Title: First Girl Gone (Charlotte Winters #1)
Authors: L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain
Published on: 18th September 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
First Girl Gone by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain is the first book in Charlotte Winters mystery series.
Meet Charlotte Winters, a P.I. with a hurtful past who has come back to her hometown Salem Island to take charge of her uncle frank’s P.I. business. Frank is currently undergoing chemo for a rare form of cancer.
Misty, an old school friend, asks Charles to help find her missing daughter Kara. Now Kara might be seventeen but she already has a DUI record. Thanks to her lawyer Will Crawford, Kara escaped jail-time with community service. Being a small town where everybody knows each other, Will is no stranger. Will, Charles and Allie(Charles’ twin) studied in the same school.
The local sheriff’s department is not interested in Kara’s disappearance. She’s runaway twice and they assume she’s done it again. Charles wants to help out. Soon, she finds another client – their daughter has gone missing too.
A seedy night club, drugs and an extra marital affair, Charles soon realizes there’s more to the story than just girls gone missing.
A little creepy yet best part of this story is Allie. Now Allie went missing when the girls were sixteen. (Allie and Charles are twins). Her feet washed to the shores a few days later, thus proving Allie is no longer alive. Let’s fast forward to the present. As the story begins, we see Allie making snide remarks on Charles’ client Misty. A little high on the sarcasm but Allie’s funny.
We readers are initially fooled to believe Allie is sitting right in front of Misty and making fun of her. But that’s not true. We learn Allie’s been dead for years now but her voice still lives in Charles’ mind. Charles first heard of it at Allie’s funeral. The voice never left after that.
The mystery is sure to keep the readers on the edge of their toes. Charles might be a P.I. but sleuthing is no cake walk. The clues take her to a seedy nightclub where the bouncer shoos her away as he ‘knows Charles is a cop’. Now, the main clue lies inside the night club – the only connection the victims had was the night club – but there is no way the nasty bouncer would let Charles pass through.
Uncle Frank is weak, thanks to the chemo sessions, but he directs Charles in the right path – she has to keep her eyes on one of her clients as they act a little shady. Charles receives her second anonymous email which takes her to a beach where she finds a dead body.
There were a few things I wish the authors had explained in detail. Like, the girl’s body is found at the exact place where Allie’s feet had washed up years ago. But as the story ends, we find the emails played a totally different angle in the story. Also, as a first in the series, a little information on the events leading to Allie’s disappearance would have been better.
Nevertheless, as a first in the series, this book has captured my attention. The story is well-plotted. The ending seemed a little hurried up but the twists took me by surprise. Red herrings are plenty and it is not easy to identify the killer – especially if you like to play detective.
First Girl Gone by L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain is an impressive, interesting and engrossing series debut.
I received an ARC from Bookouture and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.