Review: The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald

Title: The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 240 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A deathbed confession has chilling consequences in this gripping novel of psychological suspense.

“I have to tell you something … I did something bad”.

Ever since her best friend Molly was murdered fifteen years before, Blair Butler has returned to her small hometown in the Pocono mountains as seldom as possible. Now she has been summoned home to see her terminally ill sister one last time – only for Celeste to make a shocking deathbed confession. Is it really true that the wrong man has spent fifteen years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit?

Having promised her dying sister that she would do her best to right the wrongs of the past, Blair sets out to discover what really happened that cold, wet November night fifteen years before: the night Molly’s battered body was found in the woods behind her home. But is Blair prepared for the shocking truth … ?


The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald is a gripping mystery about a young woman’s attempt to exonerate a man wrongly convicted of murder.

Blair Butler has come a long way from her small home town where she lived with her older sister Celeste and their bigoted uncle who raised them after their mom’s death.  Blair went on to college and owns a thriving business with two college friends. Celeste became a single mother and still lives with their Uncle Ellis Dietz.  Blair has no choice but to return the small town where Celeste’s battle with cancer is about to come to its sad conclusion. However, before she dies, Celeste makes a stunning confession to her about the murder of Blair’s childhood friend, Molly Sinclair, who died fifteen years earlier.  Now Blair feels like she has no choice but to act on this new information, but local police are in no hurry to re-open the case in which the killer has already been convicted and is serving out his prison sentence. Blair wants justice for her friend and she enlists the aid of  private investigator Tom Olson to help her uncover the truth. However, a killer who has gotten away with murder for the past fifteen years will go to any lengths to stop Blair and Tom from unmasking his or her identity.

Blair has always blamed herself for the circumstances that led to Molly’s death.  Her business needs her attention but despite her best efforts, she cannot walk away from this new information.  She does not waste any time informing the police about the details Celeste disclosed to her right before her death. When they refuse to re-open the case,  Blair feels duty bound to investigate the case herself and she first teams up with a local news reporter to search for answers. When this arrangement quickly falls through, Blair is ready to concede defeat, but she cannot in good conscience leave town without trying one last time to find someone who can look into the case for her.

With no one else to turn to, Blair hires former cop and current private investigator Tom Olson to help her find Molly’s killer. Tom is not exactly hopeful he can unearth the truth, but he nonetheless agrees to take the case. Blair’s plans to leave town are once again scuttled when she does not trust Tom to follow through with his end of their bargain.  With the new lead that Blair has uncovered, she and Tom resume their investigation and she notices a puzzling detail that takes the case in a very unexpected and  shocking direction.  Blair’s curiosity then puts her harm’s way and she is uncertain whether or not she can escape from an increasingly dangerous situation.

The Girl in the Woods is a fast-paced and absorbing mystery. Blair is a likeable and sympathetic protagonist who learns and grows from her unexpected experiences in her hometown. Savvy readers will most likely figure out the perpetrator’s identity but Patricia MacDonald has a few surprises as the novel comes to an action-filled conclusion.  A nice amateur sleuth mystery than fans of the genre will enjoy.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Patricia MacDonald, Rated B, Review, Severn House Publishers, Suspense, The Girl in the Woods

One Response to Review: The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald

  1. Timitra

    Thanks Kathy for the review