A Day in the Life of Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl GoneI’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 Gerry Schmittunder 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.

34 responses to “A Day in the Life of Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

  1. harley0326

    What an intriguing book. I must find out what happens. You are a new author to me. Can’t wait to check our your book.

  2. This sounds interesting and I am looking forward to hearing what happens! Little Girl Gone is definitely a thriller I want to read.

  3. carlrscott

    This book looks so intense I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy.

  4. Denise Zendel

    Huge fan of Laura Childs. This sounds like an interesting departure from the cozy work. Plus, being a family liaison officer is something I don’t know much about (other than seeing them mentioned in British/Scottish police procedurals). I’m in for the drawing!

  5. Doward Wilson

    Love this author so have to check this new series out.

  6. I really enjoy Laura Child ‘s books, so I’m sure I will like this one too.+

  7. Hi Dru, I wouldn’t normally enter for a thriller but I think Ellen would like it. So toss my name into the magic hat, I’d love to gift her with this book.

  8. wendynewcomb

    I’ve been wanting this book, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  9. A favorite author now writing a thriller taking place in my backyard! Sounds intriguing!

  10. Laura Child’s books are always good! I know I would enjoy this one, too! Thank you!

  11. Donna Gantt

    I like all the books pinned under Laura Childs and I bet this one is good too! Thanks!

  12. Sounds like a very intense mystery.

  13. I am always looking for new authors to read. This book sounds like the kind I enjoy.

  14. I am looking forward to trying a new book by one of my favorite authors. Thank you for the chance to win

  15. Linda Herold

    This book sounds different than anything I’ve read lately! Thanks for the chance to win it!

  16. Kay Bennett

    Wow would love to see how Laura Childs’ cozy style transfers to this. Thanks for the opportunity to win

  17. Love this author and can’t wait to try this title. Thank you for he chance!

  18. Celia Fowler

    This book sounds really intriguing–I’d love to read it!

  19. Thanks for including Little Girl Gone by Gerri Schmitt on your blog. I haven’t read anything by Ms. Schmitt and this book looks interesting. robeader53@yahoo.com

  20. Thanks for this enthralling feature and giveaway.

  21. I love all your other series and can’t wait to read this new offering!

  22. Patricia Lafferty

    Your other aliases always provide hours of reading enjoyment. I look forward to reading this new series. Thank you for the opportunity.

  23. Mary Jane H.

    I follow Laura Childs and her books. They are so real and draw you into the drama just as if you were actually there! I have not read any of the books by Gerry Scmitt.

  24. Sounds like a real page-turner! Would love to try this book.

  25. elainehroberson

    Sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  26. Sounds intense.

  27. Nancy Roessner

    Oh, this is guaranteed to be a wonderful book with this author. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  28. I’m a big fan of Laura Child’s books. I would really like to read “Little Girl Gone” and read a non-cozy book by Laura Childs.

  29. This looks like a book that I will really get into! Thank you for the chance to win! I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  30. Peggy Hyndman

    Sounds intense. Thank you for the opportunity to win

  31. I’ve been looking forward to this. Seems a bit grittier than her cozies, but I can see the setting in my head. Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. Kristin A.

    I really enjoy Gerry/Laura’s cozy series and have been eyeing this new title. I didn’t realize that is going to be a first in series though. Very cool! Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the chance

  33. I’ve heard many good things about this book. Want it.

  34. Great Post. Poor Afton. What a choice. Would like to see this turns out. I see a really macabre situation here. Of course the kidnapper would charge a mint. The chemicals for preserving the ‘dolls’ would cost a bit and the process a bit tedious. Am looking forward to seeing what Gerry Schmitt does with this thriller