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Krista Larson #1

Girl Most Likely

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It’s never too late for revenge in this thrilling novel by New York Times bestselling and award-winning crime master Max Allan Collins.

In a small Midwest town, twenty-eight-year-old Krista Larson has made her mark as the youngest female police chief in the country. She’s learned from the best: her father, Keith, a decorated former detective. But as accustomed as they are to the relative quiet of their idyllic tourist town, things quickly turn with Krista’s ten-year high school reunion.

With the out-of-towners holed up in a lakefront lodge, it doesn’t take long to stir up old grudges and resentments. Now a successful TV host, Astrid Lund, voted the “Girl Most Likely to Succeed”—and then some—is back in town. Her reputation as a dogged reporter has made the stunning blonde famous. Her reputation among her former classmates and rivals has made her infamous. Astrid’s list of enemies is a long one. And as the reunion begins, so does a triple murder investigation.

Krista and her father are following leads and opening long-locked doors from their hometown to the Florida suburbs to Chicago’s underworld. They just never imagined what would be revealed: the secrets and scandals of Krista’s own past.

272 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2019

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About the author

Max Allan Collins

725 books1,190 followers
Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2006.

He has also published under the name Patrick Culhane. He and his wife, Barbara Collins, have written several books together. Some of them are published under the name Barbara Allan.

Book Awards
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1984) : True Detective
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1992) : Stolen Away
Shamus Awards Best Novel nominee (1995) : Carnal Hours
Shamus Awards Best Novel nominee (1997) : Damned in Paradise
Shamus Awards Best Novel nominee (1999) : Flying Blind: A Novel about Amelia Earhart
Shamus Awards Best Novel nominee (2002) : Angel in Black

Japanese: マックス・アラン・コリンズ
or マックス・アラン コリンズ

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5 stars
656 (21%)
4 stars
988 (32%)
3 stars
962 (31%)
2 stars
296 (9%)
1 star
105 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 282 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,486 reviews79.1k followers
February 21, 2019
3.5 stars rounded to 4

Girl Most Likely is a fun, fast-paced thriller that is most likely the first in a new series. See what I did there? It's a wonderful book to dive into if you're looking for something to blow through in a day, as Dennis and I both managed to do with ease. It's a breezy 287 pages that contains part police procedural and part domestic drama. I can picture this being the perfect vacation splurge, especially for a beach trip.

The prologue and first couple of chapters really grab your attention; I love how the author chose to tell the scene of the first murder where we are watching in with no clue as to gender or voice of the killer; it really gives the reader a helpless feeling of knowing what's happening but being unable to stop events as they unroll. After this, we spend some time getting to know our main characters and a bit of backstory, but it never slows the story down or causes the reader to drift off. I will say that there seemed to be a ton of physical descriptions up until the reunion got rolling, which can be a hit or miss for some readers.

Once the reunion is underway, the plot really takes off, right up until the explosion of an ending, one that I will say is a bit of a cliffhanger. We do get some answers, but I was left to wonder as to the full scale of the killer's motive, and if the killer revealed was actually the killer, or a red herring until the next book. There are a few side plots that I feel might be covered in future books as well. Needless to say, Girl Most Likely begins and ends with a bang, and if you're looking for a quick, surface level read that is both entertaining and a minimal time investment, I highly recommend picking this one up.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
2,084 reviews1,662 followers
March 8, 2019
Amazon Kindle First - March

I chose this as my Amazon first read as I thought Road to Perdition was a great story so had high expectations of this one. It started well and I think the polite version of what I want to say is that it then went pear shaped.

I understand this is a book in the tradition of a Scandi noir of which I have read many and enjoyed most. So here goes. Brace yourselves.

1. Having Danish ancestry does NOT make you Scandinavian. It’s as ridiculous as me saying I’m French because I have French antecedents. I have btw. Krista is as American as I am English.

2. Calling your lead character a danish name similarly does not a scandi noir make. I think it’s Larsen in Danish anyway not ‘son’.

3. You can stuff your face with as many meatballs as you want, swill it down with Carlsberg and yell Skal and it still wouldn’t be the genuine thing. We did get a lot of food references btw.

4. I think you have to be Scandinavian to appreciate the detail that you would expect in their literature. For instance, Jo Nesbo gives detailed directions and descriptions in and around Oslo. It certainly wasn’t the detail in this book as that was just a big fat yaaaaawwwwnnnn. A great deal of detailed descriptions of what people were wearing. Who cares?

