Sunday, August 3, 2014


New American Library
December 18th, 2012
Reviewed by Dawn (
Obtained by Library
3.5 Hearts

What would you do if your child just went out the door and never came back again? That is the reality Tom & Abby Stuart faced when their twelve year old daughter, Caitlin, took their family dog for a walk and then never came back. Fruitless search after search, the tragedy finally changing their marriage and their lives, leaving guilt and dread in its wake. But now four years later, Caitlin is back and she won’t tell anyone where she was, who she was with or what happened to her. Her eerie calmness leaves many unsettled and eager for answers. Tom Stuart is determined to find out what really happened during those four years to his daughter and he will find that by opening that door he is about to face his own past as well. What happens when a family is changed by tragedy and finds itself at a crossroads: let the past lay buried or discover the truth even if it means the truth will shatter your heart?

I got to admit I picked this up at my local library after reading a short review on it in a magazine and it sounded intriguing. CEMETERY GIRL is more than a mystery but also about one man’s journey into deciding if knowing the truth is more important than justice for his daughter. Mr. Bell delivers an engrossing, edge of your seat story that is just compelling. I just could not put this book down even to sleep. I had to force myself to put it down and not pick it up until the next day, it was that good. The many twists and turns left me reeling and the emotional aspect of the story comes across so lyrical, you can’t help but feel for the Stuart’s as they try to make their way through Caitlin’s reappearance, her refusal to tell them anything, the continuing investigation and more. What emerges is a picture that will at times horrify you and make you want to join Tom in his fight for that very truth.

CEMETERY GIRL is told from the father’s point of view and you get a sense of his roller coaster of emotions. From overwhelming loss to hope to fear and ore, the reader is transfixed as Tom searches for answers and tries to figure out if the truth is more important than his daughter’s well being. What really got to me was how this author was able to show how the disappearance of their daughter changed everyone in the Stuart family. The emotional aspect is quite a one-two punch in the gut especially as Tom and Abby try to figure out how to deal with Caitlin’s reappearance and the mystery surrounding her return. This is a fast paced storyline that leaves you breathless. I can honestly say I was checking on my kids at night to make sure they were still there in bed.

There were two things that I had some issues with in CEMETERY GIRL.  I didn’t care for Abby who made me want to smack upside the head. She just wasn’t quite a likeable character for me to enjoy. When her scenes came in the book, I just skimmed them and moved on. She did a lot of whining, crying and just made me want to scream ‘deal with it’ to her. Then there was the ending and the ‘big reveal’ which really was the whole thing the story was leading up to and it fell flat on its face. The ending had me scratching my head going ‘huh?’ The author did a remarkable job in keeping the reader glued to the pages, waiting for the answers of Caitlin’s last four years but when the time came, he glossed over it, and moved on. To me that was a huge let down since I was eager to see what happened. I do give the author props in creating an engrossing story that is every parent’s worst nightmare and delivering a fast paced thriller/mystery to enjoy. I just wished he made his characters a little more likable and relatable, in my opinion.

If you are looking for an intriguing story that has a few twists and turns to keep you glued to the pages, then you might try CEMETERY GIRL. Just be warned that you will want to stay up past your bedtime to see what happens next.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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