The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane
published by Mira (Harlequin) in May 2011
If she'd only turned her head, she would have seen the car containing her daughter, struggling to escape her kidnapper. Despite years determining the fates of families, family court judge Hope Willis couldn't save her own. Now she's grasping at any hope for Krissy's rescue. She calls Casey Woods and her team of investigators, Forensic Instincts.Genre: Mystery/Thriller
A behaviorist. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A former Navy SEAL. Unconventional operatives. All with unique talents and reasons for joining Casey's group.
Able to accurately read people after the briefest encounter, Casey picks up signs of a nervous spouse, a guilty conscience, a nanny that hides on her cell. She watches as secrets creep into the open.
But time is running out, and the authorities are bound by the legal system. Not Casey's team. For they know that the difference between Krissy coming back alive and disappearing forever could be as small as a suspect's rapid breathing, or as deep as Hope's dark family history.
Series: Forensic Instincts, Book #1
The Story: Family Court Judge Hope Willis was looking forward to an early evening where she could spent time with her 5 years old daughter Krissy when she received a phone call informing her of every parent's worst nightmare: Krissy is missing. It's even worst for Hope because she's been through this nightmare as a child when her twin sister Faith was kidnapped from their house right under Hope's eyes and was never found. As such, Hope knows how crucial the first few hours are and that time is the essence. She wants to do everything in her power to find Krissy and therefore hires Forensic Instincts.
Casey Woods is an independent profiler who used her trust fund to create Forensic Instincts. She assessed meticulously and recruited Marc Deveraux, an ex-Navy SEAL and ex-FBI agent, and Ryan McKay, a brilliant techno-wizard, and together they help law enforcement agencies to solve crime... and the reason they are so successful is that they are not bound by rules and bureaucracy which allows them more freedom.
When Hope calls, Forensic Instincts has just closed a case, and while she's running on very little sleep, Casey doesn't have the heart to turn down Hope's request. This means she'll have to deal with the FBI among which is her boyfriend, SSA Kyle Hutchinson, aka Hutch. However, everyone is aware of their priority: bringing Krissy back home safely. Unfortunately, given what the parents do for a living - a family court judge and a defense attorney, suspects and motives are not in low supply...
And perhaps, the only way to find Krissy is to solve a 30 years old mystery...
My Opinion: Last month, while checking for the new releases to make the New Releases post over at Breezing Through, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Ms Kane had a new book coming out with Mira! Her last book Drawn into Blood was released 2 years ago and I haven't heard from her ever since... so I thought perhaps she had disappeared like it happens to some other authors. Anyway, I'm glad she's back and being with Mira is just a bonus for me :)
Let's be clear, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice is not a romantic suspense, it's much more mystery/thriller although Casey is in a budding relationship with Hutch and we've been introduced to Ryan's love interest. However, there's no doubt that the focus is the suspense and the romance is an after-thought.
To me, I thought the suspense was very well done and it was definitively the book's strongest element. There were a lot of twists and turns, the whole case was very complex, layered and at the same time, it was very different than most suspense out there. Nowadays, I feel that romantic suspense books are very bloody, gory and focused on murders... but having a child missing is completely different - on both procedural and emotional fronts. I also thought Ms Kane did a great job at tying up everything together. Definitively well-written in that aspect :)
What didn't work as well for me was the idea of Forensic Instincts... Actually, not the group itself, but their methods and the fact that they are skirting the lines. I understand it gets them results and most of the time faster, but ethically... It's really understandable that law agencies don't welcome them with open arms. I do get the idea of why such a group is necessary, but reading about it ^_^; Perhaps in future books, if there are less mention of them skirting the laws, then it'll go down more easily. Also, I'm not sure Casey's reasons for founding Forensic Instincts are strong enough for me... But that's just my opinion.
Another issue I had with The Girl Who Disappeared Twice is that I felt like I missed the first book. I felt like I was literally dropped into the middle of something - Forensic Instincts is already founded, but still in developing stage, Casey and Hutch are already in a relationship... So as a reader, I missed all the beginnings... which I found have really liked to see.
Despite those flaws, I did like The Girl Who Disappeared Twice. There were very little romance and character development. Still, if there is another book about Forensic Instincts, I will definitively be picking it up because I'd love to find out more about Casey and her team and I do want more of her relationship with Hutch. I think that Casey and Hutch's relationship was very mature and it was really nice to read about. Two persons who are able to put their troubles aside to talk honestly, decide what their next step is going to be and recognizing that what they have is something special... very mature and refreshing :) I really like them as a couple, I think they complement each other very well. For fans of Ms Kane, I'd say Casey and Hutch's relationship is very reminiscent of Sloane and Derek's in Draw into Blood.
My Grade: C. All in all, there are definitively some issues in this book, but at the same time, a lot of potential :) Enough that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up the next one :)