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Book Review: Daddy's Little Girl by William Malmborg

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The scary thing about modern horror is that it actually can (and does) happen so when I sat down to read this book, I wasn't prepared to be strapped into a rollercoaster and take this ride.

Based on headlines from a local newspaper, a young girl is kidnapped on her way home from school in April of 2002. In 2008, remains are found but not of the girl who disappeared, but a young girl named Misty has been trained by her father to kill her mother if things get out of hand.

Fast forward to the spring of 2017 when Ramsey and his sister Tess are driving through rural Illinois storm chasing. Ramsey has had an interest in storm chasing and tornadoes since he was younger and hopes to one day sell footage to a national news outlet.

Following a destructive tornado that's hit Smallwood (and damaged his year-old car) Ramsey and Tess find Bitsy who's stumbled out of a corn field. Bitsy has a head wound and the siblings take her to the local police station.

Having survived the tornado by herself, Lindsey has been listening to the police scanner and her father, Norman, a policeman, texts her to tell her that he'll be home as soon as possible, but he knows that he has to look for survivors and comes across an overturned van. When he inspects the van, he doesn't find anyone in it but does find a lot of blood.

In the distance he sees a house and barn and thinks that maybe the occupants have gone to get help there. His last memory is that of a girl tied up in the barn.

Back home, Lindsey gets a call from her friend Gloria, and she tells her that their other friend, Liz's house has been destroyed and the two of them head over to Liz's to help her find her cat, Gizmo. Lindsey is also worried that Oscar, a boy she likes, hasn't gotten in touch with her since he was on his way over for some afternoon delight.

At the police station, Officer Kate is interviewing Bitsy, but Bitsy is somewhat uncooperative because she's afraid of getting Misty and her father in trouble. Misty has had a way of manipulating her and she thinks that Misty is mad at her from what had happened a few nights earlier between the two of them.

What no one knows is that Misty has taken over at the barn and now with her father dead, she doesn't know what to do with Norman and the girl (Abigail). Her father had told her that they were going to head north and find a new house for them.

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Bitsy wanders off from the police station and makes her way to the high school where displaced families have been brought to and when she doesn't find Misty or her father, she rushes out of the school after seeing Ramsey and Tess.

Since night has fallen, Misty is afraid of the dark and tries to figure out how to get away from the barn, while Norman and Abigail try to formulate a plan of escape. He finds out that Abigail has been kidnapped two days earlier while she was walking home from school in North Carolina and had been in a box at the time of the storm.

With a plan of action, Misty comes back into the barn and asks Abigail if she can drive, and she tells her that she can. She uncuffs Abigail and they go out to Norman's police car. Misty wants to make sure that it's moved because it will surely bring attention (as if the van won't).

Abigail tries to stall as she maneuvers the car, but Misty becomes increasingly agitated when she finds out that Abigail has only driven about five times on her driver's permit and has never driven at night.

Officer Kate receives information from the North Carolina authorities about Misty and her father and goes looking for Bitsy. She finds Ramsey and Tess and they tell her that they saw her, but she disappeared. At that point, Gloria runs into the school and frantically tells Kate about a plan that Lindsey has come up with since she heard something about her father on the police scanner.

Gloria also confirms that Bitsy is with Lindsey and Liz and she's going to take the two of them to where the van is. She also gets on Kate because she tells her that she's been trying to get in touch with the police, but they wouldn't help her.

Knowing that he can't get any footage of the destruction of the town, Tess suggests that they get footage of what's about the showdown that's about to happen at the barn, but they don't count on becoming Misty's next victims since she's looking for someone to drive her away. Her obsession to drive stems from the fact that her father never taught her and there were times that she wanted to get away and try her hand at kidnapping.

This novel is relatively tame for Malmborg, but it is still twisted to an extent.

It was a rather fast paced read and everything takes place in a matter of hours rather than dragging it over a longer time period. He also does an excellent job with his believable characters since they are all of various ages.

If you're looking for something that has a little disaster and horror, this is highly recommended, and a mystery is revealed near the end, but I figured it out a couple of pages before the reveal and I wasn't let down.

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