If you’re coming into this book looking for a conventional romantic suspense read, you might want to have a rethink. I’d describe this more as a crime thriller with a side of romance, and it contains some much heavier themes than a typical romantic suspense.
The surviving girls of the title are Lei and Emma, the only survivors of a sorority house massacre twelve years before the story is set. Best friends, they live a pretty co-dependent life, sharing a fortresslike house where agoraphobic Emma has become a tech expert helping solve crimes and Lei, along with her trained cadaver dog Saul, search for victims of crime. Though they believe the killer to be safely behind bars, a copycat killing in Seattle brings the FBI to their door and old fears resurface again.
Lei is the primary protagonist of the novel, and this is very much her story, from her survivor’s guilt and PTSD to her determination never to let anyone suffer as she did again. Dante, her love interest, is an FBI agent assigned to the case, and while the two of the do their level best to be professional it’s quite simply a case of powerful chemistry between them which they find hard to ignore.
The reason why this book may feel a bit ‘too much’ for some romantic suspense readers is that the crimes are described in fairly graphic detail and there is a fair bit of delving into the mind of the killer and the troubled psyches of both Lei and Emma. I love crime fiction and suspense thrillers, and I don’t have any trauma triggers, so I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I would advise to read with care if some of the things described in this review might trouble you.
This is a wonderful, thoroughly absorbing read and I’d definitely give it five stars.
The Surviving Girls is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.