WHO’S KILLING THE GIRLS OF WILLOW BAY? When the body of a missing girl washes up on the banks of the Willow River, the killing is linked to two cold case murders, and the investigation must uncover the twisted motive of a serial killer before he kills again.
Still reeling after her sister’s brutal murder, grief-stricken Eden Winthrop has returned to Willow Bay, where she runs the Mercy Harbor Foundation, a safe haven for victims of violence.
When a teenage trafficking victim disappears from a shelter run by her foundation, Eden is drawn into the search for the sadistic killer. The hunt becomes personal when Eden's niece is abducted just as the body of yet another victim is discovered in a local river.
In a desperate effort to save her niece, Eden must partner with the small-town police force that had failed to save her sister. And to catch the killer, she realizes she must trust the one man she vowed to never forgive and summon the strength to face her deepest fears.
The gripping first book in the page-turning Mercy Harbor Thriller Series will keep you up at night.
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The River Girls by Melinda Woodhall is the first book in the Mercy Harbor thriller series. It introduces Eden Winthrop who runs a shelter for abused women in honor of her sister Mercy whose life was snuffed out prematurely. Eden blames herself for her failure to protect her sister, so when a troubled teen showed up at the shelter, then disappeared she made it her duty to locate the girl which led to her filing a missing report. Her desire to help the teen intensified when a friend of the same teen turned up dead in the Willow River. Meanwhile, Detective Nessa Ainsley receives a call from an inmate at the local detention centre who was calling to report her daughter missing. Is this the same girl who came to the shelter or is it the one whose body the police found in the river?
I found this to be an interesting read. The story began with a murder in progress. The villain believes he is trying to save his victims, who comprises young girls who find themselves in unfortunate situations. Besides the missing girls, there was sex and drug trafficking and police corruption.
I thought the author did a good job with character development. I love stories that feature strong female leads and The River Girls delivered in that regard. In this story, we get not one but two strong female leads. I enjoyed getting know both women. Eden appeared fragile, but that was a facade as beneath that fragility lay a woman who was not afraid to face danger to protect not only those she loves, but also women whom she believed were in need of protection. Detective was no pushover. As the only female in her unit, she had many male egos to contend with, but she held her own.
The secondary characters who helped in solving the case as the villains helped to stir things up and made for some interesting moments.
I thought the mystery was well done. There were several plot threads, and the author did a great job in tying them together to make for a suspenseful and mysterious ride. This is one of those mysteries, which keeps you guessing, and then things begin to slowly unravel to all the pieces fit together.
The narration was ok, but it did not blow me away. I was not a big fan of the accent used for detective Ainsley. She sounded too much like Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer, which I found annoying. Her other voices were ok; however there were some instances of mispronunciation. Thankfully, these occurrences were few.
Overall, the mystery satisfied me, and I am glad I got the chance to read it.