5. Danes are Uber cool. Probably the coolest of the Scandinavian countries. Sorry if you’re Swedish. Or Norwegian. You are cool too. Just quite not as cool as the stylish Danes. I didn’t detect too much cool in this setting in Illinois apart from the weather. Sorry if you are cool and from Illinois. I’m sure there’s plenty of you.

6. At 35% apart from a murder at the beginning of the book NOTHING had happened apart from Krista breaking up with Jerry, her dad moving in with her and a school reunion which you could describe in a page or two. I nearly fell asleep with boredom and found the rain bouncing down in the UK more entertaining.

7. We get another two murders to liven things up. And then ludicrously Krista brings her retired dad in to help her solve the murders and he goes haring off to Chicago. Then predictably you get a mob connection.

8. I did get a good (ironic) laugh when Krista and dad Keith pulled all the suspects in together at the end and interviewed them en masse.

9. By the time the murderer was revealed I’d lost the will to live and frankly just didn’t care.

10. Glad I didn’t spend my £££ on this. That’s about all the positivity I can muster. But I’m now wondering why I gave it two stars. 🤣

It safe to say ‘denne bog var ikke for mig’. Over and out and on to the next one.

Profile Image for Dennis.
818 reviews1,619 followers
February 21, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up!

Alright everybody, this book was a lot of fun. Girl Most Likely definitely seems like the first of a new series and I am 100% here for it. The story centers around Krista Larson, daughter of retired renowned detective Keith Larson. Krista is the youngest police chief in the country and presides over small town Galena, Illinois. Galena is a humble small town, known for the home of Ulysses Grant. It honestly sounds like one of those towns that you'd pass on a cross-country drive and want to make a pit stop.

Krista has just broken up with her boyfriend Jerry, and kicked him out of her house. At the same time, she has moved her ailing father in so she can monitor him. It's been tough since Krista's mother passed away, and she wants to make sure her father knows that she's there for him—even if that derails her personal life. However, Krista decides to attend her high school reunion with her ex, unenthusiastically, and her friends. Krista is very excited to reconnect with a classmate from her graduating class, Astrid Lund. Astrid was voted "Girl Most Likely to Succeed", and she has already achieved that milestone. Astrid is a famous reporter, working on cases that many may deem controversial. She's currently working on a sexual assault case in Chicago, and these types of cases have catapulted her into fame.

Krista's Galena High School reunion starts off with controversy immediately—it starts with a murder investigation, and ends up being linked to multiple murders spanning from Clearwater, Florida through Chicago, Illinois. Krista and her father end up teaming up on this investigation, because now, it's personal.

Soooooo, I just started Girl Most Likely
this morning. This book is a very fast read, and you'll definitely charge through it in one sitting, if you want to. It's a very quick, surface-level type of book, that really never dives super deep into the characterization or setting. That's not a negative attribute of the story, but just know at around 270 pages, Girl Most Likely takes off almost immediately. Even though the story is fast, I was definitely connected to a lot of the main characters. I think that Girl Most Likely has a lot of exposition, but it is definitely one of the strongest police procedurals that I've ever picked up. Usually authors drag out procedurals, leaving the reader (alright, just me) a tad bored. Girl Most Likely does not do that. The book lends itself to a lot of interpretation, so I hope that the author decides to release book 2 very quickly. All I know is that I want more, and I'm ready for this series to be on my must-reads.
Profile Image for Tanja ~ KT Book Reviews .
1,417 reviews193 followers
April 1, 2019
Who likes a good thriller? THIS GIRL!
Super fast paced and loaded with the best kind of drama to keep the reader invested. It’s a quick read, but a good one. Girl Most Likely is what I call a “waiting room read” easy to pick up and put down. Enjoyable and one you’ll want to keep in you bag.

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Profile Image for Josh.
1,649 reviews156 followers
April 28, 2019
Girl Most Likely plays out like a midday-movie with a cozy murder mystery feel about it. The plot centers around a small town high school reunion in which a couple of classmates are brutally murdered. The local Chief of Police, also a classmate, investigates the murders with the assistance of her father, a retired police officer himself.

Whilst I generally enjoy novels by Max Allan Collins (Nate Heller, Quarry series to name a few), Girl Most Likely was bland with uninteresting characters who lacked substance. The plot is distinctly stereotypical police procedural with little outside the core investigation to seek your teeth into.

My rating: 2.5/5.
5,069 reviews57 followers
March 4, 2019
The author kindly sent this to me in exchange for an honest review.

This is Max Allan Collins's attempt at a Nordic Noir. Illinois is close enough to Denmark to count, I guess. It actually starts off with a murder that reminds me a lot more of old Italian Giallo movies than a Nordic mystery, with somebody in a black raincoat stabbing a young woman to death.

