After reading Winter People and The Night Sister last year, I resolved to read all of Jennifer McMahon’s work. Both of those books were pitch perfect – suspenseful, spooky, everything I want in a thriller.
That’s why it pains me to say Island of Lost Girls will not make my Top Ten Favorite Books this year. Not even close.
The story begins with a kidnapping. Rhonda is sitting in her parked car as she watches someone dressed as a rabbit steal a child. She does nothing to prevent the kidnapping, which she regrets, particularly since her best friend, Lizzy, from childhood went missing many moons ago and here she is watching another child vanish. It is her guilt over her inaction that prompts her to help solve the mystery of who was underneath the rabbit suit.
About that rabbit suit. It was this detail that drove me nuts. Allusions of Peter Rabbit flood this story, which is equally annoying because the brother of Rhonda’s childhood friend is named Peter. There are references to Alice and the White Rabbit and collecting eggs on Easter, and so on.
I can’t recall a page where rabbits were not mentioned. It was so frequent that at one point I audibly said to an empty room, “Okay. We get it.”
The suspense was there, and in between the rabbit references was a real mystery to be solved. Who was underneath that rabbit suit? What did he do with the child he took? And what happened to Lizzy more than a decade prior? Are the two vanishings connected?
Honestly, when the mystery was solved, I felt underwhelmed. One of the people I already suspected was connected to the crime, and when the story fully fleshed out and everything had come to light, I was just glad to be done with the book so I didn’t have to read any more metaphors about rabbits.
Skip this one and read Winter People or The Night Sister.