Two Girls Down

Two Girls Down

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Ca...

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Title:Two Girls Down
Author:Louisa Luna
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Two Girls Down Reviews

  • Debra

    I could not put this book down! I read this book over the course of one day. Brilliant. Two Girls Down is a page turner with well developed characters, an intriguing and well written plot, suspense and a feeling of dread.

    Jamie is a single Mother to two young daughters, 10 year old Kylie and 8 year old Bailey. She is running errands and goes into a Kmart ALONE (R U f'ing kidding me? Who leaves kids alone in a car?)to buy a birthday present. While she is in the Kmart picking out a gift, her daugh

    I could not put this book down! I read this book over the course of one day. Brilliant. Two Girls Down is a page turner with well developed characters, an intriguing and well written plot, suspense and a feeling of dread.

    Jamie is a single Mother to two young daughters, 10 year old Kylie and 8 year old Bailey. She is running errands and goes into a Kmart ALONE (R U f'ing kidding me? Who leaves kids alone in a car?)to buy a birthday present. While she is in the Kmart picking out a gift, her daughters get out of the car and are not seen again. Later they are seen on camera walking around, going into an ice cream shop, and then walk out of the camera's frame. Gone. Missing. Abducted. It doesn't help that eye witness accounts vary and not all eye witnesses are viewed as reliable.

    Jamie's family calls in a tough as nails bounty hunter named Alice Vega to help find the girls. Vega has a reputation for finding people that the police cannot. While in town Vega hires Max Caplan, a private detective who was once a police officer who resigned after a scandal. The local police are also on the case but they are stretched thin and the family wants answers as the clock is ticking. The police are not happy that Vega and Cap are also investigating which adds some angst to this story. Every second counts in child abduction and even the feds are eventually called in to find the missing girls

    Initially there is not much to go on but Vega has the assistance of an unknown Computer hacker/whiz called "the Bastard". As their computer whiz begins digging up info, Vega and Cap have information to go and start the process of eliminating suspects. Along the way they get leads, some of which pan out, some of which don't really seem to go anywhere. I appreciated seeing them investigate false leads as not all police investigations are cut and dry. This gave the book a very realistic feel. As the clock ticks the duo follow every lead hoping to find the girls.

    As I previously stated, I read this book in one day. It was a real page turner for me. I really enjoyed both Vega and Cap. I thought they had good chemistry together. Both were tough in their own ways, they both were driven to find the girls and each had a no-back-down attitude. I also liked that even though there were hints of attraction, and not so subtle hints between the two, this did not become a romance. Throughout the book, there was a feeling of dread as the two young girls are missing and there are seemingly very little clues. Will they be found alive? Will they be harmed? Could they have been taken by a child molester? Were they sold? Will there be a ransom? Are they dead? There are so many questions about the girls besides just their whereabouts and who may have taken them.

    Another mystery in this book was bounty hunter Alice Vega. We know more about Cap and his life. But Vega is also a little bit of a mystery. She reveals very little about herself in this book. She opens up some to Cap but overall, she herself is a mystery to the reader. Which made her character even more interesting to me.

    I loved that the plot was fast paced which helped keep the pages turning but added more suspense and anxiety as the girls lives are at stake. I could almost feel the anxiety that the characters in this book must be feeling while trying to track down the girls and their abductor/abductors. This book was brilliantly paced, well written and had a great story. This was my first book by Louisa Luna but it will not be my last.

    Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley who provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    See more of my reviews at

  • Liz

    Talk about how to grab a reader. “Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen: police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s…”.

    What Luna does is get the characters exactly right. In just a few pages, she was able to nail the main characters. I loved Cap from right off the bat. An ex-cop and current PI, he loves his teenage daughter and the two of them together just seemed re

    Talk about how to grab a reader. “Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen: police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s…”.

    What Luna does is get the characters exactly right. In just a few pages, she was able to nail the main characters. I loved Cap from right off the bat. An ex-cop and current PI, he loves his teenage daughter and the two of them together just seemed real. And Alice Vega, as well, unsuccessfully trying yoga to calm herself down. By the end of the first chapter, Luna had me sold.

