The Names of Dead Girls
By: Eric Rickstad
Release Date: September 12, 2017
“Yes, this one was special because of who she was. Special because she was the daughter of that fuck who dared challenge him and press him, tried to trick and expose him. He started all of this. Frank Rath. He deserved it.”
Another whirlwind of a novel from Eric Rickstad, and it did not disappoint. This is the much anticipated follow up to Rickstad’s killer novel The Silent Girls. The precedent shocked me to the core and left me wide eyed while I laid in bed. The last words kept my brain ticking long after I was finished. Once I finally had this book in hand, I ripped it open and tore at the seams, anxious to get started.
Oh, and minor spoilers if you haven’t read the Silent girls are to follow, so read at your own risk!
The novel picks up after the unsettling ending of The Silent Girls. Detective Frank Rath is on a mission to save his daughter from falling into the hands of the psychopathic killer, Ned Preacher, than claimed the lives of his sister and her husband years earlier. He taunts Rath, making it seem like he is going to harm Rachel. In a panic, Rath calls the police in the county Rachel lives in and makes them go check on her. Luckily, she isn’t home and Preacher isn’t around. He knows he can get to Rath by going through Rachel.
Soon after Preacher’s shocking release from court, there’s a murder of a young woman that matches Preacher’s killing style from all those years ago. Rath teams up with Sonja Test to try and put a stop to the murders, all while trying to keep his daughter safe from Preacher and the truth about her parents, and who she really is, from all those years ago.
Let me just start out by saying that this novel was nothing short of excellence, and nothing less than what I expected. It had me staying up long past when I should have been in bed because I couldn’t put it down. I was engulfed once again in the story and the lives of the characters Rickstad has created. You don’t feel like you’re just reading a piece of fiction, you feel like you’re a part of the world on the pages. When a book can make me so immersed in it that I feel like I am one of the characters I can’t put it down. My fingers stay glued to the pages.
The story takes twists and turns, and I can honestly say once again that I did not see the ending coming. There were two stories going on throughout the book, but you didn’t know they were two separate stories until you got to those final pages. The ending had me shaken to the core once again. I didn’t see the big twist ending coming, and I actually audibly exclaimed when I realized the connection. The story is excellent. I don’t know how he does it, but Rickstad always leaves me wondering how I didn’t figure it out. The bread crumbs are placed, but I miss it every time until right when it’s happening, and I love it.
The characters stayed true to their personalities from the first novel. We learn more about Rachel and things from her viewpoint. She becomes more of a main character, and she turns into a loveable one at that. Reading the pages and seeing her become closer and closer with her father touches me. She begins to understand everything he’s ever done for her is only to protect her, and she loves and respects him more for it. Rath is once again undeniable the strongest character viewpoint we receive, and once again proves to us he will do whatever he can to protect his daughter and get justice. He’s shown as being human, and making tough decisions for the greater good. My girl Sonja Test again makes way as my favorite character. I want to be just like her, in an alternate reality where I’m a killer female detective, of course. We see more of her home life and get to know her family a little more. She puts work and finding the truth first in some cases, but is a wonderful mother/wife.
I can’t say enough good things. Bravo once again on leaving me speechless. I hope these characters never die. All I can hope is that Rickstad keeps writing five star novels with Frank Rath and Sonja Test. Even though Rath appears to be done with the life of a detective, I can’t help but hope there is a glimmer of hope we’ll see him again someday. And Test, I will treasure her character dearly in hopes that we meet again.
Eric Rickstad delivers on his word of an AMAZING novel once again. If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Silent Girls and read it yet, please do! You have plenty of time to crack it open and finish before this release in September. Plus, it will be well worth your time and money!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5