Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter is the second book in the Andrea Oliver series. The book has a dual timeline with a murder connecting two characters together. In 1892, Longbill Beach, Emily Vaughn was a high school senior who was getting ready for prom. She is described as beautiful and was well-liked by peers and by her conservative community, until the unthinkable happened. When it becomes evident that she is having a baby out of wed-lock, the community closes ranks and tries to protect its respected members, because they are afraid that Emily may claim that one of their own is the father.
Emily tries to navigate her life from being a beloved member of the community to an ostracized high school student. She has a few secrets that she is keeping from her friends and family, including who the father is of her baby. Someone is desperate to keep Emily from telling her secrets and they want to silence her. When Emily leaves prom, someone is following her and they will stop at nothing to keep Emily quiet…
Forty years later, Emily’s murder is still unsolved and no progress has been made. Her close friends keep to themselves and her family has tried to move on.
Newly minted U.S. Marshal Andrea Oliver arrives at Longbill Beach with her first assignment. She and her partner, Bible, are to protect a judge who is getting death threats. Andrea knows she should be focusing on her assignment, but she feels a special connection to Emily. She is determined to find what happened to Emily forty years ago. As Andrea digs into the death of Emily, she realizes that not everyone in Longbill Beach is as friendly and forthcoming as they pretend to be. When a new body is discovered and it is eerily similar to Emily, will Andrea be able to figure out who the killer is before they strike again?
The novel is the second book in the series but it can be read as a standalone. However, I do recommend reading the books in order as it will help explain Andrea’s relationship with her mother, and also will give context to her motives for wanting to solve Emily’s murder. I felt that Andrea has grown so much from the first novel. She went from being a useless character who came across like a fish out of water to a strong and smart Marshal. She progressed into a surer version of herself and she was able to stand on her own two feet. Her keen instincts allowed her to piece together clues before others even more senior to her.
The book was a highly engaging read and kept me on my toes. There were a few unexpected twists that were delightful, but also a few predictable ones. The characters were well developed and complex. The character dialogues were realistic and immersive as Bible and Andrea were trying to put together the clues. I enjoyed following the dual timelines and trying to figure out how Emily’s story interplayed with the present murder. I found the book to be an engrossing read and I can’t wait to read more books by the author. I would recommend the novel to any crime or thriller fans.