The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen


What’s it about?

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.



I didn’t realize this is book 6 already in the Windermere series. I was too awestruck by the cover and blurb when I decided to request this one. No fear though, this works perfectly as a standalone.

I can cut this story down into three distinctive parts easily. The first one is really setting the stage. I was nose diving into a whole unknown world to me, a world of people who ‘ride trains’ for what seems to be for years on end. Young men, but also girls, runaways. Two of these girls are Ash and Mila. They found each other and promised to travel together, but then crystal lured Mila into breaking that promise. Now one of them has ended up dead, the other torn with guilt and swearing revenge. But who did this? Are the rumours true that she heard?

“You don’t ever surf trains on the high line. You’ll either die from exposure during the winter season or the ghost rider will get you.”

The second part is where it gets really good. The FBI got their hands on a picture of the victim when someone finds it on the phone of her date but get this: the guy had nothing to do with it. So not only do they have to figure out how it got on his phone but they also have to trace back who killed a girl. The only lead they have is another picture of two girls, looking very alive I might add, and one of them has purple hair. A fast-paced game of cat and mouse ensues and had me turning the pages faster than before. Not only are the FBI looking for the girl who might know something more, they are also looking for a ruthless killer. The same girl is also looking for this guy. It’s bound to happen that they’ll all meet up at some point but will the FBI get there in time? Someone’s had a head start…

The third part is told from the viewpoint of the rider mostly and was extremely tense and breath-taking to read as I followed this guy’s steps trying to stay out of the hands of what seems like a whole cavalry coming after him. I swear that the story got better and better towards the end and this part was undoubtedly my favorite one and if I could rate only this part it would be a 4.5 stars. The meaning of cat and mouse certainly got to an all high here. The descriptions of his surroundings were also so vivid, I could just about imagine the stormy weather, the rocky scenery and dense territory as he tried to hide from the helicopters and search parties.

This book didn’t steal my heart in an instant. I had a hard time connecting to the FBI agents Stevens and Windermere at first and really missed their personal stories which were non-existent in this novel, but as the plot unfolded they grew on me and in the end I loved how gutsy Windermere turned out. She totally won me over.

I received a free copy of this novel through First to Read in exchange for my honest opinion.

18 thoughts on “The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

    • I know but it wasn’t mentioned when I requested it so it came as a bit of a surprise. There’s no background story (one of them is married and that’s about all we know) and even their personalities were a bit bland and the same so no, it took until the last pages to like them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Imagine me diving into the 18th book in a series xD Thankfully sometimes the writing is good enough and the characterization well done so you can still connect to the characters, but knowing you’re missing bits and pieces always annoys me. It looks like the cat and mouse game here is top-notch! I love this kind of games, but it’s a shame there was not more background story to glue the character to the story and make it a fantastic book, because the plot sounds good enough for that. Great review!


    • Thank you Donna! There just wasn’t any background or personal subplot and I didn’t feel I got to know who they were so yes this one definitely isn’t a good start in the series.. but even if I knew them before, I’m not sure I would have given it a higher rating for the same reasons really. The cat and mouse part was excellent though and I really enjoyed reading it, even though I’m not a big fan of ‘action’ novels.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes authors make it possible to jump into a series with good backstory, sounds like it wasn’t the case here. Bummer. I also get really disappointed with boring characters. Your review is excellent though:)


  3. Ironically enough, you are not the first reviewer that mentioned you were unaware that this was the 6th title in the series. I am thinking there must be some disconnect in marketing maybe? It is a shame. Your review was great and very fair!


  4. That has happened to me before with NetGalley. I have ended up with a couple of books mid-series. I am glad to see that this one can be read as a standalone though but sad that the background stories to the detectives was missing. The book sounds interesting though. Great review.


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