From there, we go to Galena, Illinois, where the youngest female chief of police in the country is hard at work, and her father, a well regarded former detective is moving in with her. The chief's ten year high school reunion is coming up, and a local girl done good is coming back home.

The black raincoat stabs her as well, and the mystery starts.

We get an awful lot of virtue signalling, just like in most Nordic Noir. There are also some of the usual MAC tics, like describing everyone's clothes in minute detail, and Chicago connections, but not explicit sex scenes. The female chief of police is a bit too much like Brandy Bourne from Collins's Trash 'n' Treasures series, while the father is a bit too much like Nate Heller. The mystery isn't fair play, which is okay, because this isn't a cozy, but I felt like it should be noted.

On the whole, I regard it as a near-miss, but a well written one.
Profile Image for Stephanie ((Strazzybooks)).
1,013 reviews98 followers
April 16, 2019
I was excited to read this book because I really enjoyed Collins’ Criminal Minds books and his writing. Unfortunately I found myself more often irritated than interested. His writing style here reminded me of R.L. Stine - in that it is sometimes intriguing and makes you want to turn the pages, but mostly outdated.
It felt cheesy and superficial. A lot of descriptions of outfits and body weight (“an athletically slender gal” “an almost under-control weight problem”) and quotes such as: “A girlfriend of Krista’s (in the “friend” sense only)” and “hair short but not mannishly so” had me gritting my teeth.

I did like the killer’s sections being told in the second person and the father/daughter relationship.

I think people may enjoy this as a summer read. It’s easy to pick up and put down while you’re on the plane or the beach.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,108 reviews353 followers
April 3, 2019
Girl Most Likely is the first of two volumes in Collins' newest mystery series. In it, Collins returns to his roots, a small midwestern town and explores what a light-hearted but bloody knife-wielding murder mystery might be like there. It is a sharp departure from the gritty hardboiled seventies-pulp-flavored action of the Quarry series or the big-city big-star feel of the Nathan Heller volumes. The two stars of the novel are small town 28-year-old police chief Krista and her recently widowed father and former police detective Keith. The action in this novel revolves around Krista's ten-year high school reunion, the fabulous head-turning temptress who stole everybody's boyfriend back in high school (Astrid), and those who all these years later might have it in for her and there's a mighty long list of hearts she stomped on back when she was set on proving she was the "it" girl. Despite the gruesome bloody murders, it is a light, quick read that should have wide appeal. There is a multiplicity of characters introduced - it is a reunion after all - and I found it took a little bit to get real interesting.

Thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.
Profile Image for Daenerys.
136 reviews
April 18, 2019
If I had to sum up this book in one word, that word would be "ugh". I got it for free on Amazon and read it in less than two days, mostly because I was stuck on a plane for the majority of that time, but also because it is very short and very little happens, especially very little that is surprising. I would have finished it sooner if I hadn't spent so much time sighing and rolling my eyes.

What's so terrible about this book? I made a list:
- I have not made an accurate calculation, but I think about 75% of this book is just filler. And by filler, I mean that it felt like reading an essay where the writer had been given a word limit they couldn't reach with their flimsy story, so they waffled on an on trying to get as close to the word limit as possible.
Sometimes there is just an extra word or two (such as unnecessary adjectives and descriptive words) that should have been removed by a good editor - except this book clearly didn't have a good editor.

"A girlfriend of Krista's (in the "friend" sense only) stopped by and asked her to dance."
Even if Krista was gay (she isn't, in case you're wondering), this would add absolutely nothing to the story - I have read it all, and I know this for a fact. So why did you feel the need to clarify that?

"An area opposite the bed had a coffee table and two modern but fairly comfy chairs. She took one and he took the other."
Wow, thanks for specifying that, Mr Collins. Otherwise I would have assumed that the two characters (who have only met once before this scene) had sat on the floor, or shared a chair. This sentence is unnecessary and should have been cut. Also, since when do "modern" chairs equal "not comfy", forcing you to specify that they are, after all, fairly comfy?

- The author's favourite way of adding filler, however, is to describe what the characters are wearing, and how they look. I think that's 50% of the novel. Every time a character appears, even one we have met before, his or her appearance is meticulously described, from head to toe. Literally. If you read this you may not learn much about the characters, since they only have two dimensions, but you will for sure know that they are all handsome, or beautiful, or pretty, and also what shoes, trousers and tops they are wearing, how their hair is styled, and how clean and well put-together they look, or not. Guess what?
At least, I don't, and found it very very annoying. Adding lots of description does not make a good story. In this case, it adds nothing at all. It doesn't help the plot advance, it doesn't give you a sense of time or place - this story is so bland to begin with, it could be set anywhere, and the clothes don't help.