    This is a fast paced book that kept me totally engaged. One of those books i was loath to put down. Lots of phrases that would just nail a scene or a character. Like this “he saw Jamie for what she was: an unstable element, a cut wire spraying sparks”. Yes, Alice is a tad unbelievable, in a Jack Reacher kind of way; she always has a solution to getting what she needs. And I didn’t quite connect with the little bit of romance in the book. But overall this book gets a definite thumbs up and I will definitely seek out the next book that Luna writes.

    My thanks to netgalley and Doubleday Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • Mackey St

    4.5 stars

    Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is everything that a good mystery/thriller should be! This fast past story was riveting, character driven, dark and twisty from beginning to end! Alice Vega, as the ceaseless bounty hunter, was an enigmatic character that drew you in and made you anxious to know more.

    In a small town in New Jersey, two girls are taken from a shopping mall parking lot. After a few days without progress, the family calls in Alice Vega, a bounty hunter/private detective with a

    4.5 stars

    Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is everything that a good mystery/thriller should be! This fast past story was riveting, character driven, dark and twisty from beginning to end! Alice Vega, as the ceaseless bounty hunter, was an enigmatic character that drew you in and made you anxious to know more.

    In a small town in New Jersey, two girls are taken from a shopping mall parking lot. After a few days without progress, the family calls in Alice Vega, a bounty hunter/private detective with a great record for finding people. She enlists the help of "Cap," who was forced into resignation from the police department.

    This would be a run-of-the-mill chid abduction/P.I. story if it weren't for the extremely well drawn characters. Vega is one of the most captivating main characters I've come across in ages. In turn, the chemistry that develops between Vega and Cap is electric. It's not romance, it's not over done, it's the tingling hope of what could or might be. The missing girl's mother is perfectly portrayed as a very flawed but still good mother who is completely unraveling before our eyes. Finally, Cap's teenage daughter Nell - thank you Louisa Luna for giving us a bright, well articulated teenage girl who does not make us hate her within the first chapter! I love her and the relationship she has with Cap. Each and every character, from the main to the minute, were brilliantly captured by Luna.

    Despite departmental politics and strange leads that appear to go nowhere, Vega has her methods for solving puzzles, most of which fall outside the lines of the law. In the end, however, she gets her bounty! I guarantee you that this is one puzzle you will not want to miss!

    Many thanks to Netgalley, Doubleday and Louisa Luna for an advanced copy of the book.

  • Larry H

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

    I love when a book you stumble upon by an author you're not familiar with turns out to be a terrific read. Such was the case with Louisa Luna's

    . It's a well-written, suspenseful whodunnit with some pretty fascinating characters.

    A single mother, sometimes Jamie Brandt just needs a break from her two daughters, 10-year-old Kylie and 8-year-old Bailey. They're always wanting something, needing something, and she's just tired. What she wouldn't give

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

    I love when a book you stumble upon by an author you're not familiar with turns out to be a terrific read. Such was the case with Louisa Luna's

    . It's a well-written, suspenseful whodunnit with some pretty fascinating characters.

    A single mother, sometimes Jamie Brandt just needs a break from her two daughters, 10-year-old Kylie and 8-year-old Bailey. They're always wanting something, needing something, and she's just tired. What she wouldn't give for a few minutes of peace.

    On the way to a birthday party, Jamie and the girls stop at a strip mall so Jamie can pick up a gift. She's just going to be five minutes, and she knows letting the girls come into the store will only lead to fighting, whining, and chaos, so she leaves them in the car with the ignition running. When she comes out of the store about 10 minutes later, her car is there but the girls are missing.

    With the town's police force stretched beyond its means due to budget cuts and a growing drug epidemic, Jamie's family hires Alice Vega, an unorthodox bounty hunter with a good record of finding missing children. The local police don't take too kindly to Alice's involvement in the girls' case despite the fact they can't devote any resources to it, so she decides to turn to Max "Cap" Caplan, a former police detective who resigned from the force in disgrace.

    Cap is trying to put his past life behind him, but it isn't rewarding taking pictures of cheating spouses and tracking down bail skips, so as much as he wants to avoid interacting with his former colleagues, there's something about Alice Vega that draws him in.

    Alice and Cap make a commanding pair, and they start making progress on trying to find out what happened to the girls, which of course leads to the inevitable run-ins with the police. Little by little they have to determine which leads are false and which have potential, which people pose a threat and which people were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time, and uncover just how deep this crime runs within the town. At the same time, Alice and Cap have to struggle with their own demons, knowing every second they delay or ponder could result in the girls' deaths, if they aren't dead already.

