Title: The Girls in the Fire
Series: Detective Harlow Durant #2
Author: Dea Poirier
Publication Date: March 4, 2022
Buy Link: Amazon: https://geni.us/B09KCDJLT4social
Harlow looked down at a photo of her victim and couldn’t reconcile it with the body found by the lake. Here was a young and carefree woman, gazing at the camera with her striking emerald green eyes, her long black hair waving in the breeze. But within an instant her future had been extinguished. Harlow had to find out why.
When the remains of a young woman are discovered on the edge of Saranac Lake in upstate New York, local law enforcement immediately call Detective Harlow Durant. When she arrives at the scene, she instantly knows this case will get under her skin. Lying just beyond the picturesque lake popular with families are the remains of a victim who has seemingly been burned to death. With very little evidence remaining, Harlow begins scouring missing persons reports.
The victim is identified as twenty-six-year-old Ellie Gordon—a fun-loving young woman who worked in the bookstore and enjoyed going out with friends. When her mother comes to ID the body, she reports her daughter’s gold crucifix missing and the hunt begins to locate it and any potential DNA evidence. But as Harlow starts to piece Ellie’s last movements together, another body is found. The victim was killed in exactly the same way and worked with Ellie.
Witness statements identify a local man who was obsessed with both women and when Harlow sees video evidence of him pawning the gold necklace, she thinks she has her man. But when he too winds up dead, Harlow has to start over. The only other link to the women is Gavin Croswell, one of the most powerful men in the town. But with a whole host of alibis, pinning the murders on him is almost impossible.
With time running out to find the killer before another woman loses her life, the case soon becomes personal when Harlow’s car is violently run off the road. Someone wants to warn her off the case and they will use anything they can to threaten her. Even if it means exposing her own dark secret.
Can Harlow confront her demons to save another innocent life from being lost? And just how much is she prepared to sacrifice?
An absolutely addictive serial killer thriller perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh, and Robert Dugoni’s Tracy Crosswhite series.
This is the second in Dea Poirier’s Detective Harlow Durant series. I haven’t read the first, but didn’t have any trouble reading this one as a stand-alone. Enough back story was filled in that I could make sense of it.
Here, she and her partner Lucas are called to Saranac Lake to investigate a grisly murder. A young woman’s body has been found, burned almost beyond all recognition. Then a second. Then a third. Another detective, Chad, is already in the tourist town investigating a serial killer. Is this a second serial killer in the same area? Harlow and Lucas have got to figure out what’s going on.
There were a number of unlikable people in this book, starting with the main character. Harlow Durant is a detective, a loner with a troubled past. She’s constantly on the move, trying to stay ahead of her parents and anyone else who might unravel her history. There are very few people she trusts enough to let them know her story. Her partner Lucas is one person that she lets in. He knows the details of her dark past, and trusts and likes her regardless.
Harlow’s parents are both detestable characters – her father is a serial killer (yes, you read that right), her mother is just abusive and horrible. Chad, a fellow detective, is a jerk. He’s constantly needling Harlow, giving her grief about anything he can, and she returns the favor. The pawn shop owner from whom they’re trying to get video evidence is just low-level sleaze. The common thread among the victims, a well-to-do gentleman, is hitting on Harlow every chance he gets. It’s a grimy undercurrent to an interesting story.
That being said, even with all the characters you’ll love to hate, it was still a very compelling read. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. The victims, though it was revealed that they had their own issues, were characters you cared about. They deserved justice, and I was cheering for Harlow as she worked to provide that for them.
And if you don’t like cliffhangers, boy, you will not like the end of this book. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I read that last page. I didn’t see it coming, and I’ve got to read the next book now!
Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy from Netgalley and Bookouture. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
Author Dea (D.H) Poirier is the author of NEXT GIRL TO DIE, which hit #1 in the Amazon charts. She was raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, where she got her start writing in creative writing courses. She attended The University of Central Oklahoma for Computer Science and Political Science. Later, she spent time living on both coasts, and traveling the United States, before finally putting down roots in Central Florida. She now resides somewhere between Disney and the swamp. She spends her days at her day job as a President of Digital Marketing, and her nights writing manuscripts.