- poor editing: I have mentioned this already. There is bad grammar, and there are things that make no sense, that should have been pointed out. I have so many examples of this! Here are some:

1. "Galena High's favorite female alum" [sic].
I'm sorry, what? How did nobody spot, or bothered to check, what the singular female noun for a former student is? If they had done, they would have realised pretty quickly that alum is in fact something completely different, and not particularly pleasant.

2. "After showering, including shaving her legs and shampooing [...]".
This is both an example of the annoying "filler" technique and bad editing. This happens the day after a party. The author's wife proofreads for him, yet she didn't feel the need to point out that most women shave their legs BEFORE a party, not after. Well done, guys. Also, thank you for letting me know Krista washes her hair regularly. That adds a lot to the story.

Just in case you were wondering, at the party Krista was wearing "a little black Ralph Lauren dress, picked up at Nordstrom Rack in Oak Brook - half off the already discounted price. The black lace dress, with little cap sleeves, hit her just below the knee. The neckline was conservative, too, setting off her mother's pearls. Low-heeled, comfy pumps and little pop-of-color red Kate Spade purse on a gold-chain strap completed the effort (half price at an outlet store). Chic on the cheap!"
(yes, that last sentence is actually in the book. And of course it's totally normal that 28-year olds who go to their high school reunion do so wearing their mother's pearls).

3. Up the stairs your host pauses at the bottom of the stairs to the main dining room, from which there is no noise at all.
I'm sorry to be repetitive, but... again: what?

4. You hear a door open and a goodnight exchange between Jasmine to Tony, [...]
Somebody needs a crash course in grammar...

- Police speak: there is a lot of it in the book, as many of the main characters are cops. I am fine with that, with one exception, and that is the author's insistence on using the term "male" and "female" instead of "man" and "woman". The fact that these terms are used by the narrator when describing the action, rather than by policemen in work-related conversation/radio calls, makes this both unnecessary and irritating.

- While I have no problem with the main character Krista, her appearance at the beginning of the book is described in such a way that it just makes her look like a two-dimensional, slightly homophobic man's fantasy:
Krista at twenty-eight was a tall blonde (hair short but not mannishly so), her athletically slender but shapely figure somewhat hidden by the white blouse of her uniform - her long-sleeve polo (with badge-like insignia) a size up to downplay the natural beauty of her Danish genes. The weather required only a navy windbreaker today; her holstered .45-caliber Glock 21 rode high on her right hip, a badge pinned to her belt at left, her cotton slacks navy, her steel-toed shoes black.
I'm sorry, I couldn't resist adding another outfit description in there, just in case you did not know what policemen in uniform look like. This was 4% into the novel. A blonde, young Scandinavian woman, athletic but not too muscular, in a police uniform. Male fantasy, or am I being too sensitive? At least she's fairly likeable. I say fairly, because like everyone else she only has two dimensions: on-duty cop, and off-duty cop who calls her dad "Pops" because she heard it in a Charlie Chan film.

- The story: predictable, boring, and the kind you can't solve on your own because you're not given enough information about the suspects. I would have paid more attention, if I hadn't been so annoyed by all of the above, but I don't think it was worth it. This is apparently the first in a series. I wish Max Allan Collins luck in thinking of enough outfit descriptions to waffle through another 2 or 3 books, but I won't be reading them.

- After reading a few other reviews for this book, I was stunned to find out not only that most people seemed to enjoy it, but also that they thought it was "fast paced". The "Girl Most Likely" dies 93 pages into a 259 page novel mostly composed of description of clothing and rooms. If you think this is fast paced, I would be interested in knowing what your definition of a slow book is.

At the end of the book, I was informed that Max Allan Collins was named a Grand Master in 2017 by the Mystery Writers of America. If writing like this is all it takes to become a "Grand Master", then it isn't much of an accolade. I am so glad I did not pay to read this. Avoid like the plague, unless you have trouble sleeping.
Profile Image for Petra.
814 reviews78 followers
May 20, 2020
This was ok. Too many unnecessary details (precise descriptions of every character's clothing and items of furniture) made it drag. Interesting plot but lacking suspense and emotion. Narration was just ok, too (also lacking emotion).
Profile Image for Jen.
620 reviews267 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 4, 2019
OK, I'm quitting this book at page 72. I can't take it any longer.
Reasons for dnfing: the writing, the characters, the pacing, and the plot.
Profile Image for Todd Glaeser.
765 reviews
September 28, 2019
I used to read everything MAC in the 80’s &90’s. Comics, out of print paperbacks, Quarry, Eliot Ness, Nathan Heller. I stopped sometime in the Heller series. Don’t know why. Too many “tie-ins,” tastes changed?

