Steph Linder dreams of being an Atlanta policewoman when she graduates high school in 1980’s Georgia. After her estranged mother is killed in Woody Pines, Steph is forced to stay with the grandmother and uncle she blames for her parent’s divorce in order to secretly investigate the murder. In the small, insulated town, Steph encounters a hunky teenager with intimate ties to her mother, three disreputable men who worked with her at a seedy bar, and a friendly librarian with several motives to be the number one suspect.
With only six days to catch the killer before going back to Atlanta to finish her senior year, Steph deals with a lecherous uncle, residents who view her as an unwelcome stranger, and long distance problems with her boyfriend and two BFF’s. Will she find the killer, or fall victim to the same fate as her mother?
The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight is a teen-noir crime mystery that features a plucky, but flawed heroine, a broken family unit that bands together after eight long years, and a tension-filled denouement that will stay with you long after you finish the novel.
With a multitude of characters and a writing style that I found really comfortable to read, The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight stirred my interest. The very first chapter pulled me into the story. It introduces the main character, Stephanie Kaye Linder, a six-foot teenager, with curly blonde hair, who likes to be called Steph. She wants to be a police officer and is an intern in Atlanta. After her mother’s murder, considering that the town police aren’t able to deal with the investigation, she embarks on a dangerous road, determined to find out by herself, the truth. With each chapter the action picks up as much as necessary to make you want to read more.
The world building is well done and Stephanie's take on detective investigation will certainly hold your attention. She is a smart girl and able to put two and two together. One of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the suspense. The author, John Tucker, does a great job of providing the reader with just enough information that she/he wants to keep turning the page.
The plot and characters are well written and consistent. Stephanie is an interesting character. I loved her personality. She is courageous, daring I may say, with a certain carelessness when it comes to her own life and safety, which makes her very intriguing. At the cemetery, her only thoughts were bent on revenge, rather than helplessly grieve at the passing of Samantha Raye Linder, her estranged mother. Steph considers she is able to deal with things as efficiently as any adult. I love you, Dad, but you’re a big mother hen. You’ve got to let me go sometimes. Maybe if you knew how much of an adult I already am, you wouldn’t get so weirded out.
Uncle Thad or Uncle Big Bad Wolf as Stpeh calls him is another intriguing character.
The story flows extremely well, making The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight a good book that you don’t want to put down.
I consider the story not only a nice, Nancy Drew type mystery, but also a quest for Steph. A quest of discovering her own self, growing-up into adulthood and also learning the truth about her mother.
I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest opinion.