    I thought Luna did a great job with this book. Like with so many mysteries, I suspected nearly every character that popped up in the narrative, and I kept hoping she wouldn't disappoint me by taking the easy way out. I thought the resolution of the story was a little more complicated that it needed to be, but it definitely affected me, because as depressing as it was, I know that Luna didn't just invent this scenario out of whole cloth.

    There was a good amount of tension and some great action, I thought Cap was a terrific character, and Alice is a bit of a badass! Luna knew how to ratchet up the suspense and toss in some characters you can't figure out if you should root for them or not. I don't know whether she intends this to become a series, but I hope to see more of Alice and Cap. There's so much I'd love to know about their backstories, too.

    I really enjoyed this and read most of the book in one day. I'll definitely be looking for the next book in Luna's career! This one is worth a read.

    NetGalley and Doubleday provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Kaceey

    4⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Alice Vega is a tough bounty hunter (in a unique kind of way). Her specialty is finding missing people. She’s good at what she does - and she knows it. Rawhide tough, she doesn’t let anyone get too close to her, but knows this time she’s going to need help.

    Max Caplan, (Cap) is a former policeman who was forced into early retirement. He’s a single father raising his sixteen (going on 25!) year old daughter, while now working as a private detective.

    Vega is called to a small town in PA to ass

    4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Alice Vega is a tough bounty hunter (in a unique kind of way). Her specialty is finding missing people. She’s good at what she does - and she knows it. Rawhide tough, she doesn’t let anyone get too close to her, but knows this time she’s going to need help.

    Max Caplan, (Cap) is a former policeman who was forced into early retirement. He’s a single father raising his sixteen (going on 25!) year old daughter, while now working as a private detective.

    Vega is called to a small town in PA to assist in finding two missing young girls. It’s time to enlist the help of Cap. With two sets of eyes, and no help from the local police department she hopes to hunt down the kidnappers before it’s too late.

    I just loved the dynamic between Cap and Vega. You can feel the tension, touch the sparks…grasp the loneliness of their hearts. Truthfully, I was more swept up in their dynamic than the actual kidnapping!

    This is a slow read, but once in I was all in, and found it hard to put down. The chapters are long, but you’ll easily lose yourself in the storyline. I didn’t want it to end, and was left hoping to hear more from Cap and Vega in the future! Highly recommend!

    A Traveling Sister read with Brenda, Susanne and Jan! 🤗💜

    Thank you to NetGalley, Doubleday Books and Louisa Luna for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.

    For this review and our full Traveling Sister review please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog:

  • JanB

    This book is fast-paced and entertaining, with well-developed characters and an opening line that hooked me immediately: “Jamie Brandt is not a bad mother”. Jamie is a harried single mom who runs into a store to pick up a few items, leaving her 8 and 10-year-old daughters in the car. When she returns, the girls are missing.

    The overworked and short-handed local police have no leads after several days, so the family hires Alice Vega, a former bounty hunter who has a great track record for finding

    This book is fast-paced and entertaining, with well-developed characters and an opening line that hooked me immediately: “Jamie Brandt is not a bad mother”. Jamie is a harried single mom who runs into a store to pick up a few items, leaving her 8 and 10-year-old daughters in the car. When she returns, the girls are missing.

    The overworked and short-handed local police have no leads after several days, so the family hires Alice Vega, a former bounty hunter who has a great track record for finding missing children. She in turn teams up with Max Caplan (Cap), a former police officer. While the mystery of the missing girls is engaging, the real stars of this book are Cap and Vega.

    Cap’s relationship with his teenage daughter was wonderful and it was refreshing to read about a teenager that isn’t annoying and obnoxious. Their relationship was one of the highlights of the book. I also loved how Cap and Vega interacted with one another and their determination to stop at nothing to solve the case. Vega is a badass with remarkable skills who reminded me a bit of Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo series. She also has a mysterious past and demons that haunt her. The dialogue and chemistry between Cap and Vega kept me flipping the pages. I hope this is the start of a new series featuring these two. I'll be anxiously awaiting Louisa Luna's next book!

    *This was a traveling sister read. For this and other reviews visit their blog:

    *edited to add: for those who are squeamish about a book that involves children (like me!), the book is mainly about the investigation.