I picked this up, thought a reunion could be fun. I was a little disappointed. The main characters didn’t seem smart enough to connect the dots the author was putting in their way which were red herrings anyway. The actual killer didn’t come out of nowhere, exactly, but he wasn’t properly set up either. And the second person narration for the killer just became irksome after a while.
On the plus side, Collins gave the book a real sense of place. Having grown up in the Midwest, I felt he “got” bigger small town life, “the city” adjacent.
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,571 reviews330 followers
March 31, 2019
3.5 stars rounding to 4.

Remember that girl in high school you loved to hate. The one who stole all the boyfriends, who dressed impeccably, who made you feel tiny and was voted the Most Likely to Succeed? Well in this book, that girl is Astrid. She shows up to the reunion dressed to the nines and people are already fawning all over her.. again! Krista just kind of observes and is surprised when Astrid approaches her to apologize and ask for her help. When Krista shows up to her house the next day... well, this is where the story starts to take off.

I absolutely love the relationship between Krista and her father, Keith. "Was it the kale?" 🤣 She brings him in on the murder investigation as a consultant and he notices a connection to another case and they're off and running to try and figure out who the killer is. What I did love was the different point of views - especially of the killer as this was in a gender neutral voice and had me looking in one direction that didn't pan out. (A detective, I most certainly am not!)

For me, this was a fun light thriller that reads like part police procedural and part high school turned adult drama. The writing is fast paced and fun and you can see the personalities shine for each character. Although I never figured out who the killer was, when the reveal came I just kinda went, "Oh ok." Not surprised but it didn't hold much of an impact either.

If you don't like to veer out of the thriller genre, this is a perfect palate cleanser in between the darker reads. This is also perfect for a beach read or quick travel read as at under 300 pages, this one flies! I also found it highly entertaining. I would definitely read this author again.

Thank you Little Bird Publicity and Thomas & Mercer for this copy.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,372 reviews92 followers
July 8, 2020
Krista Larson is the youngest police chief and a female, as we meet her she just gave her boyfriend the boot and made her father come and live with her in her parents original house. Her father being a retired policeman living on his own after his wife and Krista's mother died.
As the story starts there is a reunion starting in which Krista gets to meet her old classmates again. There is one guest who is actually the gril most likely to succeed and is actually the celebrity who got away and is now becoming a name in the news world. She is both celebrated and disliked by the folks at the reunion. And then she dies...........

While I enjoy Max Allan Collins writing generally this story while entertaining is certainly less my cup of tea. I am sure Krista Larson will appeal to a certain group of people, count me out. I'll stick with his other bookseries and revival of the Hammer series.
Profile Image for MissBecka Gee.
1,608 reviews639 followers
September 27, 2019
The overly descriptive writing was a bit hard to push through.
The constant in depth clothing descriptions made me feel like I was reading the fashion issue of Vogue instead of a mystery novel.
The story itself is good and the characters interesting.
The ending was rushed.
I will say it was a good surprise at the end...even if a bit rushed.
Hoping the second book is a little better.
Profile Image for Denise.
2,010 reviews86 followers
April 3, 2019
Who loves a high school class reunion? It would probably be a lot more fun if murder wasn't on the agenda!

Chief of Police, 28-year-old, Krista Larson plans to attend the festivities for the Galena, Illinois, Class of 2009 reunion at Lake View Lodge, a little resort managed by one of the classmates. The event is well-attended with the highlight being the triumphant return of the "girl most likely", Astrid Lund. She's done very well for herself, as predicted, and people swarm to her all night long. Unfortunately, the next day, Astrid is found dead in her home. Combined with another murder of a classmate in Florida, Krista believes that there is someone targeting women in their class and enlists the help of her father, retired police detective Keith Larson, to help with the investigation. As they sort through alibis and history, there are many red herrings and possible suspects -- and then yet another woman is killed! The stakes are high and the pressure is on for Krista to find out exactly what is going on and take down a remorseless killer.

