Heart of a Runaway Girl by Trevor Wiltzen (2021) Review

book cover on the side

Mabel Davison #1

Why I picked up the book:

Why I picked up the book:

What you will find is a thrilling and exciting, action-packed mystery and an amazing, strong woman at the heart of it. Our protagonist is Mabel, a separated single mom of two boys and guardian of her Niece. She is the sassy and kind owner of a motel and diner in a little town in the middle of nowhere. 

Now the mystery – a girl is found dead and they arrest her boyfriend who happened to be black just because of the colour of his skin! The little town is a drug paradise, ran by skinheads who have the law in their pockets. Mabel is sure the boy is innocent and finds herself deeper and deeper into a search for truth she can not walk away from.

The book through my criteria lens:

Wiltzen is an author who can edit himself. How refreshing it was to read a book where every single word was relevant to the story. If you’re looking for fluff, you won’t find it here. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading Heart of a Runway Girl in one sitting. I loved the atmosphere Wiltzen created in his book; it was tense, thrilling, and felt like the town of Twin Peaks set in the ’80s.

All the characters were brilliant, and Wiltzen made a point to develop them all equally – they were as much part of the town and responsible for the atmosphere as the mystery. Solid debut novel executed superbly.

My personal feelings:

This book is set in the ’80s, but it also delivers social commentaries that are incredibly relevant today. Without overtly doing so, this book invites you to check your privilege and speak up for what you think is right, without dropping the entertainment ball for a second!

I freaking love Mabel! I need to meet her in person, and I NEED this to be a series – a book series AND a televised show! This book screams for an adaptation! As I read the book, I pictured Mabel as a younger Laura Dern when she was kind or Madchen Amick when she was kicking ass. And honestly, isn’t it time for an ’80’s mystery show revival?

I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the details in this book. I don’t want to spoil it, but the author addressed something that always bothered me in amateur sleuth’s origin stories, and I was here for that!

And how refreshing was it to read a book that didn’t rely on the use of technology! It helped add to the atmosphere and suspense, and Wiltzen was so careful about staying true to the ’80s. It shows he did his research!

I know I have been saying this a lot – but I happen only to pick up books I’m intrigued by – you have to read this! It is a new release and self-published, so we should support authors who are doing their best to entertain us during the pandemic!

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness       9  

Plot                  8

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.6

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/wh3hyQFJ5lE


Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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