  • Sarah Joint

    An intense thriller based in my very own state of Pennsylvania... which doesn't paint the state in a very flattering light, but makes a valid point about a lot of small towns in America. This is an unpredictable book with a lot of action and twists, involving so many suspects that it's dizzying.

    Hired by the family of two missing girls, Alice Vega drops everything and makes the trip to Pennsylvania from California. Only ten and eight, it's clear that this isn't a case of the girls just taking of

    An intense thriller based in my very own state of Pennsylvania... which doesn't paint the state in a very flattering light, but makes a valid point about a lot of small towns in America. This is an unpredictable book with a lot of action and twists, involving so many suspects that it's dizzying.

    Hired by the family of two missing girls, Alice Vega drops everything and makes the trip to Pennsylvania from California. Only ten and eight, it's clear that this isn't a case of the girls just taking off. Their mother has issues of her own, but is clearly devastated and fraught with worry. If only she hadn't left them in that car to run into the store without being begged for toys or candy... if only they hadn't stopped at all. The clock is ticking, and everyone knows that the longer the young girls are missing, the less likely it is they'll be found alive. Vega enlists disgraced ex-cop and current private investigator Max Caplan to help, pulling him from his usual sordid cases into something much darker. He resists at first, but gives in. She'll need his old connections, his brain, and occasionally to rein her in.

    My issues with the book are few. Vega seems too badass to be real life, and occasionally so many suspects and characters got a little confusing and I had to look back. A solid missing person thriller that manages to inject something new into a popular genre!

  • Brenda

    I was lost in the sunny, weedy, lush coulee with three of my Traveling Sisters reading Two Girls Down. Things started off a little quiet and relaxing in the coulee for us but quickly turned into a chilly, unnerving, fast-paced race to finish for us.

    Two Girls Down is an entertaining yet disturbing dark psychology thriller that started off a little slow and confusing for us as our main characters Vega and Cap team up together to find two missing girls.

    Louisa Luna does a fantastic job here creati

    I was lost in the sunny, weedy, lush coulee with three of my Traveling Sisters reading Two Girls Down. Things started off a little quiet and relaxing in the coulee for us but quickly turned into a chilly, unnerving, fast-paced race to finish for us.

    Two Girls Down is an entertaining yet disturbing dark psychology thriller that started off a little slow and confusing for us as our main characters Vega and Cap team up together to find two missing girls.

    Louisa Luna does a fantastic job here creating very interesting and memorable characters here with Vega and Cap and his daughter Nell. The dynamics between them really made the story for us. She does a good job balancing Vega and Cap with their differences that complement each other making them an interesting team. Cap being more realistic and Vega more like a superhuman who gets things done. We loved the dynamics between Cap and Nell and our hearts warmed with the way they took care of each other, adding some softness to the darkness in the story.

    Vega and Cap follow a few different leads and suspects and it was confusing to keep track of everything and after a while, we just gave up trying to keep the suspects straight. It didn’t take away from the story for us and we didn’t miss anything when that final shocking twist came that left me speechless. The ending is shocking, high on drama, disturbing and so brilliantly done. I highly recommend but with some caution as it’s a story about two missing girls.

    Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.

    Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.

  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    I would

    recommend you listen to this book. The actress narrating the book did a nice job for the most part, except when she had to portray so many different suspects/characters. Ugh. She could be really terrible to listen to then. And all those imitations of young guys/asthmatic old women/crusty police personnel just was too over the top to enjoy. I really prefer a subtle voice change when one narrator is reading for so many varied characters. There are few people talented enough to pull off

    I would

    recommend you listen to this book. The actress narrating the book did a nice job for the most part, except when she had to portray so many different suspects/characters. Ugh. She could be really terrible to listen to then. And all those imitations of young guys/asthmatic old women/crusty police personnel just was too over the top to enjoy. I really prefer a subtle voice change when one narrator is reading for so many varied characters. There are few people talented enough to pull off tens of characters by actually acting it out.

    It really is hard to form a definite opinion about this book since I couldn't fully embrace the audio experience. I did like the story's suspense and the characters of Cap and Vega.

    I just learned this author has previously only written YA and this is her first foray into adult thrillers. That is exactly what it felt like. A quick read if you stick to the written version.

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