In what might seem at first like a sleepy small town of Denton, Pennsylvania, there is more to this town than meets the eye. Many murders land in Detective Josie Quinn and her team’s laps. Lisa Regan loves that missing and murder girls trope and uses it quite often. With 16 books, she still manages to create an exciting edge-of-your-seat case that has me clicking the pages as fast as I can.
Detective Josie Quinn
Detective Josie Quinn starts off as a harsh, cold, and flawed character that is hard to connect with, and it took me a bit to warm up to her. Once I did, I could not get enough of her. When we first meet her in Vanishing Girls, things are not going well for her. She is currently suspended from the force for misconduct, struggling with her alcohol consumption, her failed marriage to high-school sweetheart Ray, and her past demons.
Lisa Regan does a fantastic job creating and developing Josie’s character, allowing us to think and feel differently for her with each book. The story’s strength is the relationships Josie develops and the growth we see from one book to another. A natural talent and a gift from an author who can have us more invested in the characters with each book
While you can read the books as stand-alone for the crime, you will miss out on the character’s development and relationship growth. Lisa centers her stories not only around Josie but also around the other characters. Some of the investigations are centered around the team members or family, which might enhance the story if you knew some background about them.
But do you have to read all of them? No, I have added on each book which ones I think are a must-read, if you could skip it or when I think you could start the series.
Book 1: Vanishing Girls Pub Jan 2018
Everyone is searching for 17-year-old Isabelle Coleman. Josie Quinn, currently suspended, takes matters into her own hands and digs deeper into the case of 17-year-old missing Isabelle Coleman. She discovers more girls have vanished over the past few years.
Josie is not an easy character to warm up to, and she is not all that likable in this one, but don’t let that put you off from reading the series. Josie and her high school sweetheart Ray’s relationship is the heart of the personal side of the story. I became entirely invested in the dynamics of their relationships and found myself cheering for Josie and Ray.
Must read/ Start here
Book 2: The Girl With No Name Pub April 2018
Josie is back on the job, and she is in charge now. She is called to a crime scene where a woman is found beaten and her newborn baby snatched from her arms. A woman caught fleeing the scene is Josie’s only lead, but it seems the woman doesn’t know who she is, where she’s from, or why she is so terrified. As Josie digs deeper, she finds a connection to her fiance, and the story becomes interesting as I try to piece together the crime
Must read / Read after book 1
Book 3: Her Mother’s Grave Pub July 2018
After discovering human remains, we start to see a connection between Josie’s past and the present. As she battles the demons from her past, it becomes clear that someone close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.
Lisa Regan takes us back to Josie’s childhood, and we see who that demon is and into her dark past. It was a little darker than I except, and Lisa Regan shocked me with how dark it was. I loved all the secrets and lies from the past that haunted Josie, and I was hooked while I clutched my kindle right to the end, unable to put it down.
Must read / don’t start here
Book 4: Her Final Confession Pub Nov 2018
One of Josie’s team members is arrested for murder. As always, Josie is the first on the scene and is determined to prove Gretchen didn’t kill the young student found dead. She digs into Gretchen’s secretive life and uncovers a link between the boy, a photograph, and a devastating case in Gretchen’s past.
Secrets come to light, adding suspense and tension to the story. When it seemed like things were coming together in the case, another twist comes, and Josie races against time to find the killer.
There is a little romance going on here, and I was happy to see Josie find some happiness there
Still a good one but can be skipped
Book 5: The Bones She Buried Published March 2019
When Josie and Noah lose somebody they love, their murder is connected to a famous missing person from Denton. While grieving, Josie is driven to find the killer and find answers. Just when I thought Josie was catching a break, the murder threatened her relationship with Noah, and some of Josie’s flaws started to emerge. And there I was again, yelling at the characters.
The twists and turns kept coming, and I started along with Josie spinning in circles, trying to follow the leads and clues. In the end, everything came together quite well with the case.
A good one but can be skipped
Book 6: Her Silent Cry Published Aug 2019
Seven-year-old Lucy Ross is taken from the carousel in Denton city park, and Detective Josie Quinn is in a race to find her kidnapper. How Lucy goes missing is chilling and unsettling, but not in a graphic way. It’s eye-opening and had me rethinking a few things when I am out and about. In this installment, we see another side to Josie, and again I loved her even more.
Must read / You can start here but will miss some connection to the characters however the case is strong enough to pull into the series.
Book 7: Cold Hard Creek Published Dec 2019
Josie is called to the woods to investigate the death of two campers as she deals with the darkness that haunts her at night. I love the intensity here with that, along with the warmth that guides Josie through the darkness. The crime is engaging with a little something different that kept me on my toes.
My favorite part of the series is the dynamics between Josie and her past; we see more of the demons that haunt Josie as she investigates the crime.
Book 8: Find Her Alive Published Dec 2020
In this story, after her twin sister Trinity goes missing, we learn more about Trinity and her childhood. Josie determined to find her alive, puts her feeling aside and follows the clues. I love how Lisa Regan layers those clues for us to follow along with Josie and figure some out as she does while also surprising us with the final twist to the story.
The ending and that final reveal left me feeling a bit disappointed, and I wish it didn’t go there, but after reading eight books in the series and loving them up to this one, I can let it go because I love Josie!!
You can miss this one but will miss some backstory to Josie and her sister.
