Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from Jasper, just south of Hammond, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to leave the girl she used to be behind and earn respect in her position as an officer.
However, when Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the gruesomeness of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about a terrible night from her long-buried past. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop, and not just any cop—Clint Wheeler, the cop who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda. 14 years ago.
And when her fingerprints turn up at the scene of the first murder, Miranda once again finds herself under the microscope, her honesty and integrity doubted, her motivations questioned. Alone again, the trust of her colleagues shattered, Miranda must try to trust the instincts she’s pushed down for so long, and decide what’s right—before it’s too late.
Fifteen years is a very long time to spend outrunning your past, but Miranda Rader has been doing so and that run has been fueled by more than a little anger and sheer determination. That night, that one single night fifteen years ago scared Miranda straight and since then she has used her iron will power to forge a life beyond what everyone in her small town thought she would be.
As a kid, Miranda was willful and stubborn and living in an environment that didn’t exactly enforce the rules. She was used to being in trouble and if it weren’t for the kidnapping, she likely would have ended up in jail or worse. Instead, she and another poor unfortunate girl were taken and assaulted by a psychopath who enjoyed the mental torture as much as the physical. Though Miranda escaped before the truly awful could happen to her, she wasn’t able to convince anyone, the police included of her story which meant, the other girl was left in the hands of a sick man. Turns out, when you’ve been proven a liar in the past and been in loads of trouble, people are less apt to believe you.
Over the past fifteen years, Miranda has often wondered about and felt tremendously guilty over the girl she left behind all those years ago. In her own way, Miranda has spent the past fifteen years working to right that wrong. As a cop, she helps those in need and brings to justice, those who have wronged others. She is dedicated to her job, an asset to her department, and loyal to a fault. That is, until she’s called to the scene of a vicious and clearly personal murder that shakes the foundation of Miranda’s carefully constructed world and causes her doubt everything and everyone around her.
From the moment she’s brought into the murder of the beloved professor, Miranda knows there is more to the story than anyone is letting on. Each new clue, each new bit of evidence, and each new statement convinces Miranda of a deeper plot that has something (perhaps everything) to do with that fateful night so many years ago. On the surface, the two events couldn’t possibly be related, but Miranda is very good at her job and she isn’t willing to let justice slide no matter who may be brought down in the pursuit. All Miranda can hope for it to find the big bads before her own career and life are taken away from her.
The Bottom Line: The Other Girl was my first Erica Spindler read and I’m sure glad I started here. Miranda is a top-notch character with a drive that can only be described as relentless. As her awful past comes crashing into her present and future, Miranda must fight to preserve what she’s built, even in the face of betrayal. Just like that night fifteen years ago, Miranda’s life is turned upside down and inside out in an instant and she must use every resource and every ounce of her strength and intelligence to solve not one, but two horrific crimes. In truth, I liked all the betrayal and mistrust in this read as it made Miranda even more resilient and determined to right a lot of wrongs. There are so many twists and turns in this reads that I was engaged throughout. The reveal of the big bad(s) didn’t come as a great shock, but it is a very satisfying thing to see how everyone, good and bad alike, get exactly what they deserve in the end. In all, a fine mystery for those who enjoy such things 😊