This was fast paced and fun though full of inane descriptions about everything from menu items to attire! Indeed, everything is detailed and you almost feel as if you're seeing it all yourself. Although the characters aren't too well-developed, you do get a sense of the father-daughter bond and the painstaking nature of a police procedural. I enjoyed it. Definitely kept my interest as I, too, couldn't wait for the revelation of the identity of the person committing these crimes though the end came fast and I'm not sure I fully understood the motives of the killer. I wonder if we will hear more about this duo in a future book?

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for this e-book ARC to read and review.
April 1, 2019
#FirstLine ~ The girls would be there, of this much you are certain.

An intense and quick read that left me on the edge of my seat! This story is very character driven and is paced very well. You will get pulled into the story. You will be kept on your toes! You will think you have it all figured out to find yourself completely surprised! This book has a great setting, is thrilling and hard to put down! A must read for thriller fans! I also love that it is a new series to read!!!
Profile Image for David Highton.
2,965 reviews14 followers
May 16, 2019
A decent police procedural - I suspect the first in a series
346 reviews195 followers
April 25, 2019
“It’s never too late for revenge”

From what appears to be a slightly different approach to the author’s usual style of writing, this was a well constructed, thoughtfully researched, police procedural / murder mystery, which packed a punch in the scenes when it needed to ratchet up the tension, throwing in just enough red herrings to maintain the intrigue and kept me guessing right to the end – and, I have to admit, still quite a way from me getting it right!

The core plot was very relevant and on trend with current news features, highlighting with great clarity and insight, the enormous and potentially personal risks which whistleblowers are prepared to take, to ‘out’ their personal nemeses, often with disastrous consequences for themselves and others. Although it is a debatable point as to whether there would have been anyone stepping up to point the finger, if the murderer hadn’t panicked about the concept of a reunion and pre-empted a hypothetical situation – who knows!

Whilst I was happy that Krista was keeping her head above water during the investigation, I wasn’t completely comfortable with her role as Chief of Police, feeling that she wasn’t quite strong enough in personality, or experienced and confident enough in her new position to achieve her full potential. I am hoping that her role will grow in stature and independence as the series progresses and that Keith will take slightly more of back seat, perhaps as more of an advisor than a partner, although they do play off one another well, so there is no way the partnership should be ended completely, anytime soon.

I don’t think that Krista’s first major investigation was helped by the fact that the victims, just about all the suspects and indeed, the murderer, were known to her personally, and had been since childhood. Also, as the investigation unfolded, it became clear that Krista herself was involved in the complex events of the past, which had helped to bring about these current tragic developments.
Although she took great pains not to allow that to colour her judgement, to stay focused and professional, it took Keith’s experience and wisdom to start separating the wood from the trees, with the help of those few former friends and colleagues of the perpetrator, who realizing that something had been amiss for some time, were finally made to feel guilty enough to voice their doubts, even if it was only so that they were able to be eliminated as suspects themselves! I would have quite liked a little more detailed account of the accusers suspicions, although that didn’t really detract from the storyline, or the pace events moved at.

On the whole, Max managed to create quite a disparate bunch of suspects, none of which for me, were particularly likeable, which is probably what made the revelation of the actual perpetrator so difficult for me to work out. However, I did really like the idea that I got to ‘know’ the killer and a little of what they were thinking, as Max very cleverly had the book’s chapters switch back and forth between the first and third person, so that we read about the murders as they happened and from the killer’s point of view.

From a purely personal perspective, after a story so choc full of lavish descriptions, including the breath-taking end game, which might have benefitted from a little more time and attention to detail, I would have liked to have heard more about the killer’s motives for their original crimes, alongside them describing how they were committing their present day murders, an area which was left a little vague. There were also one or two seemingly unrelated outside events which were thrown into the mix, mostly concerning Krista’s father, which were also left as rather ‘unfinished business’ – I wonder if this was a deliberate omission, so that they were left as possible tie-ins to any future storylines?

Following on from earlier posts about the book, where I indicated that Max planned to write a further story featuring the father / daughter team, which would be a prequel to Girl Most Likely, I am now pleased to announce that the next book will form part of an extended series, with the prequel being put on hold for a while.

A Twitter follower posed the question as to whether we ever read the acknowledgements at the end of a book, or if we closed the cover as soon as the story was done with?

Well! I have to admit that I rarely bother with the acknowledgement pages, unless I have a few more minutes reading time available, but not quite enough time to begin a new book.
However, this was one such occasion and I was pleased to discover that the City of Galena, Illinois, does in fact have a female Police Chief, who having worked her way up through the ranks, was more than amenable to answering Max’s questions about the local area and policing procedure, adding credence to the storyline and illustrating the research and attention to detail by the author.
I was even more pleased to have a few moments left to research a little about the City, which is named after a mineral mined in the area, was the home of Ulysses S. Grant and several other Civil War Generals and is today, a popular tourist destination in the region.
Profile Image for Paul.
918 reviews38 followers
January 15, 2019
I agreed to read and review an uncorrected proof prior to its scheduled publication date.

