In Cristina Alger’s Girls Like Us (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), FBI agent Nell Flynn returns to her hometown in Long Island, NY, to settle the estate of her homicide detective father. They were estranged, and she hasn’t been home in ten years. Soon Nell is aiding in an investigation of a series of gruesome local murders of young undocumented Latino women, and all clues point to a broader conspiracy involving her father.
Alger is the bestselling author of the Swiss-based thriller The Banker’s Wife, and this equally absorbing new novel pairs non-stop suspense, expert pacing, and sharp dialogue with rich evocations of life in a coastal town on Long Island.
Nell’s return to Suffolk County is a difficult one, and once her father’s estate is settled, she plans to leave town and never look back. Nell’s father was killed in a motorcycle crash at the age of fifty-one, and Nell’s mother has been dead for twenty-one years.
Nell was just seven years old when she and her father returned from a camping trip to discover her dead, the victim of a sex crime by a teenage neighbor. Nell’s current leave of absence from the FBI after being shot in the shoulder during an investigation of the Russian mafia compounds her circumstances.
Shortly after arriving home in Long Island, Nell is contacted by a high school friend named Lee Davis who was her father’s relatively new partner on the police force. Lee is investigating the grisly murder of a local undocumented female immigrant whose body was found buried close to a mansion where parties for the Washington elite are thrown.
Nell agrees to go to the crime scene, and Lee details how the case is eerily similar to another unsolved murder. Prostitution is suspected and the possibility of underage girls being provided for entertainment at the parties.
Having grown up with Lee, Nell questions his suitability for homicide, and the visit with him to the crime scene confirms it. Nell doubts Lee can handle the case without the help of her more veteran father.
It also makes her question Lee’s superiors and others on the force. Why would they assign what will prove to be a high-profile case to a newly minted homicide detective? She agrees to help.
The pair soon discovers evidence that points to wide-scale corruption in the Suffolk County Police Department involving a prostitution ring of illegal immigrants who fear deportation. The long-term members on the force are like family to Nell, including Glenn Dorsey who is her godfather, and the revelation makes her question many of her father’s police force alliances.
As Nell grapples with the potential duplicity and the suggestion of her father’s involvement in the victimization of vulnerable young women, she is also forced to question the truth about who murdered her Latino mother.
As the thriller moves to its explosive conclusion, Alger expertly heightens the tension as Nell and Lee get closer to the truth and become the latest targets.
Girls Like Us is now available for purchase.
Read more here.