romance with her partner felt contrived, her connection to everyone else in the story felt much more real and natural. And I liked her, identified with her, and empathized with her. Connecting with the main character is essential for me, so that aspect of the story made up for some of the shortcomings. Ultimately, it was ok. As I said, there was a lot of potential in the story, and I did like it. But there were several areas of the book that were off-key and threw off my overall reading experience. I’d definitely give the author a second chance in the future. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
A cop with a past that is catching up to her, that pretty much sums up the story. Fortunately there is more to the tale. An important man, with important parents, is found dead. Miranda is called in to the scene to be the lead on the case. What she finds is a man that she thought was in her past and someone trying to frame her for his murder. There were twists and turns, many characters that could have done it, yet there is only one murderer. Erica Spindler gave enough clues that I had an idea who is. The Other Girl has police procedural that was realistic and easy to follow. I liked that Miranda didn’t take anything, even her bosses word, at face value. She had feelings that things were off and she followed those feelings as she needed to solve the crime. I recommend picking up your own copy of The Other Girl and devouring it just like I did. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The Other Girl by Erica Spindler is a recommended police procedural. Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is called in to investigate the brutal murder of popular English professor Richard Stark, son of the powerful university president in this small town. The murder has every indication that it was one of great anger and planning. While Miranda is now a successful, respected police officer, she has a past. When a newspaper clipping from her past is found at the scene along with her fingerprints, it seems that someone is trying to set Miranda up, but why? The clipping is from 2002 when she was a teen. At that time she was known as Randi, and she was from the wrong side of the tracks. After an assault that was never confirmed and an arrest for possession, she spends some time in juvie. This was the impetus that propelled Miranda to turn the direction of her life around. Now someone is trying to set her up. But the case is more complicated than that because Miranda realizes that the victim was also a sexual predator and has likely been abusing woman for years. To complicate matters even more, now is the time her partner, Jake, decides to confess his love for her. The Other Girl starts off strong with Randi's misguided actions in 2002 and the present day brutal murder of a man who has a hidden past. Chapters continue to jump between the past and present to explain the connection. The novel, however, soon veers off course and becomes a mash-up of subplots. If you want a little romance with your police procedural and don't care about surprising evidence being uncovered or a shocking conclusion, this is a well-written book. Yes, it relies heavily on several tried and true plot devices and stereotypes, but it flows smoothly and is a quick read. Spindler brings it all to a conclusion. There were problems that made me feel The Other Girl is just an average mystery. The fingerprints at the scene, the chief questioning her integrity, the chief's cowering before the university president, combined with her personal life, the sudden romance, the estranged family, etc. (there are more issues) all resulted in the feeling that generic subplots were all mashed together in this one novel. This culminated in more than a few eye-rolls. The whole romance portion could have (and should have) been left out. The idea that Miranda is a smart, intuitive investigator never makes sense because she's not approaching everything in an intelligent manner. Spindler has written better novels, so, for me, this is a good airplane book. It'll help pass the time. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.
I have been hooked on Erica Spindler books for some time now. This book does not disappoint. Detective Miranda Rader is investigating a murder of a prominent citizen of their small town. Miranda had lived there all her life. Memories of a young girl in trouble, abandoned by her family, betrayed by the town's sheriff. No one would believe her. Someone was in trouble. She worried and wondered what ever happened to the Other Girl! Suspense, passion, intrigue. Fabulous read!
Biggest question after reading this excellent book? Why haven’t I ever read a book by Erica Spindler before now? I definitely did miss out on a great author and her work. That said, I loved this book. The suspense build up from the very first chapter and held ‘til the very end. I was pulled in from the start and couldn’t put the book down. I was with Miranda Ranger every step of the way. Felt her fear, anger, helplessness and growing shock in realizing that the people, she thought of as friends, might be her worst enemies. And then, when I thought I had it figured out, there was a twist and a sneaky turn and I was thrown for a loop again. Highly recommended! I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press!
The other girl is a brilliantly written mystery crime novel that will leave you guessing until the end! I am a big fan of Erica's work and this is no exception. Miranda (Randi) Raider is an inspector called to investigate the the murder of a local college professor, a man with high social standing in the community. She and her partner Jake investigate, but when it's found Miranda has a connection to the case from fourteen years prior and has broken rules she is pulled from the case completely. After being questioned about her involvement in the crime, Randi starts to uncover things about her past that affects her present. Those she considered allies turn into enemies and her enemies she makes peace with. The end brings a saddening twist but forces past crimes to be acknowledged. I love the characterisation development in this novel of a young girl seemingly from a bad family who brushes with the law ,to have an event tip her life upsidedown and change her outlook to become a better person. She still has faults however that show themselves in the book and make you like her even more. The "baddie" also isnt your usually baddy. You still feel for them even though they have killed others. The description of the scenery in the novel is vivid enough for you feel as though you're experiencing it for yourself (especially when reading on the odd day that it is warm in Britain!) This book is fast paced and brilliantly written, with twists and turns that leave you guessing until the end, I love Randi as a character and would love to see her and Jake again in the future.