"Girl Most Likely" is a readable combination of mystery and police procedural set in a small midwestern town. The lead character, the youngest female police chief in the nation, has potential, and I would not be surprised to see "Girl Most Llikely" to become the first of a series of "Krista Larson" books.

To make his characters more vivid to the reader on first encounter, Collins lavishes attention on outward appearances, and in a couple of early chapters indulges himself in detailed descriptions of clothing, makeup, jewelry, and accessories, frequently name-dropping expensive high fashion brands. This, to me, was jarring, pulling my attention away from what is supposed to be a story about a small-town cop solving a series of brutal murders, and I think it's a mistake on Collins' part.

In later chapters, as Krista interviews potential suspects, Collins peels away layers of his small-town characters' histories, and we learn about unexpected sexual connections, rapes, secret same-sex affairs, alcoholism, and long-suppressed hatreds. This is far more interesting and on point. More of that please, less Vanity Fair!

Minor, but a clunker nonetheless: Collins has one character say to another that one of the murdered women, a Chicago investigative reporter, had been putting together a workplace sexual harassment story, inspired by "the #MeToo thing." Yes, hashtag included, as if we can hear hashtags in verbal speech. Ugh.

There's a promising subplot about Chicago gangland corruption, but it doesn't go anywhere. A brutal attack on Krista's father, a retired policeman deputized to help solve the case, is never resolved. As for the murders at the center of the story, I was annoyed with the reveal but don't want to divulge the plot, so I'll just say it's a little too surprising, a little too out of left field.

Otherwise, as I said at the top, "Girl Most Likely" is a readable mystery and police procedural with an engaging lead character.
Profile Image for Crystal Zavala.
447 reviews44 followers
March 29, 2019
Girl Most Likely is about a ten year high school reunion for the class of 2009. That in and of itself is unlikely. At best, most 10 year reunions for Millennials is going to a bar. Social media has taken away the desire to get back together so soon. The occupations that these 28 year old's hold are laughable; a Police chief, high powered attorney (maybe out of law school 5 years at best), multiple business owners. Where are the retail workers, college students, blue collar workers?? The language that these 28 year old's used were cringe-worthy and filled with puns and "Dad jokes".

The author makes a comment about the #metoo "phenomenon" and I think that put me over the edge. It is not a "phenomenon" is the verbalizing a problem that has been happening for a very long time. Definitely written by a white man.

There was way too much attempted in this book. Too many undeveloped characters and unnecessary story lines. In the end, I don't think that I cared who murdered who.
Profile Image for lizzie.
142 reviews8 followers
March 17, 2019
Girl Most Likely

I really did enjoy this book. I found it very easy to get into and found it hard to put down.
I really liked the style of writing by Max Allan Collins, and I also found his characters likable, especially his two leading roles, Krista and her father, keith.

The story was gripping from the start, and during the book, I must have accused half the characters of being the killer. I never got it right, not until the end, when it was more or less revealed to me.

I wanted to rate this five stars so much, but I settled for the four stars as I would have preferred more of an ending. After all the build up, I found the ending a little of an anti-climax.
But this certainly hasn't put me off wanting to read more by this author.
Profile Image for Abby.
850 reviews142 followers
April 21, 2019
This book was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Small-town police chief Krista is attending her ten-year high school reunion in Galena, Illinois. When popular classmate Astrid is found stabbed to death in her home that shows similarities to a previous slaying of a classmate. Krista, along with retired officer father Keith, work together to solve the town's first homicide in decades. With everyone in town for the reunion, a whole slew of suspects are available to interview.

This mystery is painfully similar to most others of the genre. The "someone we know" trope is overused and frankly boring. Plus, the second-person point of view of the killer was confusing and hard to follow. Overall, while it was okay for a fluffy read, I didn't care for the book much.
Profile Image for Meaghan Petrowsky.
6 reviews1 follower
June 4, 2019
Ugh. This book reads like a 10th grader wrote it - and not a very talented one. The only compliment I can find is that I wanted to find out who the killer was, so I stuck it out. But I resented every minute that I'd never get back.

