Girl Most Likely
by Max Allan Collins
It’s never too late for revenge in this thrilling novel by New York Times bestselling and award-winning crime master Max Allan Collins.
In a small Midwest town, twenty-eight-year-old Krista Larson has made her mark as the youngest female police chief in the country. She’s learned from the best: her father, Keith, a decorated former detective. But as accustomed as they are to the relative quiet of their idyllic tourist town, things quickly turn with Krista’s ten-year high school reunion.
With the out-of-towners holed up in a lakefront lodge, it doesn’t take long to stir up old grudges and resentments. Now a successful TV host, Astrid Lund, voted the “Girl Most Likely to Succeed”—and then some—is back in town. Her reputation as a dogged reporter has made the stunning blonde famous. Her reputation among her former classmates and rivals has made her infamous. Astrid’s list of enemies is a long one. And as the reunion begins, so does a triple murder investigation.
Krista and her father are following leads and opening long-locked doors from their hometown to the Florida suburbs to Chicago’s underworld. They just never imagined what would be revealed: the secrets and scandals of Krista’s own past.
The small town of Galena in Illinois is home to 28-year-old Krista Larson, the youngest female police chief in America. Krista has followed in her father Keith’s footsteps. The ex-detective is back living with his daughter after she booted out her on/off lover Jerry, a local journalist for the Gazette.
The Galena High School’s 10 year reunion is looming and its girl most likely, Astrid Lund, is due to attend. Lund is now a top Chicago reporter. At school she had been a blossoming beauty, stealing boyfriends on every corner.
The book opens with one of its chilling second person POVs, in which the ‘you’ is tracking down and stabbing a woman to death in the doorstep of her Florida home. That woman was another of Galena High’s alumni.
The reunion arrives to which Keith escorts Krista. He’s an amusing old school character, she’s a likable protagonist. Astrid Lund arrives and glides around the venue, schmoozing and making amends. It turns out that she’s planning to write a feature on sexual misconduct, and that this seems to stem from an incident that occurred during her school days.
A shocking turn of events sees all the guests holed up, Agatha Christie style, in Lake View Lodge as they are questioned about a murder. Each interview reveals a new layer of information. In no time, Krista, Keith (as a consultant) and Jerry (the reporter) are on the case. Galena had been murder free for years and the father/daughter team have to call on help as their trail leads to Chicago, a city which sees 500 murders a year.
Lund, as you might expect for a Chicago investigative reporter, has a list of enemies and there are connections with crooked and ambitious politicians, the cut throat construction business, and the mob. That’s not to forget the damage Lund's many conquests have left behind.
Much of the story is told through dialogue, with writing that’s fresh and assured. The #MeToo story is relevant and the mix of small town and big city crime works well. Whilst the dialogue is a success there’s a tad too much description, and it’s a quarter of the way through before the pace picks up. However, I never lost interest or concern for the main characters.
Is this a local lunatic or someone pretending to be one? You’ll have to find out in Girl Most Likely, one of the year’s top thrillers.
About the Author:
Max Allan Collins is an American mystery writer. His work has been published in several formats and his Road to Perdition series was the basis for a film of the same name. He wrote the Dick Tracy newspaper strip for many years and has produced numerous novels featuring the character as well.