I was really excited to read The Other Girl when I read the blurb on NetGalley. I mean, it was a murder mystery with a heroine who wasn’t perfect. So when I got the email stating that I was accepted, I was pretty excited. I love a good murder mystery with a strong female heroine but I was also a bit cautious in my excitement. See, I have been burned by books that have excellent blurbs but the story wasn’t that great. I am happy to report that The Other Girl lives up to its blurb. I felt a little bad for Miranda but at the same time, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t leave Hammond if she was regarded in such a bad light. It seemed to me that she put herself through a whole bunch of stress trying to live down her past. It was her past as a wild child who lied that came to haunt her during the murder investigation. See, Miranda (known as Randi back in the day) hitched a ride with the wrong person and something terrible happened to her and the girl who was with her. She managed to escape but when she told the police, they didn’t believe her and one of the police officers openly mocked Randi. That night, she decided that she was going to turn herself around. Which she did and all was right in her world until this murder, 15 years later. I can tell you now that I knew that the chief was dirty, as was the father of the murder victim. The father was so shady acting it wasn’t funny and the chief was way to quick to point fingers at Miranda. Way to quick and that sent up a red flag early in the book. Not going to get more into it and if you want to know what I am talking about….read the book. The romance between Jake and Miranda was cute but honestly, I didn’t think it was needed. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the main character getting laid but I didn’t think that it was truly needed in this book. It did show that Miranda had a softer side but I think that was shown in her interactions with Summer. Speaking of Summer, I had a clue about who she was about halfway through the book. I thought that her whole storyline was incredibly sad and I really wasn’t surprised when things went down the way that they did. I did admire her feelings of friendship for Miranda…regardless of what happened later in the book. The end of the book was pretty standard. I will say that I wasn’t surprised at who the killer was. But, what I did enjoy was that all the storylines got tied up and resolved. I was extremely happy about that because things actually got resolved. I do hope that the author chooses to write more with Miranda’s character. I would truly enjoy reading another book with her as the main character. **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
I received an ARC for an honest review. Erica Spindler has done it again and has delivered another amazing book. The Other Girl was a great book, I could not put it down and was so sad when it ended. I loved Erica Spinder's characters, from the main characters Miranda and Jake to the supporting characters Robby, her mother, Summer, Chief Buddy Cadwell and the Starks. The were so believable. The story is about Detective Miranda Rader, a girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Harmony, Louisiana. The books bounces between events that happened to Miranda (Randi) fourteen years ago and the current day. Considered "trash" by the local police, no one believed Randi's story of her alleged kidnapping when it happened fourteen years ago. Randi was found with an ounce of marijuana is her pocket and spent six months in a juvenile detention center. Fast forward to current day, Randi Raher has changed her name and image to Miranda Rader, Harmony police detective. Miranda is called into investigate the horrific murder of a local university professor, Richard Stark, in his home. Richard, happened to be the university president's only son. Somehow Miranda's fingerprints are discovered at the gruesome murder scene, and she lies to give a reason why her fingerprints would have been at the scene. Miranda's partner, Jake Billings, covers for Miranda's lie, because he is in love with her. Jake announces his feelings for Miranda, and they begin a relationship. The more Miranda and Jake investigate his murder, the more they discover that Richard Stark was not a very nice man. As they are searching his home, Miranda discovers a yellowed newspaper clipping about her arrest fourteen years ago. That gets Miranda thinking that perhaps, Richard Stark was her abductor. She never got a good look at him., he had an Alabama ball cap on his head. Miranda has always wondered what happened to the other girl in the front seat. As the investigation continues, Chief Cadwell removes Miranda from the case and eventually he suspends her from the police force. Miranda drowns her sorrows at the local bar, the Toasted Cat talking to her friend the owner/bartender Summer about that night fourteen years ago and getting removed from the investigation. Even though she was removed from the case and the force, Miranda keeps investigating both the murder and her abduction and how they might be connected. The book kept me wanting more and kept me guessing who murdered Richard Stark. In the end, everyone is held accountable for the injustices that they allowed to happen all those years ago and enabling Richard to continue those actions. The book has a bittersweet ending, but it left me hopeful that this would not be the last adventure between Miranda and Jake. Hoping that Erica will continue the series between Miranda and Jake. I loved the book. One of my favorite books that I have read recently.
