The Foreign Girls by Sergio Olguin

Following the events of the previous novel, Veronica Rosenthal, journalist, heads away to the holiday home of a family friend in Tucaman to rest and recover. She meets up with two tourist girls who are passing through, and they end up travelling together. But after a party, they don’t leave together and the two girls are found raped and murdered the next day. There is some signs that there was black magic involved in the deaths, but Veronica thinks this may be a misdirection and that someone is covering things up.

The book has a loose basis on a similar case where two young tourists were killed, and the general attitude towards their rape and murder was that they somehow brought it on themselves by being women and travelling. The book explores some of the themes of nepotism, cover up, and endemic misogyny that was rife in the area in that case.

As I mentioned above, this book is the second in a series about Veronica. She’s a pretty cool protagonist. She’s smart, sexy, vibrant and isn’t afraid to investigate and find the truth. She’s tough. A lot of the time with books that are a series, I get asked if you need to read them in order. I think in this case, the answer is kind of yes. You can just read this one. But it does have spoilers for the plot and end of the previous book.

A major plot thread in this book is that someone from the first book is after Veronica, and I found these parts a bit over blown and dull. And I think, for me, this may have been because I hadn’t read the first book. These side plot just didn’t matter to me and felt like it was slowing the story down a bit.

The opening of the book was a little repetitive, it goes over some events more than once, but its quite interesting as it gets going. It’s a little more of a thriller style story than a mystery. The plot focuses a lot Veronica and her life, her relationships, and how she feels about the killing. It’s a pretty sexy read. There are some hot scenes with Veronica and one of the missing tourists and also with another character, no spoilers. It makes for a steamy read, which is fun. The who-done-it part sometimes come second to the personal aspects.

That said, I really liked immersing myself in the lifestyle and social aspects of another country. The Argentina setting was sunny and intriguing. I found the social gaps between men and women, gay and straight, and rich and not, was a really intriguing part of this book.

I really like a mystery story, and I liked Veronica as a main character. It’s nice that she’s a journalist rather than a detective, and her personal life was pretty interesting. I didn’t love the side plot, but I think it probably wouldn’t bother people who read the first one and knew that character a bit. On the whole, a good thriller series with some differences to keep it interesting.

Read It If: one for international thriller fans. Veronica is sexy, smart and determined and the case she’s on is personal.

Thank you PGC Books for the ARC of this book for review. The Foreign Girls is out April 2.

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