Review: The Girl Who Was Taken (Charlie Donlea)


Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods. A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister’s fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole’s disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia’s morgue—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected. But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Don’t let the title bother you. In fact, it was the only thing I didn’t like about this book. The Girl Who Was Taken is an amazing mystery and it’s also an emotional ride. Although I haven’t read the author’s previous novel, I will definitely keep an eye on everything he writes from now on.

While I was reading this fantastic book, I realized it was exactly my kind of novel, my favorite type of story. I guess I like that it’s a sibling (this time, the sister) investigating the crime. It allows you to become more attached to the story because the characters are directly involved. It sort of reminded me of one of my favorite recent books: My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni, although that was legal-focused and this one is all about forensics.

In terms of structure, you must know that yes, there are plenty of flashbacks and different points of view, although none of them felt unnecessary. It was well-done and everything served a purpose. The Girl Who Was Taken’s prologue and the following chapter were the perfect way to grab your attention and leave you wanting for more. Two girls disappear one night, but only one of them returns. What did exactly happen? And where is the other girl?

Let’s be honest here: I didn’t guess the ending! There were several red-herrings that had me completely distracted. I remember thinking it couldn’t be someone in particular because it looked way too obvious and the book was too smart for that. I loved how the author threw some clues and made us wonder all the way through. I was suspicious of everyone and couldn’t wait to get to the conclusion, which didn’t disappoint me one bit.

As for the characters, I absolutely loved Megan and Livia and quite enjoyed the parts when they worked together. I know I won’t forget them easily. Nicole Cutty wasn’t the easiest character to like, but the way the media reacted to her disappearance in comparison to Megan’s return was devastating and I felt really sorry for her.

Last, but not least, I won’t mention the topic because of spoilers, but I will say that the main idea of this book had me completely fascinated. It was utterly creepy and perverse and it made me think of Gillian Flynn’s novels.

Whatever you do, don’t miss The Girl Who Was Taken.

Buy Here

Netgalley, Kensington, 2017

45 thoughts on “Review: The Girl Who Was Taken (Charlie Donlea)

  1. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    You’ve mentioned two of my fav authors in this review (Dugoni and Flynn) and that combined with the fact that you didn’t see it coming and you’re raving this much means I must add it to my wishlist ! Thanks for your mouth-watering review!


    • Annie says:

      You know what, I think I’m just better at predicting weird twists than at guessing the culprit in whodunnits! It wasn’t that “shocking”, to be honest, but I was busy thinking of other things haha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fictionbookdude says:

    This sounds really good also it made you think of Gillian Flynn! Whaat. I devoured ‘Gone Girl’ and still it’s one of my top reads! I tried ‘Dark Places’ but it was too dark at the time so I stopped reading it. I shall have to add this one onto my never-ending TBR pile. Great review as always, Annie!


  3. Diana says:

    This sounds like the perfect read. Everything seems to have worked out great. I am not so sure about the forensics bit since I tend to get lost when books focus so much on the investigation but I do like everything else about this one so may just give it a try someday. Fab review as always.


  4. Greg says:

    This sounds really good, I just read I Found You by Lisa Jewell and while it’s a different premise it does sound like it has some similarities. I like that this one has lots of red herrings and I love it when I’m suspicious of everyone in a mystery! Definitely adding this one to my TBR, looks like a great thriller.


    • Annie says:

      I have that one pending on Netgalley since like last year lol I want to read it! And this one, TGWWT was amazing, completely recommend it!


  5. The Reader's Tales says:

    Excellent review, Annie! I love the sound of this book. Like you, I enjoy reading mysteries, psychological thrillers – I’m fond of Gillian Flynn’s novels and lately I have discovered B.A. Paris, great author too. So, this one is on my TBR. I hope I can get it here in Geneva. Have a lovely week 🙂


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