Profile Image for Ben Boulden.
Author 12 books28 followers
May 21, 2019
GIRL MOST LIKELY is the first in a two-book series from Max Allan Collins, featuring chief of police Krista Larson. Krista’s patch is Galena, Illinois; the small and beautiful and tourist rich birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. Krista is a second generation police officer. Her father, Keith, was a decorated detective in nearby Dubuque, Iowa, and at 28, Krista is the youngest female police chief in the United States.

Krista is looking forward to her 10-year high school reunion in the swanky Lake View Lodge. She’s kept close contact with many of her classmates and Krista likes everyone except for the beautiful television reporter, Astrid Lund. Astra stole Krista’s boyfriend years earlier and shortly after the reunion opens, Astra is found stabbed to death. Krista calls in her father to help investigate the murder, and it doesn’t take long for a link between Astrid’s murder and the murder of another classmate, Sue Logan, to emerge. The big question is who had the motive and opportunity to kill both women?

GIRL MOST LIKELY is an enjoyable traditional-ish mystery with enough action to keep the pages turning. "Ish," because it creeps close to a thriller with several scenes that feature the killer in the same way serial killer novels do. Krista is likable and intelligent. The mystery’s solution is played well, but, with the help of the scenes that feature the killer and a steady mystery reader’s nose, not surprising. But my guessing the killer’s identity before Krista and Keith was as much fun as the gossipy and snarky interplay between the former high school classmates. Girl Most Likely is an entertaining mystery that reminded me why I skipped my last high school reunion.
Profile Image for Stephen.
474 reviews
January 19, 2019
Galena, Illinois is a small town which borders the states of Iowa & Wisconsin. Krista Larson is the young Chief of Police, following the career of her father , Keith Larson who was a detective. A big event is soon to take place,,,,the 10th reunion of Galena High School , class of 2009.
Unbeknownst to Krista is a plot for revenge that is being prepared by one of her past classmates or could it be one of her teachers?? The reunion will be a lot of fun as Krista and her classmates and her teachers get a chance to touch on old memories. But there is something evil hanging over the reunion! One of Krista's classmates , Sue Logan was brutally murdered. Astrid Lund , another classmate , who was not always loved,came to the reunion from Chicago , where she had become a rising TV news star. And sure enough Astrid was murdered the day after the reunion , in style strikingly similar to the Logan murder.
Now it would become Krista's job, with the assistance of her father , to figure out who was the murderer. It had become clear that it was someone related to Galena High School !!
Max Allan Collins may not be a name well known to mystery readers but you will enjoy this well paced mystery.
Profile Image for Justina.
36 reviews1 follower
April 15, 2019
(This review contains spoilers)

This book was awful on every angle. The dialogue surrounding the interviews took up entirely too much of the book for it all not to tie together in some way in the end. The relationship between Krista and Keith was about as corny as can get--the part in the end where they are telling their cheesy little jokes and smiling over Ken's dead body is absolutely stupid. And, where does the Chicago mob and Rebecca all fit in?! There was all this crap in the middle about Keith and Rebecca, and Keith chasing down the mob story and it all just disappeared in the end. And, no questions answered about WHY Ken was the killer. It's clear that the girls he chose had been in a relationship with him at some point. But why, ten years later, come back to kill them? What was his reasoning? The book was entirely too full of meaningless dialogue and leaves us with too many questions, none of which even open the door for a second book (at least, dear Jesus, I hope not).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Caroline.
86 reviews
March 5, 2019
Easy to read but hardly thrilling a story! One thing that annoyed me was the way people were described, there was always a long list of how they were dressed, designer brand and all... Filling words in my opinion! I did like the relationship between daughter and father but then again I'd rather read more about the dad than his daughter, unfortunately, father is now retired!
Profile Image for Adam Richard.
Author 2 books10 followers
March 10, 2019
Tedious. First chapter being in 2nd person showed promise, but the rest has been dull and full of unnecessary detail, like he's trying to bump up the page count. I've enjoyed Collins in other media, but not here. I'm abandoning it at 22%
Profile Image for Louis.
488 reviews21 followers
August 7, 2022
Once again I will admit my fondness for the mysteries of Max Allan Collins, only here my goal is to call this book a bit of a disappointment. The first in a new series about young Galena, Illinois police chief Krista Larson and her retired detective father Keith seems promising. I could easily see it as the basis for a television series. The mystery (murders around the 10-year reunion of Krista's high school class) is well plotted and often clever. The problem lies with his detectives. Keith, recently widowed, is supposedly contemplating suicide but nothing in the narrative makes that feel real. He shakes off his depression too easily, in the process overshadowing his daughter. Krista does not have enough to do in her own story. Three and a half stars, mainly for Collins' plotting.
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