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The Big Thrill Recommends: THE LAST BROKEN GIRL by Cynthia Rice

Recommended by Jody Gerbig

Book Cover: THE LAST BROKEN GIRLWinner of the 2023 Claymore Award, THE LAST BROKEN GIRL, by debut author Cynthia Rice, is a timely, page-turning psychological suspense about the life-altering trauma of a childhood kidnapping.

When police found 14-year-old Erin Moore being held captive in a rural Wisconsin barn, they arrested only Stanley Duggan, though Erin swore a red-haired woman, along with her King Charles Cavalier, helped him. Finding no evidence of an accomplice at the barn, authorities and the investigative reporter who broke the story questioned young Erin’s version of reality.

Twenty years later, Duggan is released from prison, and Erin’s concerns about another at-large captor are still not being taken seriously, even though someone has been hand-delivering threatening postcards to her home. With nowhere to turn for help, Erin’s life spirals, threatening not only her own counseling practice but her rocky marriage and her school-aged children’s futures, as well. But when the police start investigating Erin for recent crimes, she knows only she can stop her captor and his accomplice from taking everyone away from her again.

An unnerving suspense about small-town life that feels like a microcosm of modern-day America, THE LAST BROKEN GIRL questions whose story carries more weight—the authorities who solved the original crime or the girl broken by her experience. In the end, readers are left to ponder whether a community plagued by child violence can ever be made whole again.

If the cat from the last scenes has anything to say about it, we might have a fighting chance.


The Big Thrill Recommends: THE LAST BROKEN GIRL by Cynthia Rice

Jody Gerbig