I’m sitting here in police headquarters shivering like a Chihuahua in a snowstorm. But not because of the brutal cold. It’s because Chief Thacker called me in to help deal with a baby that’s been kidnapped. A three month-old by the name of Elizabeth Ann who was stolen from her crib in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood. Her teenaged babysitter was also violently assaulted and is over at Hennepin County Medical Center right now with rope burns and a broken nose.
The parents are frantic and the detectives I work with seemed stunned when they viewed the grainy baby cam footage that was salvaged. It looks as if the perpetrator might be a woman! Maybe even a woman they’re tentatively calling the doll lady – a woman who creates “reborn” dolls that look and feel like they’re alive. There’s a crazy cult-like following of these dolls, and doll enthusiasts, as well as childless couples, actually sign adoption papers and pay high fees just to get their hands on these dolls.
Is that crazy or what?
Still, the trail for Elizabeth Ann and her abductor is getting colder and not much is being done. There just aren’t a lot of clues.
I’m not a police detective, although I’d like to be. I’m Afton Tangler, a family liaison officer who’s tasked with dealing with victims and victims’ families in the messy aftermath of violent crimes. I’m also a mom, so I understand the heartbreak that Elizabeth Ann’s mom and dad are suffering right now.
My friend, Detective Max Montgomery, just told me that the dead body of another child had been discovered at the bottom of wooded ravine and a young man with a camera phone has been seen snapping pictures of newborns at nearby Memorial Hospital. And, lucky girl that I am, one of the FBI agents on the case just made a pass at me.
When I finally got home tonight and saw my own kids, Poppy and Tess, I knew I had a big decision to make. I’m thirty-four years old, have never drunk a Cosmopolitan, never worn a Wonderbra, never vacationed at Club Med. If I know what’s good for me, what’s smart for my career, I’ll keep my nose clean, stay the hell out of this investigation, and maybe even get around to pursuing my frivolous “want list” some day.
Or I can bulldog my way into this investigation, find that missing baby, and nail the son-of-a-bitch kidnapper’s ass to the wall.
It isn’t a difficult decision.
Little Girl Gone is the first book in the NEW Afton Tangler thriller series, published by Berkley Publishing Group, July 2016.
In the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime. . .
On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.
As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.
But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing.
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Meet the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Little Girl Gone, an Afton Tangler Thriller was released July 5, 2016. Writing under her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-six mysteries, including the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Little Girl Gone. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 13, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.