Friday, July 08, 2016

“Have You Seen This Girl?” by Carissa Ann Lynch – The Fallen's Vengeance

Have You Seen This Girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch - book cover
Many of us can certainly identify a few painful and humiliating moments that marked us during our childhood, but for the most part the majority of us are indeed lucky enough not to have suffered the kinds of events that deform our lives forever. Unfortunately, there are some about whom the same can't be said, people who have suffered irrevocable changes at the hands of very real monsters. Their stories go in a number of different ways in real life, but in Have You Seen This Girl? by Carissa Ann Lynch, it goes the way of bloody vengeance.

The book begins by introducing us to two air-headed teenage girls, Wendi and Claire, about to go on a date with two mischievous boys promising them romance and adventure. Perhaps the promise did turn out to be true, but in the worst way possible: the two girls find themselves kidnapped and brought to a place Wendi could only call “The House of Horrors”. There she witnessed the murder of her best friend, was made addicted to heroin, and abused in all the ways imaginable... and then set free. The woman in charge is convinced that Wendi would never be able to find her way back, or identify anyone responsible, and as an additional measure, threatens to kill her family should she open her mouth. And so, Wendi bides her time, spending her youth in the foster care system and detox houses, until the day she grows old enough to move back out into the world under a new identity, and put an end to the monsters who ruined God-knows how many lives.

As you can guess, Have You Seen This Girl? is a book with some very dark and heavy themes, touching on things such as child prostitution and human trafficking. While the author doesn't exactly provide a whole lot of details to the gruesome experiences, they are described with enough strength to make you feel sick on the inside, especially knowing that while this book might be fiction, the idea is certainly one that's perpetuated in real life. Lynch definitely succeeds in making you hate the villains with all your rage while evoking pity and sadness for the fate suffered by Wendi.

It ought to be said that the book does take a little while to get going, with the first half of it being dedicated to Wendi's biography, mostly after the House of Horrors. She shares a fair amount of information with the reader about her wants and objectives, about how she perceives the world and how she always planned to get even with the right people. Her inner monologues are fairly interesting, and if they don't feel insightful, they surely never seem out of place or expendable. While this first half does feel somewhat slow, especially in comparison to the hunt that comes after, it does a fantastic job at establishing Wendi as a powerful and complex character, one we can't help but root for no matter how low she falls.

In the second half of the book it feels like things pick up rather quickly, as Wendi almost immediately goes back on the hunt after returning back to her hometown, where nobody will likely recognize her. There are some rather harrowing scenes, both physically and psychologically, but ultimately Lynch never falls too deep into naturalism and doesn't go overboard. The anticipation of planning the revenge and seeing it acted out is probably one of the most satisfying feelings you'll draw from any book.

All things considered, Have You Seen This Girl? is a powerful vengeance thriller, one that will certainly leave you satisfied and horrified in equal measures. This story is one you can't help but wanting to see through to the end, and will always stick in your mind as a reminder of the evil that men do... as well as the resolve good men and women have to get through it.

Carissa Ann Lynch

Carissa Ann Lynch

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Carissa Ann Lynch is an American author with a degree in psychology who started her love affair with books at a young age and took up writing when she lacked anything to read herself. Most notably, she started the Flocksdale Files series, publishing the internationally-acclaimed Have You Seen This Girl?

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