Book 9: Save Her Soul Published Aug 2020
The story starts off exciting and tense here as Josie is caught up in a flood and finds a body flooding. She soon discovers the body is connected to her past and what she finds rattles her soul, and she is left questioning everything she believes what makes her, her. I loved the connection between Josie and Ray and seeing more of their past. I love it when we see more into Josie’s past and see a raw, vulnerable side to her, and here in this one, we are taken back to Josie’s high school years with Ray. I was glued to the pages, my heart breaking for Josie and rooting that she doesn’t lose herself.
The case is exciting, with plenty of action, suspense, and tension, with some great twists and turns that had me tapping my kindle as fast as I could. Lisa kept me guessing until the end, and I loved everything about this story!
Must read / Can start here and you will get some backstory to Josie but will miss connections to the characters.
Book 10: Breathe Your Last Published Dec 2020
Lisa Regan changes things up a notch here in this one by adding a bold and bizarre case that had me asking many questions. She tests Josie and her team and us readers with those exciting “what is going on” twists to the crime and our beloved characters.
My love for the series is all about Josie and her dynamics with the people in her life. That takes center stage rather than the case for me. However, here it was all about the case. The crime touches on a dark reality that is not often explored, and at times, I questioned some of the story’s truth and how Lisa would pull off that line between reality and entertainment. In the end, she pulled it off.
The intense action and climax to the story were like nothing I had seen from Lisa, and I was on the edge of my seat with my mouth wide open in shock at the heart-wrenching turn the story took. That heart-wrenching turn pushed my surprise to the point I almost messaged Lisa to ask what she was thinking, throwing that at us readers!! In the end, I enjoyed the emotional pull she brilliantly layered on us.
Must read / Can start here but you have missed a lot of dynamics between the characters. The case is strong enough to read on it’s own
Book 11: Hush Little Girl Published April 2021
When a twelve-year-old’s body is found on the steps of a mountainside church, Josie Quinn rushes to attend the scene. She recognizes her from when her mother had offered her help when she’d needed it. While searching the girl’s house, Josie is devastated to find her mother is dead too, and her little sister hiding. Just when Josie is closing in on the killer, a tragedy shakes her to her very core and Josie will never be the same.
I loved this one and I am leaving it at that!!
Must read / I won’t suggest jumping in on the series after reading this one.
Book 12 Her Deadly Touch Published Aug 2021
Her Deadly Touch picks up where Hush Little Girl left off, and Josie is grieving after significant trauma in her personal life. Josie comes across a body that leads to a group of grieving parents who lost their children in a devastating bus crash. Another body is found dead, and it’s looking like someone connected to the bus crash is out for revenge. Josie starts to investigate the parents of the crash, and secrets begin to come out about what happened on the day of the bus crash.
Lisa Regan throws a lot at Josie, and we see so many different sides to Josie because of that. That can get a little tiring and old after a while, but with Josie, she grows more with everything thrown at her, keeping her character from feeling tired as another side of her is fleshed out. But Josie doesn’t do it alone; she continues to be surrounded by people who love and support her, and that is the heart of the series for me.
I loved how Lisa Regan weaves in Josie’s, the parent’s, and her personal grief and creates a heart-wrenching realistic exploration of grief while creating a mystery with plenty of twists and turns that kept me on my toes.
Must read / But don’t start here
Book 13: The Drowning Girls Published 2021
Josie is afraid when one of her team members, Amber, is missing. When she rushes to a dam, she pulls a body from the freezing water, thinking it’s Amber, but it is not Amber. Josie is determined to discover who the woman is and how she is connected to Amber.
Lisa Regan delivers another twisty and thrilling story with something different than I accepted from that missing and murder trope she loves. She never ceases to amaze me with how she can use that trope and still keep the plot exciting. I had on my sleuth hat, trying to follow the clues, and I was ready for that final twist that I am excited to say I saw coming.
Must read / But don’t start here
Book 14: Watch Her Disappear Published April 2022
After 14 books, I am realizing Denton is one violent little town!!! Josie is called to the scene of the murder of another girl. I am just starting to realize Lisa Regan loves to use tropes around murdered or missing girls. However, after fourteen books, she still creates exciting, fresh, unpredictable twisty plots around those tropes.
I love that Lisa continues to write stories involving other characters; however, this one focuses more on the investigation than on the other characters in Josie’s life. A girl’s murder has similarities to a cold case that feels a little too similar to a team member.
Lisa Regan is known for the twists and turns in her stories that keep readers on their toes, and this time I was ready for her. However, even though I saw some things coming, I was still pleasantly surprised in the end
Book 15: Local Girl Missing Published April 2022
While I am getting a little tired of the missing and murdered girl trope, Lisa Regan has again delivered us something fresh and exciting here with that trope.
Josie finds the body of a local teenage girl, and a second girl is missing, and Josie won’t rest until she is home safe
Must read but don’t start here
Book 16: The Innocent Wife Published Dec 2022
Lisa Regan strays from that murder and missing girl trope (whew!) and takes a unique spin on that woman in trouble because of a man trope in this cat-and-mouse game for revenge.
Beau and Claudia Collins were idolized for being the perfect couple, but like all couples, they have their dark secrets. Josie is called to the scene of Claudia’s murder and races as bodies fall to discover the secrets to this perfect marriage as a game begins between Beau and a killer.
I loved that a damaged character from the past returned to help the team find the killer. Josie shows kindness and compassion for the character, which is refreshing.
Lisa has a way of drawing things out instead of tightening up the pace, and it feels repetitive sometimes; however, it’s all about the characters for me!!
Must read but don’t start here
It’s hard to believe after 16 books this series is still going strong. It’s the only series I have started and kept up to date!!