book blog · book review

A Map of the Dark (The Searchers #1) by Karen Ellis

35605410A girl, missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.

*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads


*Thank you to the publisher, Mulholland Books, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

FBI agent, Elsa Myers, was specifically requested by Lex, a police officer, to handle a missing teenager’s case. And though all she wants is to be beside her ailing father, Elsa just can’t turn away from the chance to help save the teen. With Lex’s help, they tried their best to look for all the possible lead for Ruby’s disappearance. Things took on a difficult turn when they found out that Ruby is not the only missing teen and that they are possibly dealing with a serial killer. Elsa knows they need to move fast before the killer strike again. But for her to successfully do that, she has to face her own demon that’s been threatening to resurface, triggered by the new case she’s handling that’s reminiscent of her childhood, and her father’s looming death.

A Map of the Dark is a well-written mystery thriller with a complex main character. And with that, I find it hard to fully connect with Elsa yet at the same time I still find her deeply interesting. It’s evident that she’s flawed and unstable and there have been hints that she had a rough childhood. That she’s hiding this terribly dark secret that’s been unconsciously haunting her. But it wasn’t revealed until the last part and with that coming to light, Elsa’s demeanor became understandable and even tolerable. The mystery behind the teenage girls’ disappearance interspersed with Elsa’s childhood had me transfixed. But I feel like there’s not enough background story about the killer. I wanted to know more details of what really pushed him to do the crimes and how he does it. And although the twist is predictable, there are still some elements that come off as surprising. The ending is also pretty solid. This is a good start for a series and I enjoyed it enough that I wouldn’t mind reading the next book and see how Elsa’s character will develop.




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