I love Erica Spindler's books. I always know that I am getting a good read and a good bang for my buck. As usual, this one did not fail. I was a little disappointed that I knew like in Chapter Two who the suspect was, but really did I know who it was? I really only knew what part she had played in the main character's, Miranda Radar, life. So the suspense was on. Lots of suspects but which was "the other girl" in Miranda's life? I sped through this book and it seemed like the shortest 352 pages I have ever read. That's how involved I was in the story. Another excellent read by a great author. Filled with suspense, action, and a strange murder, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
This is a book that surprised me, a lot! The Other Girl's cover and blurb intrigued me, but I had never read anything by Erica Spindler before so I wasn't sure the book would suit me. I read a lot of thrillers, and it takes a lot nowadays to really charm me. However, this book had everything I wanted in a thriller, a compelling story, well-developed characters and an ending that made me question my conviction on whom the killer is. Seriously, I was quite sure for a long time who the killer was, but at the end, did Spindler twist the story so much, and throw in a couple of red herrings that made me question my belief. I won't tell you if I was right or not, but I ended up quite pleased with the resolution. I can say that this is the kind of book that, despite perhaps not being that surprising still engrossed me from the beginning until the end. I was captivated. I'm so delighted in this book that I need to find me some more Erica Spindler books to read. So, in the end, I just want to say that The Other Girl is a superb thriller, a page turner that kept me entertained all the way until the end!
What a fantastic, chilling read! Be prepared to be totally immersed in this story as Spindler weaves the past and present into one heart-racing thriller. I read this book in mostly one sitting, simply unable to put it down. This is my second book by Erica Spindler and all the proof I need that she deserves a spot on my "go-to" author list. I look forward to exploring more of her books. Detective Miranda Rader is a respected, ten year veteran of the Harmony, La. police force. She has earned the respect of fellow officers and her commander through years of hard work and dedication to her job. But it hasn't always been so as witnessed in her sordid past of lies, wild parties, drugs, and alcohol. How many times can a young girl yell "wolf" before everyone stops believing her? Fifteen-year-old Miranda found out one dark, rainy night and ended up branded a liar and a slut. The resulting chaos and devastation led her to flee town, leaving behind the family who turned their backs on her. Miranda made her own second chance and is a different person now, keeping her old life buried. That is until the day she's called out to investigate the brutal, ritualistic murder of a beloved college professor and finds a piece of evidence tying her to the murder scene and linking to her buried past. Things quickly escalate out of control when a cop also turns up dead with evidence pointing an accusing finger at Miranda. It seems her past has finally caught up with her, placing her in imminent danger as her new life is torn apart. Is someone seeking revenge by setting her up? Or is Miranda finally seeking vengeance against the ghosts of her past? Intense, fast-paced action kept me burning through the pages of The Other Girl. The detail-oriented plot is enhanced by an atmospheric setting, lending a dark, ominous tone of impending gloom and doom to the story. The characterizations are spot-on, beautifully crafted, leaving me questioning who I could really trust and whose loyalty is a mask. There are some twisted surprises in this story . . . some I figured out ahead of the reveal and some I didn't. Either way, they don't deter from the reading pleasure of this intriguing, mesmerizing suspense thriller. A Must Read!
A great thrilling fast paced suspense book that kept me up late into the night then picking up again first thing in the morning! Miranda is a police officer in the town she grew up in. She and her partner are called to the scene of a murder and all the evidence points to Miranda. Miranda must figure out who is trying to frame her and who the murderer is and clear her name. It was a great book and I can't wait for the author's next book!!! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Erica Spindler has caused me to be very tired at work today. Started The Other Girl last night and could not put it down until the tale was told and the mystery revealed! Amazing characters, plot, twists, turns, never ending action. Being a fifteen year old girl from a poor home and forced to use spunk to navigate bad luck; Randi Rader has risen to the top. A new location and name can do wonders to change perspective and achieve self esteem. So Miranda Radar is a detective on the police force but has come to realize the past cannot be outrun. Given the lead on a gruesome murder should be a great opportunity but instead seems to be a set up to accuse Miranda for the deed. A classic example of people not being who they seem and a friend being disguised as a ruthless enemy. A bit of romance and quite a bit of graphic violence. "A copy of this book was provided to me by St. Martin's Press and author via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read and my comments here are my hones opinion."