Thank you Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book! This in no way influences my review of the novel. Next Girl to Die is the first in the Calderwood Cases series.
Next Girl to Die
Published Date: May 1, 2019
Finished Date: May 2, 2019
Format: ebook ARC
Genre: mystery, crime novel
Number of Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 3/5 Moose
Fifteen years ago Claire Calderwood buried her sister Rachel after she was brutally murder in an unsolved death. As soon as she can, Claire gets off the small island Vinalhaven and dives head first into being the best cop in Detroit she can be, all while constantly being haunted by her guilt of her sister’s death.
Fifteen years later, another girl is murdered with the same MO. Can Claire go back to face the island she wanted to forget and solve her sister’s murder?
Claire Calderwood — Claire is a detective in Detroit who, at the request of the Sheriff, is coming back to her small town island to help solve a murder that is remarkably similar to the murder of her older sister.
Noah Washington — a journalist investigating in Rachel Calderwood’s cold case.
Rants, Raves, and Thoughts
I wanted to like this book. It’s a fairly quick read, and at no point did I actually feel the desire to mark the book as DNF. It was a good bridge for my cozy mystery books, and at one point I even wondered if was an inverse cozy mystery, as Noah Washington is a podcaster/journalist looking into the cold case about Rachel. But it’s not really, it’s a crime mystery novel through and through.
And it….kind of does a lot more telling than showing, honestly. We meet Noah, who introduces himself as a podcaster looking into the cold case, but then Noah becomes a respectable, paid journalist who writes a lot of articles about the Middle East. I kind of liked the idea of a podcaster coming to town, and a look at how it would help or hinder the case. But it’s like Poirier knows the buzz words, and doesn’t use them properly?
We are told about how much Claire is haunted by her sister as more teen girls die on the island, but it does feel…like we are just told frequently. I wish she would have leaned into it more. It’s like things happen, and just in case we miss it, she then explains it? For example, it feels like she over explains her thought process for the benefit of the audience. It isn’t her personality (though honestly, I have a hard time gauging what her personality is supposed to be), it isn’t like she’s internally keeping a checklist for herself, but more of a “oh hey let me tell you how cops life is like.” I don’t know. And even for a cop who wants to join the FBI, Claire does some questionably dumb things.
Also, I am confused about Claire’s life in general. She moves all her stuff from Detroit for a temporary gig? I get that the author is setting up for a series, where I doubt that Claire goes back to Detroit (and given the rush ending and the start of a new case, duh) but she moves her bed? to the island?
I also do wonder if the author has spent any time on a small island in Maine? There were times where it felt like the navigation of the island is rough and takes time, but then other times it’s incredibly easy. Also the fact that every ferry gets there on time…something about it just reminded me of another debut book I liked where the fact that the author hadn’t spent anytime navigating the NYC subway systems showed.
Okay, everything above is a lot of ranting, and I do apologize for that. Truly, the book isn’t bad. It’s an easy read, it’s a good attempt at a murder case, and I did enjoy parts of this book! There are some well done atmospheric moments, some of the characters I enjoy — but it’s definitely a debut novel and that shows. I will probably pick up book two just to see if the story and writing gets better, because I do think that Poirier can be great. Plus I am a sucker for a crime novel.